South India Western Ghats Cycling Tour

Destination

South India

Duration

15 Days

Activity

Cycling

Grade

Intermediate

Stays

Premium

Price

$2800

Departures Available
November 26, 2024
- December 10, 2024

Goa to Kerala Sahyadri Mountain Cycling Tour

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Western Ghats, one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, on our South India Western Ghats Ride. This epic cycling tour takes you through stunning landscapes, vibrant villages, and ancient heritage sites, offering an immersive experience of South India’s natural beauty and cultural richness.

The Western Ghats, with their lush tropical evergreen forests, diverse flora and fauna, and perennial rivers, are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a biodiversity hotspot. This region is home to ethnic tribes like the Badaga, Toda, Kota, Kurumba, Irula, Nayaka, and Kani, who live in harmony with nature. However, the increasing human activity and industrial development pose a threat to this fragile ecosystem. The Indian government and forest departments have taken measures to protect the natural diversity of the Ghats, making it an ideal place for eco-friendly exploration by bike.

Our adventure begins on the sunny beaches of Goa, where you will feel the ocean breeze as we cycle along the coastal fishermen villages of Gokarna and Shiroor. The journey then takes us through the dense Agumbe forest, known for its rich biodiversity, to reach the rural charm of Koppa. As we ride further, we enter the scenic landscapes of Chickamagaluru, famous for its vast coffee plantations at Balur. Here, you will get a chance to explore the coffee estates and savor the aromatic flavors of freshly brewed coffee.

Continuing our ride, we arrive in Hassan, home to the 13th-century Chennakesava temple, a masterpiece of Hoysala architecture. The architectural grandeur of the temple will leave you spellbound. From Hassan, we pedal through quaint villages and suburbs to the historic city of Mysore. In Mysore, we take a break to rejuvenate and explore the magnificent Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hill, and the bustling Devaraja Market.

Our journey then leads us through the wildlife-rich Bandipur and Mudumalai National Parks. Here, we embark on a thrilling jeep safari, with the chance to spot elephants, gaurs, sambars, spotted deer, Malabar giant squirrels, wild boars, Malabar parakeets, and the elusive grey-headed bulbul. The ride continues as we ascend the Nilgiris, or Blue Mountains, towards Ooty. In Ooty, we spend a night in the charming town of Coonoor, surrounded by tea plantations and scenic valleys.

Next, we experience a heritage train ride that offers breathtaking views of the tea-covered hills and lush valleys, taking us to the agrarian village of Pollachi. In Pollachi, you will immerse yourself in authentic village experiences, learning about local farming practices and enjoying traditional cuisine. As we pedal through the misty tea hills of Valparai, the journey becomes even more enchanting with the spectacular waterfalls of Athirapally and the serene backwaters of Chalakkudy River.

Our adventure culminates in the historic town of Fort Kochi, where you will explore its colonial heritage, ancient Chinese fishing nets, and vibrant streets filled with art and culture. For those with a few extra days, our optional beach and backwater add-on tour offers a relaxing end to the journey, cycling to Marari beach, engaging in traditional martial arts, and kayaking through the peaceful backwaters.

Why Choose This Tour?

  • Immersive Experience: Dive deep into the rich culture and natural beauty of South India.
  • Expert Guides: Our experienced guides ensure your safety and provide insightful commentary throughout the journey.
  • Small Group Sizes: Enjoy a personalized experience with our small group tours.

Optional Add-On: Beach and Backwater Tour

If you have a few extra days, consider our beach and backwater add-on tour program:

Tour Highlights

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Cycling along the enchanting Konkan Sea Coast

Travelers can experience the breathtaking beauty of the Konkan coast while cycling through small villages, pristine beaches, and coconut groves, with stops at ancient forts and temples.
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Sacred town of Gokarna

Visitors can explore the ancient temples and beaches of the sacred town of Gokarna, known for its spiritual significance and scenic beauty, with opportunities for trekking and water sports.
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Cycling across coffee capital of Balur

Take a scenic ride through the coffee plantations of Balur, with stops at coffee factories and tasting sessions, and explore the local village life and culture.
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Nature and rustic countryside of South India

Discover the tranquil and rustic countryside of South India, with opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and exploring local plantations and farms.
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Heritage city of Mysore

History buffs can explore the grandeur and architectural marvels of the heritage city of Mysore, including the magnificent Mysore Palace, museums, and cultural performances.
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Ancient Hoysala Temples of Hassan

Visitors can marvel at the ancient and intricate architecture of the Hoysala temples in Hassan, with a mix of Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist influences, and learn about the rich history and culture of the region.
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Cycling through the biodiversity hotspot of Western Ghats

Cycling enthusiasts can ride through the lush and diverse landscape of the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with opportunities for wildlife spotting, trekking, and camping.
Jeep Safari

Wildlife safari in Bandipur National Park

Nature lovers can embark on a tour of the prime national parks of South India, including Bandipur, Nagarhole, and Mudumalai, and spot a wide range of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and leopards.
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Enchanting Nilgiri hills of Ooty

Travelers can experience the enchanting beauty of the Nilgiris in Ooty, with its rolling hills, tea plantations, and scenic lakes, and indulge in activities such as boating, trekking, and camping.
Tamil Nadu

Rustic village of Pollachi Tamil Nadu

Visitors can experience the simple and rustic village life of Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, with opportunities for exploring the local farms, plantations, and handicrafts, and enjoying traditional cuisine and cultural performances.
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Misty tea hills of Valparari

Visitors can take a misty and scenic drive through the tea hills of Valparai, with breathtaking views of the Western Ghats, and indulge in activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and visiting local tea factories.
Athirapally Waterfalls

Magnificent waterfall of Athirapally

Travelers can marvel at the stunning and powerful Athirapally waterfall, known as the Niagara of India, and enjoy activities such as boating, trekking, and wildlife spotting in the surrounding forest.
Jew Street Fort Kochi

Sightseeing of the colonial Fort Kochi

History lovers can explore the colonial heritage of Fort Kochi, with its quaint streets, historic churches, and ancient Chinese fishing nets, and indulge in local cuisine and shopping.

Itinerary

Day 1: The tranquil beach of South Goa

Activity: Arrival, Bike Fitting, Free day
Meals: Breakfast
Our guide will pick you from Goa International Airport. We will drive for roughly 90 mins through the village roads with a view of Portuguese styled houses, Churches, Mangroves, Coconut and Cashew trees, restaurants serving Goan Fish Thali and favorite beverage – the Feni brewed from the juicy Cashew fruit. We drive along the silent beaches of Varca & Cavelossim to reach the tranquil beach in South Goa. Here we spend overnight in a cozy wood cottage nestled in palm groves adjacent to the pristine beach. After you settle down, the bike fitting is scheduled for the afternoon. Rest of the day, you can relax by the beach and prepare for the Western Ghats Ride ahead.
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Day 2: Cycling to Gokarna

Activity: Cycling to Gokarna along the Coast, River crossing on local ferry, Evening Walk at the beach, Optional Boat Ride to Paradise Beach
Activity Distance : 95 Kms
Terrain : Undulating coastal backroads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Crossing the Goa state border, we will transfer you to Karwar in Karnataka which will take an hour and a half. The drive will be through the hilly undulating terrain with sparse forest and woody patches. En route, you can also view the sea shaking hands with the river Kali. We will cross the river on a Ferry along with the locals. From here, we start cycling towards our first destination – Gokarna. Further, we ride on the backcountry roads, mostly flat terrain with the view of fishing harbors, Coconut, Cashew, and Mango Tree groves along the western coast. We will finish today’s ride at a scenic nature resort in Gokarna. Being a prime pilgrim center in South India, Gokarna is famous for the 4th century CE Sri Mahabaleshwara Swami Temple. According to legend, the Atma Linga – the Soul of Lord Shiva is worshipped here. Hence, it is believed that the Mahabaleshwara temple is one of seven temples to be visited for attaining Moksha. In the evening, you will be visiting tranquil Ohm Beach for a sunset walk followed by a special dinner at the beachside restaurant.

Day 3: Cycling to Shiroor

Activity: Cycling to Murudeshwar, Temple visit, Transfer to hotel
Activity Distance : 111 Kms
Terrain : Undulating coastal backroads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, we will start our bike ride further south, along the coastal road with the view of the Arabian Sea in the west. We will pass through the fishermen villages of Honnavar and Manki with their off-grid beaches, fish markets, and small temples. We will cross the Aghnashini and Sharavati river and ride through a combination of flat and undulating backroads. En route, we will visit the majestic Murudheshwar Temple standing 20 stories tall in the coastal village of Bhatkala. A mechanical lift will take you to the roof of the temple. From here, you can see the gigantic statue of Lord Shiva sitting gracefully with blessing mudra with the vast sea in the backdrop. Further, we drive crossing the Venkatapur and Chowtani River and enter the gateway of the lush green and biodiverse Western Ghats to wind up our ride at an old-styled eco-resort.
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Day 4: Cycling to Koppa

Activity: Cycling to Koppa through Ghat Roads, Plantation walk, Transfer to hotel
Activity Distance : 147 Kms
Terrain : Undulating forest & ghat roads with hairpin bends
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
From Shiroor, we further ride south to cross the Byndoor, and Yadamavu River and ride through the narrow stretch between the scenic Maravante Beach and the Kolluru river. We will further orient east towards the most enthralling sections of western Ghats. Initially, we ride through flat village roads with farms, temples, and dwellings. Further, we ride steep uphill through the Agumbe forest area. The unique rainforest ecosystem here serves as one of the top habitats for the great reptile species – the King Cobra. We will progress our ride through hilly and undulating terrain with the scenic view of valleys, winding roads, hairpin bends, and swatches of Coffee Estates. In the last section, we drive towards the rural destination of Koppa bordering the Chikkamagaluru district. We will wind up today’s endeavor in a traditional and well-kept homestay with 300 years of lineage.

Day 5: Cycling to Balur

Activity: Cycling to Balur through Plantations, Coffee Plantation walk at Balur Estate
Activity Distance : 70 Kms
Terrain : Undulating ghat roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We start today’s ride through the undulating and hilly terrain of Chikkamagaluru towards Balur. We transverse through the high mountains of the region with the view of scenic landscape, slithering rivers, waterfalls and lush vegetation. After riding past 70 Kms, 6 hours, we will wind up today’s endeavor to reach a rustic bungalow nestled in a 400-acre expanse of Coffee plantation located at a height of 1100m above sea level. The ideal weather and rainfall make Chikkamagaluru, the coffee capital of India alongside the Kodagu district in Karnataka. Established in the year 1826 by the British, these numerous plantations provide employment to the local population invariably. The centuries-old plantation and the time-tested planter’s bungalow is more than a tale on the history of coffee cultivation in India. We unfold the coffee heritage of the estate during the plantation walk scheduled in the evening.
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Day 6: Cycling to Hassan

Activity: Cycling to Hassan through Villages, Visit Chennakesava and Hoysaleshwara Temple, Transfer to hotel
Activity Distance : 97 Kms
Terrain : Undulating suburb roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, we again ride on undulating terrain through the small agrarian villages of Mudigere with coffee and spice plantations. Further, we will ride along the Yagachi water reservoir to reach the temple town of Somanathapura, Belur. The town is renowned for the Chennakesava temple dedicated to Lord Kesava / Vishnu located on the banks of river Kaveri. The 13th-century temple is the epitome of exceptional Hoysala architecture. The temple has very finesse stone carving and inscriptions depicting ancient Hindu scriptures Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, and Ramayana. If time allows, we will further drive to Halebidu to visit the Hoysaleshwara temple dedicated to Lord Kesava, After the temple visits, we drive through the back-country roads to reach the rustic Hassan and wind down at a scenic village resort.

Day 7: Cycling to Mysore

Activity: Cycling to Mysore via backroad
Activity Distance : 120 Kms
Terrain : Undulating suburb roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Morning, after breakfast, we leave Hassan and ride through the rural roads towards the city of Mysore also called Mysuru. Today, the terrain will be undulating with a slight downhill. We will pass through villages with a vast stretch of cultivated lands, tobacco plantations, vegetable farms and small temples along the way. We ride alongside the Krishna Raja Sagara lake which is the confluence point of Sacred river Kaveri and its tributaries. Kaveri river is also the basis of Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary which supports a variety of avian species in the region. Once this land was affected by famines and droughts severely affected the local cultivation and livelihood. It was until 1911 a dam was constructed by the Maharaja of Mysore and the issue was mitigated. Further, we drive the last short stretch to reach the palace city of Mysore and wind down at a cozy hotel.
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Mysore Palace

Day 8: Break day at Mysore

Activity: Mysore Sightseeing, Visit Palace, Chamundi Hill & Devaraja Market walk
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
It’s a break day for cycling and today we set out for the sightseeing tour of Mysore city. Mysore is an ancient city with more than 600 glorious years of legacy. Known for its glittering royal heritage, bustling markets, magnificent monuments, cosmopolitan culture, and a friendly populace. The city is also a thriving center for the production of premium silk, sandalwood, and incense. We visit the famous Mysore Palace with its Durbar Hall and the Golden Royal Elephant Throne. We will further visit Chamundi Hill to have a panoramic view of Mysore city. Further, we will visit the ancient Chamundeshwari temple and the Nandi temple with its giant stone sculpture of a sitting bull dedicated to God Nandi. We will wind up the sightseeing tour with an evening walk through the old-time Devaraja Market packed with its flowers, fruits, and vegetable stalls.

Day 9: Cycling to Masinagudi

Activity: Cycling to Bandipur via villages, Drive through Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary, Jeep Safari
Activity Distance : 95 Kms
Terrain : Undulating suburb & forest roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We will start today’s ride through the outskirts of Mysore city crossing the Kabani River, settlements, and small temples. Reaching Bandipur, we will stop cycling and drive through two of the prominent wildlife sanctuaries in South India – Bandipur and Mudumalai. This scenic and biodiverse section of Western Ghats is categorized as Nilgiri Biosphere, one of the largest in South India. The national parks here are primarily dedicated to conserving endangered habitat of the tiger. Here, we go for a jeep safari in the Tiger reserve. Look out for the commonly seen species like the Elephant, Gaur, Mouse deer, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Wild Boar, Malabar Parakeet, and the Grey-headed Bulbul. After the Safari, we drive to cozy accommodation in Masinagudi.
Cycling from Mysore to Bandipur Masinagudi
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Day 10: Cycling to Ooty

Activity: Cycling to Ooty, Visit to Botanical Garden and Toda Temple
Activity Distance : 55 Kms
Terrain : Undulating forest and ghat roads with numerous hairpin bends
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today, we start the ride, to take on the grueling high-altitude hairpin bends along the villages with tea, and vegetable plantations to reach the hill station Ooty situated approx. 2000m above sea level. The little colonial town is known for its English-styled cottages that have unique teak floors, tiled roofs, and chimneys, resemble a movie scene from another era. The land is framed by the lush tea gardens while you ride to Ooty. We will wind down today’s ride at a cozy resort in the scenic town.

Day 11: Cycling to Pollachi

Activity: Heritage train ride through tea hills and villages, Transfer from Mettupalayam to Pollachi, Countryside cycling through sugarcane and coconut farms
Activity Distance : 30 Kms
Terrain : Downhill ghat roads, Undulating suburb roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Morning, we board the heritage train for a remarkable monorail journey through spectacular vistas as we descend to the popular hill station of Coonoor. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The train journey through villages and pine forests offers a mesmerizing view of manicured tea plantations and scenic valleys. Alighting from the train, we ride through the backcountry roads to Mettupalayam and further to Pollachi – a small agrarian town located at the foothills of the Nilgiris known for its jaggery, vegetables, and cattle market. The terrain will be continuous downhill and undulating, then flat and windy towards the last stretch. We will settle down at a serene plantation resort amidst coconut groves in the quaint agrarian village.
Ooty Heritage Train Ride
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Day 12: Cycling to Valparai

Activity: Cycling to Valparai via Reserve Forests, Tea Plantation Visit
Activity Distance : 75 Kms
Terrain : Plains & Uphill Backroads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We start our ride through the vast plains of Pollachi with the view of Aliyar Lake, Coconut Plantations and rustic villages. We reenter the Western Ghats to traverse between Anamalai Tiger Reserve and the Alliyar Reserve forest. Further, you will be riding uphill through the exhilarating 42 Hairpin bend roads with stunning views of the Tamil Nadu hinterland. The terrain is hilly with scenic tea plantations and countryside roads. Keep a lookout for the Lion-Tailed Macaque sighting here. We will reach the decade-old Plantation Bungalows in Valparai to wind up the ride. In the morning, you can explore the misty and manicured tea plantation to have a closer look of the tea plucking, processing and also to taste refreshing tea.

Day 13: Cycling to Athirapally

Activity: Transfer & Cycling to Athirapally via Sholayar forests, Visit Athirapally Waterfall
Activity Distance : 26 Kms
Terrain : Undulating hilly backcountry roads
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Morning, we start our ride through the undulating backcountry roads towards Athirapally. We pass by the Sholayar Dam and see numerous Tea and Coffee plantation which were introduced by the British planters in the 19th century. No doubt that the high-altitude climate here is most suitable for cultivation of these cash crops. We will end todays ride at Malakapara to board the transport and drive through the restricted core Sholayar Forest Ranges. Reaching Athirapally village, we will set out to visit the spectacular Athirapally waterfall here. The view of enormous water gushing down from the mountain and crashing into the river bed is breath-taking. The region is also known for its rich biodiversity and home to a wide variety of wildlife including the Great Indian Hornbill. It was a blessing that a major Hydro Electric Project planned here was abandoned due to the opposition from the environmental activists.
Athirapally Waterfalls
Fort Kochi

Day 14: Cycling to Fort Cochin

Activity: Cycling through villages along plantations & canals, Afternoon Fort Kochi Sightseeing, Kathakali Dance Performance
Activity Distance : 45 Kms
Terrain : Mostly downhill countryside roads
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Today, you will ride the downhill and undulating country roads along the Chalakudy river. You will be seeing many villages, irrigation canals, rubber and palm plantations on the way. We will embark the transport before we hit the bustling city traffic. We drive to Fort Kochi – the queen of the Arabian Sea. Afternoon, we will go out for the History tour of Fort Kochi to know more about its colonial heritage. Once been a major port and trade Centre, it evolved as a settlement hotspot for numerous merchants from across the world. The gradual intermingling of their cultures for centuries has made Fort Kochi a unique heritage city to visit. We will walk through the Jew street, flea market, watch the creaking Chinese fishing nets, and the sunset. Later, a traditional Kathakali dance performance will be showcased. It will be nice to check out the local restaurants for a dinner before winding up in a comfy hotel.

Day 15: Cochin Airport

It’s the time to say Adieu, with fond memories of the ride through the biodiverse and culture-rich Western Ghats. We will be happy to drop you at the Cochin International Airport. If you have a couple of days more left, the add-on tour program offers more experiences of the beach and backwaters of Kerala as you can read through below.
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Route Map

Western Ghats Cycling Tour Route Map

Inclusions

  • Accompanying English Speaking Guide
  • Geared Bicycles (Trek / Giant / Cannondale / Scott)
  • Accommodation in Twin Share
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Snacks, Beverages & Drinking Water
  • Activities as mentioned
  • Entry Fees at Forest, Monuments, Plantation, Museums etc
  • Transfers in AC vehicle
  • Airport Pickup and Drop
  • Toll, Vehicle Permit & Parking
  • Government taxes

Exclusions

  • Airfare
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Gratitude

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