Day 01: Chennai – Mahaballipuram Riding distance: 0 km
Arrive at Chennai International Airport where you will be met and taken directly to Mahaballipuram, to have a relaxing day exploring the famous rock carvings and 7th century stone temples along the shore. This is the ideal introduction to enchanting southern India. Overnight at Mahaballipuram.
Day 02: Mahaballipuram – Pondicherry Riding Distance: 95 km
Follow breakfast with a pleasant flat ride along the eastern coast road, to the former French enclave of Pondicherry. On route we pass Auroville, a new-aged spiritual commune, founded in 1968 and named after the Guru Sri Aurobindo. Overnight at Pondicherry.
Day 03: Pondicherry – KumbakonamRiding Distance: 80 km
Today you will be transferred by vehicle to Chidambaram. In 907 B.C., Chidambaram became the capital of the Chola dynasty, and remained so for 400 years. The temple is dedicated to Shiva in his incarnation as Nataraja, or “King of the Dance”. It occupies a huge site, with monasteries, shrines, and a water reservoir, and is attended by Dikshitar Brahmin priests, who wear distinctive topknots above their forehead. Then it’s a gentle ride to Kumbakonam. Overnight at Kumbakonam.
Day 04: Kumbakonam – TanjoreRiding Distance: 40 km
Ride to Tanjore, also a former capital of the Chola Empire between the 9th and 13th centuries; it regained its status under the Nayaks in the 16th century who rebuilt the Royal Palace, Durbar hall and libraries. The Palace houses one of the finest collections of bronze sculptures and stone carvings in southern India. Overnight at Tanjore.
Day 05: Tanjore – Trichy Riding Distance: 70 km
After breakfast we will continue cycling along the riverside road to Tiruchirapalli, a former trading post of the British East India Company, dominated by the fort perched on the rock overlooking the town. Overnight at Trichy.
Day 06: Trichy – AthoorRiding Distance: 80 km
Ride past Dindigul to the very small village of Athoor, a beautiful town surrounded by hills on all sides. Overnight at Cardamom House, an eco-farm and bird sanctuary.
Day 07: AthoorRiding Distance: 0 km
This day is free for leisure. There are beautiful walks that weave around the lake and through hillsides, or simply drink tea and enjoy the cuisine.
Day 08: Dindigul – PalaniRiding Distance: 70 km
Continue cycling towards the Western Ghats. Palani is famous as a Hindu destination; join the pilgrims who climb the stairs, and enjoy the culture and the beautiful view offered from the Palani temple. Overnight at Palani.
Day 09: Palani - Marayoor Riding Distance: 70 km
Today we will be cycling into Kerala – known for soon-to-be-obvious reasons as ‘God’s own Country’. Marayoor is famous for natural sandalwoods forest and tea and coffee plantations. Pass through the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary and Elephant Reserve. Overnight at Marayoor.
Day 10: Marayoor – Munnar Riding Distance: 40 km.
One day of uphill to Munnar, a hill town at an altitude of nearly 6000 ft. Here the British government established their summer retreat many years ago to avoid the summer heat of the coastal regions. A short day of cycling leaves you plenty of time to enjoy the tea scenery. Overnight at Munnar.
Day 11: Munnar – ThattekadRiding Distance: 90 km
Cycle to Thattekad. Today’s highlight might be fields of pineapples, rubber, cardamom, vanilla, pepper, and coffee and tea plantations – or the highlight might be a SUPER descent into the region of Thattekkad, a region known for its bird sanctuary. Overnight at Thattekkad.
Day 12:ThattekadRiding Distance: 0 km
This day is free for leisure, a close cycling distance to the bird sanctuary and wildlife park. Overnight at Thattekad.
Day 13: Thattekad – Kumarakom (Kottayam)Riding Distance: 75 km
Enjoy a pleasant ride along sleepy agricultural communities until reaching the fishing townships of Kottayam. Almost surrounded by Vembanadu Lake, Kumarakom is formed by the 40 odd rivers that flow down into the Arabian Sea from the cardamom hills to the east. Overnight stay at Kumarakom.
Day 14: Kumarakom – CochinRiding Distance: 60 km
Today we cycle to Cochin – a very European center for India, once shared between the Portuguese, Dutch and English. Once in Cochin, watch huge Chinese fishing nets in action, and explore the exotic spice markets of Cochin. Overnight at Cochin.
Day 15: Cochin exploration
This year there is an extra day in Cochin for spice and shopping adventures – and relaxation!
Day 16: Cochin departure
You may want to stay some extra days – or proceed to Goa and other nearby recommended destinations…. ask Dave for further details.