South India on Two Wheels (Coast to Coast)

A vehicle-supported cycling trip across south India from the east to the west coast, travelling through Tamil Nadu & Kerala, visiting many sites along the route. You will see beautiful, varied landscapes, tea plantations and eat delicious food.

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Day 1
Arrive at Chennai airport on the South East coast of India in the state of Tamil Nadu, to be met by your guide and driver who will take you to Kancheepuram (3.5 hours drive). It is known as the city of 1000 temples and is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, but unfortunately only 126 temples remain. Check in to hotel and rest in preparation for the next 15 days of cycling.

Day 2
After breakfast, leave for 80km cycling to the east coast town of Mamallapuram, land of the Shore Temple and Five Rathas which you will visit. Cycle through dry lands and on tarred roads to your overnight stay near the beach where you will be able to relax and watch the sun set 

Day 3
Cycle 60km to Chidambaram, leaving the main road in parts to explore tiny fishing villages and to see rural life from the mud huts to the colourfully dressed ladies in their saris. Visit the ancient 12th century Shiva Temple in Chidambaram before going to your hotel.

Day 4
Cycle 70km to Kumbakonam, stopping en route at Gangaikondacholapuran to visit an ancient temple of Lord Shiva built during the reign of the Cholas where you will see marvelous sculptures. Overnight in Kumbakonam.

Day 5
Cycle 40km through rural Tamil Nadu to Tanjore and visit the 1000 year old temple, built by Raja Raja Chola which is a world heritage site. Overnight in Tanjore. 

Day 6
Cycle 60km down through the breezy back roads and highway to the busy town of Trichy, located on the bank of the Kaveri River and visit the Rock Fort Temple before checking in to your hotel.

Day 7
Cycle 95km to the Land of Chettiars, the lost world of rich architecture and grandeur. The land was once the home of the rich Chettiars who have migrated to dif ferent parts of South-east Asia. Taste Chettinad cuisine (spicy vegetarian) and see their culture. Check in to hotel for a 2 night stay. 

Day 8
A day of local bike rides around the villages of Kanad Kathan to see the old palace located near the pond. See the Chettaind woven textile, Athunkudi, hand made tiles and the local livestock farm close by. Return to your hotel.

Day 9
Cycle 100km today to Madurai. Taking the back road, we cycle pass the granite quarries and workshops of the master mansions, whose caste have been carving temple pillars for nearly 2500 years. You will reach the city and visit Meenakshi Kovil which is one of the most important temples in the area and watch the night-time ceremony inside which takes place every night. Overnight in a hotel in Madurai.

Day 10
Leave Tamil Nadu and cycle 65km to Bodimettu, through the border villages, crossing in to the state of Kerala. Bodimettu is an agricultural based town and you will pass vineyards of red grapes growing en route. The remaining 40km to Munnar is by vehicle. Arrive in the tea town, check in to your hotel for a 2 night stay and relax.

Day 11
Local rides around Munnar town, taking you to Eravikulum National Park where you need to keep a lookout for goat-like Nilgiri Tahr animals, visit the tea museum and explore the tea plantations along the winding roads as you ride through the outskirts of the town.

Day 12
Cycle 70km to Thattekkad, the land where the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is located on the banks of the River Periyar. Ride along the winding roads, through the villages and dense forests of the Western Ghats. Overnight in Thattekkad. 

Day 13
Cycle 90km to Kottayam, the land of letters and the centre of the Christian missionaries in Kerala. The town also has old cathedrals and temples. Take a boat to Kumararkom where you will ride along the bank of the Vembanad Lake. Overnight at a resort in Kumararakom. 

Day 14
Cycle 35km after breakfast, along the banks of the backwaters to Alleppey, also called the “Venice of the East”. Board a Keralan houseboat and cruise around the narrow canals to see backwater life and the people going about their daily lives. Overnight on board the houseboat with all meals.

Day 15
Drive 60km to Cochin, the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Check in to your hotel for a 2 night stay and relax. The town of fers excellent seafood. 

Day 16
Explore Fort Cochin, enjoy the charm of old colonial buildings, churches, Jew Town, a local Keralan palace, Naval Museum, the Dutch cemetery and the Chinese fishing nets before watching the sunset and having your last South Indian meal.

Day 17
Tour ends – transfer to airport – return home or onward travel.

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