India Elephant-2

South India is much less known and visited than north India. Mainly because most of the historic sites and palaces, including the Taj Mahal are located on the north. The biodiversity, culture and history make this country – really a continent – worth getting to see and understand. Kerala & Mysore are located the most south and one of the biggest difference with the north is its nature! Green, fertile, hills, rivers, waterfalls, fruit plantations – all of this has helped this area to have a better economy, together with its past history.

Sure you have heard of “The Spice Route” one of history´s most significant and enigmatic route. In India it was held mainly in Kerala.

The route we have prepared for you takes place there! in South India! It has been planned thinking on a good mix of nature, culture and adventure with village life, rural experiences, city walking tours, back to nature, traditional arts and crafts, outdoor activities, culture and local cuisine.

Activity Descriptions:

o    Cycling routes will be primarily smooth tarmac with tree cover along significant parts of the route. Terrain is undulating. Most uphill sections are short and usually followed by a downhill section. Short sections of off-road trail.

o    All cycle rides will be followed by 2 support vehicles – one for the guests and one for the cycles. Guests have the option of sitting it out and travelling in the support vehicle. There will be a 5minute halt every hour to ensure that everyone remains hydrated and for eating some fruit/snacks.

o    Mountain bikes (21 geared or 24 geared) and cycling helmets will be provided. Riders need to bring other personal gear such as gloves if required.

o    Hikes and treks will be through a mix of rain forest, bamboo thickets and high altitude grassland. Leeches and leech bites are likely. Leech socks will be provided, but these are only a deterrent and do not guarantee protection.

Day Summary Description Overnight stay
1 Bangalore – Mysore Pickup from Bangalore airport and transit to Mysore (trip duration: ~3.5 hrs). Arrive in Mysore and check into hotel. Optional evening visit to Mysore palace. Royal Metropole (http://royalorchidhotels.com/royal-orchid-metropole-mysore/overview.asp)
2 Mysore walking tour, Tibetan settlement and elephant camp Early morning walking tour of Mysore (conducted by Royal Mysore Walks: www.royalmysorewalks.com, including traditional breakfast.After breakfast we will visit the Mysore Palace – a completely over the top fantasy palace in gilt and gold.After lunch, we will drive to Wayanad (~3hrs). Silverwoods (http://wayanadsilverwoods.com/)
3 Light jungle hiking and river crossing After breakfast, we will head to the magical Kuruva island on the Kabini river. Kuruva island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuruvadweep) is a 950 acre island with an unspoilt forest right in the middle of the river. It is home to rare flora and fauna, including many endemic species of birds and butterflies. We will do several river crossings on foot here – a hair-raising experience for the uninitiated, but perfectly safe.We will also have an opportunity to visit a tribal village and interact with some of the oldest inhabitants of Wayanad. Lunch will be an ‘ela sadya’ – an authentic vegetarian multi-course Kerala lunch served on banana leaves at a local home. Silverwoods (http://wayanadsilverwoods.com/)
4 Cycling We will go on a cycling trip through tea country (distance: ~ 40kms). During the course of the ride you can choose to stop at a couple of points of interest – a bamboo handicrafts factory and an NGO that supports hundreds of local women. The smooth tarmac will suddenly plunge down to backcountry roads and then land you into a mud trail cutting through paddy fields. The physical challenge of negotiating this section will be compensated by the view when you start following the shoreline of the shimmering lake. You will take a break at the dam and take in the view of the distant rampart of mountains. The ride will continue through patches of mud trail, backcountry roads and smooth tarmac to finally return to the homestay. Silverwoods (http://wayanadsilverwoods.com/)
5 Plantation walk and Bamboo rafting After breakfast, we will check out of the homestay and drive to Edom Estates where we will go on a plantation walk. Edom is a 150 acre coffee and spice plantation. You will have the opportunity to see a variety of spices such as cardamom, pepper, nutmeg, vanilla and also walk through rice fields and banana plantations. The walk will last a couple of hours and you will be accompanied by a guide who will explain what you are seeing. The walk will last about 1.5 hours. Lunch will be a sumptuous spread of traditional Kerala vegetarian dishes served on banana leaves. We will then walk down to a local river for some bamboo rafting. Lifejackets are mandatory and a local raftsman will accompany you. Bamboo rafting is a gentle enjoyable experience that gives you an opportunity to see the river life at close quarters. Silverwoods (http://wayanadsilverwoods.com/)
6 Transit to Thalassery and Theyyam After breakfast, we will driveto the plains via the picturesque and age-old Periya pass, arriving at Thalassery by late afternoon.In the evening, we will catch a Theyyam performance. Theyyam is an age-old form of ritual Hindu worship that is practiced only in North Kerala. The dancers have elaborate make-up with spectacular head-gear that can be several feet tall. Theyyam is performed only in temples – Theyyam dancers are forbidden from performing commercially Ayesha Manzil  (http://www.sundale.com/ayesha/index.htm)
7 Sightseeing in North Kerala After breakfast, we will visit the St.Angelo fort, built by the Portugese in 1505 followed by the Chirakkal Folklore Academy (http://www.kannurtourism.com/kerala_folklore_academy.html).  From here, we will visit the Arakkal museum (http://www.kannurtourism.com/arakkal_museum.html) – this is a museum dedicated to the Arakkal family, the only Muslim royal family in Kerala.After lunch, we will head to Nileswaram further up the coast. Neeleswar Hermitage (http://neeleshwarhermitage.com/)
8 Kayaking on the backwaters The backwaters south of Nileswaram are an idyllic paradise framed by coconut plantations. The best way to enjoy the solitude is to kayak through the myriad channels and this is what we will do after breakfast for a few hours. We will return to the resort for lunch. Rest of day at leisure. Neeleswar Hermitage (http://neeleshwarhermitage.com/)
9 Beach Day at leisure to relax on the beach and indulge in some Ayurveda at the resort Neeleswar Hermitage (http://neeleshwarhermitage.com/)
10 Transit to Kochi We will board an early-morning 8AM train and head to Kochi in the south. We will reach there by about 4PM. Choice of hotels in Alleppey
11 Houseboat After breakfast, we will drive south and board a houseboat. You will spend the next 24 hrs cruising the expansive backwaters that are unique to Kerala Houseboat
12 Relaxation and shopping You will check out of the houseboat and return to Kochi. You can spend the day at leisure. A shopping trip can be arranged in Kochi Choice of hotels in Fort Kochi
13 EndOfTour Breakfast and checkout

Arrival to: Day 1 at Bangalore airport   /   Depart: Day 15, from Kochi airport   /  Group: minimum 2 – maximum 12 (from 20 to 75 yrs. mixed gender)

Available on request. Final price will be sent according to season and amount of people. Get a group of friends! Send an email and get ready to go.

Includes:

o    Local transport within India

o    MTB, helmet for cycling

o    Water and fruits during cycling and hiking

o    Support vehicles, guides and support staff for activities as outlined above

o    All entrance fees and forest fees

o    Accommodation for 14 nights on twin sharing basis

o    L,D on Day 1, B+L+D on days 2 – 14, B on Day 15 (B:Breakfast; L:Lunch; D:Dinner)

Everything else is excluded unless stated specifically as an inclusion

 

Cycling Rider skill requirements:

o    Good familiarity with gears, and their proper use to minimize pedalling effort

o    No off-roading skills required

o    Downhill riding skills not required

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