Start in Kochi (Cochin) and end in Udaipur! With the bicycle tour Kerala and Rajasthan, you have a 20 day tour package taking you through Kochi (Cochin), India and 10 other destinations in India. Kerala and Rajasthan includes accommodation in a hotel as well as flights, an expert guide, meals and more.
This tour is fully supported ? cycle as little or as much as you wish each day. On most days a reasonably fit cyclist will be able to cycle the entire distance. After lunch, we explore Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, Kerala?s commercial capital with one of the finest natural harbours in the world. We visit St Francis Church the oldest European Church in India. Vasco Da Gama was buried here before his remains were taken back to Portugal. Next we visit the Roman Catholic Santa Cruz Cathedral built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, which is famous for beautiful paintings on its ceiling. We continue to the Jewish Quarter with its Old Synagogue and the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese. Later we take a boat cruise to visit Bolghatty Palace and observe the fascinating Chinese fishing nets in action.?Start point Transfer from airport to your hotel, Cochin International Airport (COK), Nedumbassery, Alwaye, Kerala, India
In and around ThattekadCochin to Thattekkad Cycling distance: 47km/ 29 mi? We drive out of town for about two hours (with no Freeways, driving even on a highway is slow) then cycle on a very minor road through a tropical landscape to the bird Sanctuary of Thattekkad. ?We will pass rubber, banana, tapioca, coconut and pineapple plantations and have time for a visit to the bird sanctuary.
In and around MunnarThattekkad to Munnar Cycling distance: 69 km / 43 mi ? with a 1,395 m / 4,600 ft altitude gain? We continue on the minor road until we reach the main highway to Munnar. After just 600 m we turn off the hwy and swoop down through a forest to the Periyer River and the Kallerkutty dam. ?From here we start the challenging climb to Munnar and its world famous tea plantations. ?We will also see jacaranda trees and cardamom plantations. ?With the gain in altitude the temperature will decrease from c.32/ 90 F at the coast to ?a pleasant c.25 / 77 at Munnar, with night time temperatures dropping to 10 C / 50F.
In and around KumilyDay 4 Munnar to Kumily / Periyar / Thekkady Cycling distance:96 km / 60 mi? Today we make our way to Kumily, known for its spices and proximity to Periyer Tiger Reserve. ?The Periyer Wildlife Sanctuary covers 777 sq km of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest. ?The greatest attraction of Periyar is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. ?The day is quite hilly but there is an overall loss in altitude as we descend to 800m / 2,640 ft . The day starts with a spectacular descent through forest and tea plantations, later passing rice fields, coffee and cardamom. ?There will be excellent views of the Western Ghats.? Day 5 Kumily ? Theni return, Cycling distance: 70 km on backroads, ? Return by mini bus.? We take an excursion into neighbouring Tamil Nadu, a poorer state where you will see many bullock carts and perhaps a working elephant or two. We start with a fabulous descent into a ?scenic, wide fertile valley and continue gently descending until the town of Theni. Here we have lunch then return on the highway in the mini bus. Time to relax in the afternoon by the pool or do a little shopping.? Day 6 Kumily Rest day? Options include an early morning three hour gentle hike in the Park accompanied by a guide, who will identify plants, birds and other wildlife. ?There will be a late breakfast on return. ?Then a visit to a tea plantation and factory and an optional late afternoon trip on Lake Periyer where you are likely to see wildlife, most likely deer, buffalo and elephants, by the lake side. Take binoculars.
In and around KumarakomKumily to Kumarakom. Cycling distance: 88 km / 55 mi? We start the day with a climb as we make our way through tea plantations to the grasslands of Vagamon. ?We finish with a fabulous 24 km descent. ?On reaching the highway we board the mini bus to drive (1? hrs) to Kumarakom, located near the coast on inland waterways. ?A spectacular day?s biking. ?Kumarakom is a paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. ?The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, is a favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.
Kumarakom/Alleppey/Kumarakom. CyclIng distance: 32kms / Houseboat cruise? After breakfast we will bike 32 kms (around 2- 2.5 hours cycling) on flat minor roads through villages to Alleppey. We will board a day-cruise house boat, modeled on a traditional rice boat ("ketuvallam"), for lunch and a delightful lazy afternoon cruising on the picturesque lake and canals with views of villages, paddy fields and ?the mangrove forests that hug the banks.
Alleppey to Cochin. Cycling distance: 55 kms? After breakfast we will drive to Alleppey to commence cycling on a flat road, parallel with the Arabian Sea coast, back to Cochin, arriving in time for lunch. ?You will pass hundreds of brightly coloured fishing boats along the way. In the evening there will be a Kathakali dance performance. This dramatized presentation of a play is usually based on the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. It is a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance.
Today we will fly from Cochin to Delhi to commence the second half of our trip. It is an early flight and we will arrive in Delhi at 10:10am.? In the afternoon, we explore Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh. We then embark on a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaar. It remains one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi. The rickshaw ride ends at Jama Masjid, India?s largest mosque.
The morning is at your leisure. After lunch, we take a sightseeing tour of the city that includes the famous India Gate, the Houses of Parliament, Humayun?s Tomb and Qutub Minar (a 72.5m minaret tower with 379 stairs). New Delhi, the capital of India reflects the old and new of India, a blend of Mughal India, Hindu India, British India and modern independent India. After the tour of New Delhi, we return to the hotel to refresh before heading to the streets for Connaught Place for our dinner.
In and around KotaAfter an orientation tour of New Delhi, we board the afternoon train to Kota Departs: 13.20 Hrs, arrive at Kota at 19.40 Hr, where we stay in a former Maharajas palace.
Day 3 Kota to Bijaipur Total distance: 145 kms/ 91 mi Cycling distance: up to 88 km / 55 mi After breakfast you will be fitted to your Pedaltours bicycle or unpack your own prior to exploring the nearby countryside, heading for Bijaipur, a small village to the south west of Kota. Castle Bijaipur was built in early 16th century AD by Rao Vijay Singh, descendent of great Rajput warrior Shakti Singh. Bijaipur was a strategic location in the former kingdom of Mewar, as it defended the frontiers against the invading Mughal and Maratha armies. The castle has been renovated and converted into a heritage hotel and offers views of the Vindhyachal ranges, the valley, lake and village encircling it. The roads carry very little vehicle traffic, but you will come across goats and camels. Lunch will be in the grounds at Bhainsrorgarh Fort Hotel, overlooking the Chambal River, after a short-guided walk. Day 4 Optional day ride of 75 km/ 47 mi Or 38 km / 24 mi direct A day to either soak up the atmosphere of the castle or explore the surrounding countryside by bike and see the local way of life in this part of Rajasthan. Cycling in the Indian countryside is a whole new experience; - the villagers love it and are as interested in you as you are in them. Lunch will be at Panagarh Lake Resort, overlooked by Panagarh Fort. On the western banks of the lake, a luxury camp has been set up by the Bijaipur family. Relax in the castle grounds in the afternoon.
Day 5 Bijaipur to Udaipur Cycling distance: Bijaipur/Chittaurgarh 32 kms/ 20 mi In the morning we head north on minor roads, passing small villages on our way to Chittaurgarh, famous for India?s largest fort. We will have lunch in town at the Hotel Pratan Palace prior to taking a guided tour of the fort. We then drive to Udaipur. (2 ? hrs) Day 06 Udaipur Optional day Ride to Jhadol: 44 km / 28 mi Today we take a beautiful day ride from Udaipur to Jhadol Safari Resort. We drive to the edge of town to commence cycling; a superb day cycling on narrow paved roads through rolling country and little villages. We relax on the lawn with a well-earned drink prior to lunch. The resort is an oasis nestled in the foothills of the Aravalis at the edge of a magnificent lake. Take your ?togs? for a dip in the swimming pool. After lunch those with energy to spare could cycle back to town on a circular route, alternatively drive.
In and around KumbhalgarhUdaipur to Kumbhalgarh Total distance: 102 km / 64 mi Cycling distance: 59 km / 37 mi We drive out of town to commence cycling on a quiet road, climbing gentlythrough pleasant rural countryside with increasing views. After lunch we visit impressive Kumbhalgarh Fort. Built by Rana Kumbha in mid-15th century, Kumbhalgarh is the second most important bastion of Mewar, after Chittaurgarh, covering an area of 12 sq km. The fort lies 1,100 metres above sea level (the second highest point in Rajesthan) and enclosed within its fortified ramparts are palaces, temples, fields, water sources and farms fully self-contained to withstand a long siege. Kumbhalgarh provides an excellent view of the countryside where many fierce battles were fought. It is worth returning in the evening as it is floodlit.
In and around RanakpurKumbhalgarh to Ranakpur Cycling distance: 54 km / 34 mi Today we cycle to Ranakpur; a very scenic ride on a quiet road with a few short steep climbs and finishing with a major downhill. We will pass many Persian water wheels. Named after Rana Kumbha, Ranakpur is renowned for some marvelously carved Jain temples dating from 1439; it is amongst the five holiest places of the Jain community. After lunch there is the opportunity to visit the impressive Ranakpur temples if you wish. (no shorts or short skirts and no leather items allowed)
Ranakpur to Udaipur After breakfast we drive (2 hrs) to Udaipur for a (optional) city tour, visiting the City Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari and the folklore museum where we can see a presentation of the string puppet show typical to this area. Then time for a little last-minute shopping.
Udaipur to Delhi After breakfast we take you to Udaipur Airport for your flight (not included) to Delhi or other destination and home. We will be pleased to make additional Travel arrangements within India, such as to the Taj Mahal or Ranthanbore Tiger Reserve. We wish you bon voyage and hope to see you again. An airport transfer is included if required.End point After breakfast we take you to Udaipur Airport for your flight (not included) to Delhi or other destination and home., Maharana Pratap Airport Udaipur: Domestic Departure Lounge, Maharana Pratap Airport, Vallabhnagar, Rajasthan, India