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My Dream Cycle Tour – Munnar

Standing a 1500+ meters above sea level, with a cooler climate compared to the Keralan coast, conquering the tea carpeted mighty mountains of western ghats on pedal power give you a sense of achievement.

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If you love cycling in mountains and you are in Kerala, Munnar is a must to be explored on a bike.

Lets take a virtual ride through Munnar, Kerala and you can see for yourself.

The starting point of the ride is the foothills of western ghats, near the small town of Neriamangalam, along side rubber and pineapple plantations. With an easy start and few downhills to begin with, we get to warm up our legs before slowly hitting the climbs. We cycle through a forested section with bamboo groves and tall trees on one side.

If you are cycling during monsoon or just after, you are welcomed by little waterfalls on the way. Stop by and wash your face and feet in this chilled water flowing from the mountains. A short break at the waterfalls and voila! You are completely refreshed and ready to hit more climbs leading towards Munnar.

Learn More:- When and How to deal with bad weather

Along the way you can see and experience, the Periyar River deep in  the valley, a hydro-electric project, churches, a basket weaving community settlement from neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, water gushing out through one or more open sluice gates of Kallarkutty dam (if you are biking in August) and few toddy shops serving spicy curries with tapioca. Toddy is a locally brewed alcohol made from coconut or palm flower bud sap. You have to try it when here to know why it is popular in these parts!

Soon you will reach Chithirapuram and that is when you will say “Wow! This is so beautiful.” This is the first stretch of tea plantation that you see. Munnar town is just 6 km away from here. Munnar is culturally very different from other parts of Kerala. It has a predominant Tamil culture due to the settlement of migrants from Tamil Nadu who came here to work in the plantations.

The story is that the British found it very hard to get people from Kerala to work in tea plantations, so they finally brought in people from Tamil Nadu who where ready to do the hard work and this changed the landscape of Munnar!

To this day, the women from these communities pluck the tea leaves in the estates here while the men work in tea factories that process the leaves. The town of Munnar is quite small and it is packed with people and shops. When in Munnar, you can visit tea museum and learn about the history of Munnar – which is intertwined with that of tea.

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Another place you can visit is establishment called Srishti. Srishti was started by TATA group to rehabilitate the physically and mentally challenged children of tea plantation workers.  But hey wait, the ride to Munnar is not complete without cycling to Top Station. A steady climb that takes you to an altitude of 2000 m and to the highest point in Kerala. If you wish to ride and explore this beautiful part of Kerala by bicycle, be sure to check out the link provided here.

With this third and final post, this series of blog posts that describe Dibin’s dream cycling tour route through Kerala now comes to an end. You can read the first part about cycling Fort Kochi here and the second part about cycling the backwaters of Kerala here.
If you are considering cycling through Kerala, feel free to write to Dibin our Kerala and Sri Lanka bike tour expert classic(at)artofbicycletrips(dot)com for inputs. Cheers!

6 road trips in India every motorbiker must go for!

Motorbiker only a biker can tell how amazing an experience it is to be riding through roads that are beautiful. That feeling of the soothing breeze blowing you over, and the ever changing drama of nature’s changing forms are things that can’t be explained within the limits of a few words. The good part is that our country is home to routes that are highly suited for motorbiking enthusiasts. Routes that are challenging, yet, showcase the best of what Mother Nature can enthrall a traveller with.

Here are some of the best motorbiking trips and routes in India. Ride solo, or pick the one you love and let the wheels take you on a journey to remember…

Delhi to Leh

Although it is one of the most popular motorbiking trips in the country, a ride from Delhi to Leh can throw up huge challenges to even the best bikers. A trip which lasts for about 15 days, the ride from Delhi to Leh is filled with myriad adventures and sights that are stunning to say the least. This route takes a rider through Chandigarh and then to Manali, from where the real climb begins.

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The landscape gradually changes from urban cities to Himalayan villages and snowy mountains and finally ends in the rocky and stark desert-like terrain of Leh. Dangers on the way are many as the route takes a biker through some of the toughest roads in the country, including Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world.

Shimla to Spiti Valley

A motorcycle ride from Shimla to Spiti Valley will let you get enchanted with some of the most stunning sceneries one can experience in Himachal Pradesh. Right from the mix of green and snowy hills of the Shimla region, the landscape gradually changes towards a more rocky yet more beautiful valley on the upper reaches of the state.

While on one hand are the charming snow-capped peaks, on the other are waterfalls, gorges and the occasional green meadows with herds of sheep grazing in Kinnaur and then the sudden starkness of Spiti Valley. The ride is strenuous and full of challenges due to the snake-like narrow mountain roads, sharp inclines, and rocky terrain making it even more difficult.

Bangalore to Kannur

If you are a motorcycling enthusiast living in the city of Bangalore, feel lucky for you have one of the most beautiful routes to ride on. We are talking about the journey from the urban town of Bangalore to the lush green environs of Kannur in Kerala. The ride is picturesque and makes a rider feel great with amazing views of roving cliffs and mesmerising greens of the valleys.

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Besides, there are several lakes on the way, where bikers can make pit stops and have delicious meals at the local restaurants. For reaching Kannur from Bangalore, a biker has to ride across beautiful destinations like Nagarhole, Tholpatty, and then Kuthuparamba from Manandvady, and finally Kuthuparamba before reaching Kannur.

Siliguri to Yuksom

Keen nature lovers and travellers would agree that the eastern part of the country is home to some of the most beautiful mountains in the country. You can have one of the best motorbiking experiences on roads connecting Darjeeling and Sikkim. On one hand are the stunning panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and other great Himalayan ranges, lush green environs on the other are a great charm as well.

Some of the highlights of the motorbiking trip from the town of Siliguri in West Bengal to Yuksom in Sikkim are the colourful towns of Kalimpong, Pelling and Gangtok, which also make for great pit stops for the journey.

Bhalukpong to Tawang

If you are keen to enjoy natural beauty of the northeastern part of India, a motorbike ride from Bhalukpong to Tawang is one of the best ways to experience that. While this route is known to showcase the best of this region’s vegetation, birds, flora and fauna, it also proves to be challenging for riders at more places than one.

There are tricky turns on the twisting mountain roads, high inclinations, landslide areas to cross, waterfalls passing through the way and a lot more that can make the journey a tricky one. The snow-covered roads, usually around year end, make it an even more exciting experience.

Read More- Cycling the Southern Loop of Yellowstone National Park

Mumbai to Trivandrum

Although it is not one of the most common routes to go on a motorbiking trip, a ride from Mumbai to Trivandrum will offer the finest combination of sea and hills. This coastal ride takes a rider through numerous beaches and unparalleled beauty of these lush green hills of the Western Ghats.

With this one, you get to ride across some amazing coastal destinations, including the hugely popular beach town of Goa, and the tourist-friendly towns of Kochi and Alleppey in Kerala. On this route, a rider can enjoy the beauty of nature’s varied forms including beaches, hills, forests and the backwaters as well.