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Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour

Tripoto
5th Nov 2013
Photo of Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour by Art of Bicycle Trips
Photo of Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour by Art of Bicycle Trips
Photo of Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour by Art of Bicycle Trips
Photo of Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour by Art of Bicycle Trips
Photo of Bangalore to Goa Bicycle Tour by Art of Bicycle Trips

India is diverse, a diversity that at times is truly mind-boggling as one sees so many things change not just from place to place but from time to time in the same place itself. This dynamic kaleidoscope can never be truly experienced if one insists on being just a part of the audience, ensconced in an air-conditioned haven; taking us from one must - see sight to another. Doing this is to be removed from the the colour, the people, the aromas, the taste, the physical sensation of India and its interstices, interstices that cannot be mapped as they move with people and their lives. We attempt to bridge that gap by taking you over nearly 650 kilometers of one of the country's most beautiful regions, acquainting you with some of its most intimate contours, helping you see the country for yourself and find your own story within it. 

Dotted with ancient architectural wonders, thick green coffee plantations and golden sands, the Bangalore to Goa bike tour is designed to overwhelm your senses. No longer seperated from your experiences by glass windows, you'll get to breathe in fresh air as no machine can create, as you weave through the magnificent Western Ghats and partially skirting the beautiful Konkan coast. This bike tour is not intended to be just a ride through nature, but also a journey through languages, people and history as they unfold and change across the geography of the south. Starting out in Bangalore, a city with a rich cosmopolitan culture and some of the most enviable weather conditions in the country, we traverse dramatic landscapes and delicious cuisines to end in Goa, a name that has a permanent place on the tourist map. Moving across from a modern Indian metropolis, to rustic countryside villages, to plush coffee estates, to the easy-going golden beaches, at a pace that you determine helps you realize that the boundaries that our ideas create to seperate different places are not so easily segmented, and the way these differences overlap and interact is best experienced with as minimal a seperation between you and the land. As you pedal along, the cycle of experiences ensure that not a single day gets repetitive and not a single road mundane. 

On this 14 day safari, lose yourself to the scenic hills draped in rich coffee plantations and spices, bike through one of the major tropical evergreen forest regions of India, and be dazzled by the ingenuity of master architects of the Hoysala period. People try to do too much in too little a time, this bike ride will show you a small piece of India, but will let you experience every grain of it, flooding your mind with an array of sensations, images and experiences. And what better way of reflecting on this rollercoaster of a journey than in a Goan shack with a beer in your hand, witnessing another spectacular sunset on the Arabian sea?

Trip Price: 
Casual Inns: US $2,995 pp dbl occ. (+ $700 for sgl occ.)
Riding Style: Active Rider
Total Distance Cycled: ~ 650km averaging 50km or 31miles per day.
Tour Starts: Bangalore, India
Tour Ends: Goa, India
Group Size: Min. 2, Max. 10
Support: A Van follows the group of riders throughout the trip and carries all belongings. If at any point riding seems a little hard, the van takes you for as long or as little as you wish it to.
On the day of our arrival, the focus is on getting to know the people we would be spending the next 10 or so days riding with, our tour leader and about the bike tour itself. After an initial rest at Casa Cottage after getting into the city, we will move into the city in the evening to have dinner at the 13th Floor Restaurant on the city's arterial M.G. Road. With a view of the city lit up at night, we can get to know each other over dinner and about the journey that awaits us.
Photo of Bangalore, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
Tucked away from the metropolitan madness in a small green alcove in Bangalore, the bright cheerful rooms of Casa Cottage are a relief from the city with all its benefits still intact. There is a small café that serves dinner and snacks in case you do not want to step out. This accommodation has been chosen knowing full well the concrete monotony of a city, and to inject some charm into your tour right from the beginning.
Photo of Casa Cottage, Bangalore, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
We won't be able to start riding from the outset, but will initially have to take a shuttle bus to battle the traffic on its own terms. Once we get to riding, the route for the day is overflowing with culture, which is quite expected for India! We ride past mango orchards, nurseries, paddy fields and temples and make the first stop at the Big Banyan Tree. This gigantic tree is about 400 years old and spreads itself over 3 acres. after a stop here, we move onto the small town of Channapatna, where toy-makers make handmade toys in their small factories. Before this, we stop for a typical Kannadiga cuisine at Kamat Lokaruchi. Channapatna owes its toy-making heritage to the King Tipu Sultan, who first introduced this otherwise Persian art. The small highway town is lined with bright shops showcasing horses, beads and sundry toys. We again use shuttle to reach the cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore.
Photo of Mysore, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
Our stay will be at Royal Orchid Metropole which in a previous time served as the Mysore Maharaja's guest house for his British visitors. Entering the Metropole is like stepping back in to colonial times, but though it retains its colonial charms, it has been refurbished to incorporate modern luxuries like like a pool, wi-fi, an in-house restaurant and spacious well-furnished rooms, becoming one of the most popular hotel chains of India.
Photo of Royal Orchid Metropole, CFTRI Campus, Kajjihundi, Mysore, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
This morning, after breakfast, we head out for our first steep challenge, the Chamundi Hills. Scaling 3489 ft in just 13 Kms to see the temple of Sri Chamundeshwari, the deity of the royal family, we'll spend the morning at the beautiful temple with its colossal statue of the Nandi Bull, before cycling down for lunch in the city. Post lunch a lot of Mysore, still unseen, awaits us. We start with the 14th Century Amba Vilas Palace, which we pass again later at night, to see this beautiful structure lit up at night. We then move onto the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery. After the two main historic sights here, its time for the busy Devaraj market. The market is a heady concoction of sights, sounds and smells - stalls stacked with conical mounds of Kumkum, stacks of glittering bangles, blocks of jaggery, and huge mounds of fragrant marigolds, jasmine, asters and even antiques!
Photo of Chamundi Hill, Mysore, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
Today, again we use the shuttle before we get on the bikes to head to Shravanbelagola enroute to Hassan. A Jain pilgrimage site, Shravanbelagola has earned the respect and reverence of travelers due to its millenia long history (constructed in 993 AD) and its mammoth statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali atop a hill, overlooking the town. We make a short stop here and head towards Hassan. The great weather makes riding over gentle slopes and past the ruins of the Hoysalan dynasty a pure pleasure. On reaching Hassan we check into the Hoyasala Village Resort. After the long bike ride, the resort is a great place to relax and unwind - the resort has Indian motifs, artifacts, Ayurveda massages and local Indian board games - an ode to the Hoysalas. Otherwise, there's a pool and a comfortable veranda to while the time until dinner. After dinner at the resort, we'll call it a night early, so as to be well rested for our journey to Chikmaglur.
Photo of Hassan, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
The Hoysala Village resort is a blend of modern hospitality styled according to Indian aesthetics. Plush. cozy rooms with a restaurant that serves the best of the local cuisine along with Indian board games, a swimming pool and an Ayurveda massage facility will keep you more than just comfortable.
Photo of The Ashhok, Hassan, Karnataka by Art of Bicycle Trips
Riding out from Hassan, we get on to an ideal cycling route with sparsely populated roads, through thick foliage, vast coffee plantations and green paddy fields taking us to Belur and then Halebidu, the two essential temple towns on this route. The Belur or Chennakesava Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, with its 4000 exquisite slate stone carvings took 103 years of hard work to make. The carvings are of Hoysala emblems, statues of dancing ladies and stories and stills from the Indian epics. Similarly, tales from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the mythological 'seven in one' animal, Makara are carved into stone in Halebidu, the Shiva temple. Although they seem similar, they have nuanced differences that a guide can point out for you to better understand and appreciate each of the temples on their own. If we make good time cycling, we can carry on riding to Chikmaglur, else we'll take the shuttle. Once past the town, sprawling coffee estates emerge, and in this great weather, copious cups of hot, well brewed coffee is a dream for any caffeine junkie. Our place of stay is the first homestay of Chikmagalur - Woodways. With beautiful rooms, plantation walks with the hosts and delicious local food, expect to be thoroughly pampered!
Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
More than a decade old, Woodways was the first home stay in Chikmagalur and is the quintessential personally run inn. Small and personal, the hospitality extended by the hosts Sushmita and Shreedev as they regale you with local anecdotes about the place and its history will make you feel as if you are their guests and not lodgers!
Photo of Woodways Home Stay, Chikamagular by Art of Bicycle Trips
Chikmagalur with its verdure scenery is breath taking, with miles of lush green forests and picturesque flora and fauna. It is one of the 36-biodiversity hotspots in the world, and it would be a crime to leave its dense forests unexplored. You are free to plan your day with our help. The highest peak in Karnataka, Mullayangiri, at about 6,314 ft above sea level or the nearby wildlife sanctuary are some of the places you can ride, or if you so wish, hike to. The hike to Mullayangiri is not difficult except a steep ascent in the middle. For those who want to kick back and relax without exerting themselves overmuch, can simply stroll through the plantations.
Photo of Mullayanagiri, Pandaravalli, Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
Leaving behind the coffee hills of Chikmaglur, our road will lead us to a small village called Lokavalli, which houses one of the best river lodges at the edge of the Bhadra reservoir, the River Tern Lodge. As we snake through the sinuous, undulating roads enveloped on all sides by the lush green of the western Ghats and cool air of these coastal hills, we'll finally reach the wildlife oriented lodge next to the Bhadra river reservoir, where one can sight the river tern bird, especially in the breeding season. The lodge offers expansive views of the large Bhadra reservoir. The Bhadra river is a great place to indulge in some water sports, hiking in the nearby forest area or a boat trip on the water, if the weather permits. As dusk sets in, a bonfire is prepared, by which you can have a drink and dine on the delectable local cuisine.
Photo of Lokavalli, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
The internal comfort of the River Tern Lodge is further enhanced by the dramatic views of the expansive backwaters of the Bhadra Dam. Named after the species of bird that breeds in the small islands of the reservoir, the lodge offers many outdoor adventure activities like trekking, wildlife spotting, watersports, birdwatching and mountain-biking
Photo of River Tern Lodge, Lokhavalli by Art of Bicycle Trips
This morning, we cover some distance by the shuttle until we reach the rural countryside to resume our cycling journey through it. Riding through the countryside is the best way to experience the unhurried village way of living - farmers at the fields, livestock lazing through grassy patches, small streams and neat village huts in clusters. Banavasi, an ancient temple town, is also tailor-made to be explored on cycle. Recognized as the first capital of ancient Karnataka, which flourished in the fourth to the sixth centuries, it features in Hindu mythology across many eras. Riding through this typical Malnad village with its tiled heritage houses, spacious courtyards and paddy fields, it offers many spots and perspectives that would have otherwise been unavailable. Stopping for a few moments to relax by the banks of the Varada River or taking a walk to the Madhukeshwara Temple, built in 9th century, is the highlight of the village. A celebrated architectural marvel, with ornate sculptures and the calming simplicity of its sanctum sanctorum. It is said that visiting this temple is equivalent to visiting all of Hinduism's main temples.
Photo of Banavasi, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
The Vanavasika Tourist Home is a basic and clean guesthouse in the village of Banavasi. With basic facilities, this guesthouse will ensure a comfortable stay but is absent the frills that larger city resorts otherwise provide. Banavasi's own traditional way of life is in itself so enthralling that these frills will not be missed at all.
Photo of Banavasi Village, Banavasi by Art of Bicycle Trips
Before we get to the sunny beaches of Gokarna, the route to get there will make you want to linger more on the journey than the destination. Pedaling through dense pristine forests, interesting rockscapes like that of Yana, with its two massive rock outcrops and thick undergrowth add a indescribable charm to the ride. At Yana, for instance the majesty of large black crystalline Karst limestone rocks 390 and 300 feet tall, will take your breath away, even if the cycling did not! In the sacred town of Gokarna, we arrive at Om beach and settle into our hotel. Offering a much needed rest and three beautiful beaches - Kudle, Half Moon and Paradise beach, where we can dip our weary legs into the ocean. The shacks, sun bathing travelers and small shops infuse a boho-vibe to what is a Hindu pilgrimage, with a temple dedicated to Lord Mahabhaleshwara.
Photo of Gokarna, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
Beautiful, pristine beaches on one side and lush green hills on the other, Om Beach Resort lies sandwiched between two forms of nature, infusing you with a freshness that rejuvenates your spirit, perfectly complimenting the spiritually historic town of Gokarna.
Photo of Om Beach Resort Gokarna, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
At Goa, the riding tour finally comes to a conclusion. You have few days to soak in Goa before you are connected or transferred to your onward journey or destination. Taking strolls along the beach, is the best way to experience Goa. Goa has an abundance of clubs, pubs, restaurants on the beach or within the city along with its own colonial and pre-colonial history. all of which you can enjoy at your own pace. We keep these days as dynamic and plan as per your interests. Our trip concludes late-morning at the hotel. Your leaders will make arrangements for transportation to the Goa Dabolim Airport for your onward journey or to your hotel in Goa.
Photo of Goa, India by Art of Bicycle Trips
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