Day 4, Mon 14th: To Vandanmedu 60km
We wake today at 800m altitude and after an early morning breakfast
we start our cycling day. It is a really beautiful but challenging
ride with one tough 7 km climb as we head through the tea estates
and deep ravines of the famed Cardamom hills. Much of the day is
spent cycling through the cardamom forests forests that skirt one
of the largest reservoirs of Kerala. Our destination for the night
is the Carmelia Haven in the Idukki District overlooking the Periyar
Day 5, Tues 15th: To Periyar 30km
Our destination today is the short morning ride to Periyar passing
through forests, tea gardens and spice plantations. We will reach
the wonderful Spice Village Hotel by lunchtime where we can either
relax our legs by the pool for the afternoon or take off into the
jungle. Periyar is one of the best wildlife preserves in India and
has large herds of Asiatic elephants, Indian Bison as well as tigers.
For the ornothologists it has over 330 species of birds including
the majestic Great Hornbill. Tonight we see a little of the tribal
population and their lifestyles before we eat and collapse for a
fine nights sleep.
Day 6, Wed 16th: Vathalagunta 105 km
Today is our longest distance although probably one of our easiest
cycling days. We cycle out of Thekkady and then have 9km of steep
downhill before hitting the plains of Tamil Nadu. We will stop for
lunch in the shade of palm trees overlooking the agricultural lands
of the great plains of southern India. Today we head for the village
of Vathalagunta where we spend the night.
Day 7, Thurs 17th: To Kodaikanal 55km
And so to an early start for our final cycling day and the toughest
challenge too. By now our body should be used to the full cycling
days and this may well have prepared us for the road to Kodaikanal.
The ICT project based here is our goal, and this hill station at
2074m with its steep road that seems to go on for ever seems like
a fitting end to the challenge. Our hotel for the next two nights
is in the centre of Kodaikanal and tonight we have a special evening
to celebrate the achievement of having cycled all the way from Kochi.