The tour covers mainly two landscapes of central Kerala, the lowlands and highlands. The lowlands stretches are flat and are very close to the coastal line and backwaters. Highlands includes hills and mountain with moderate to challenging climbs for a beginner, followed by refreshing downhills.
Altitude range: From below sea level in backwaters to 2000m in western ghats
Overall ride distribution:
25% through low land areas with 0% slope gradient
50% through hills with 1-4% slope gradient
25% through the mountains with 5-8% slope gradient
Egrets(little, moderate, large), Cattle Egrets, Cormorants, Brahminy kites, Pond Heron, Kingfisher, Mynah, Ducks, House crow, Goats, Cows, Water buffaloes, Bonet macaque(common monkey), Wild boar, Asian Elephant and a Great Hornbill(if lucky!)
Plantations – Coconut, Banana, Rubber, Pineapple, Tea, Eucalyptus, Cardamom
Forests – Bamboo, Figs, Lantana, Trumpet, Flame tree Farms – Paddy farms, Fish farms, Spice farms(pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric)
Food: Keralan spicy fish curry along with boiled tapioca sauteed with little turmeric and mustard Kerala vegetarian meal on banana leaf, variety of spiced-up local side dishes and curries prepared with beef, chicken, mutton, clams or prawns
Drink: Chaaya(milk tea), Sulaimani (a black tea), toddy(naturally fermented sap brewed from coconut flower bud)
Art: Cultural show with traditional dance forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyattam, Theyyam, Ottanthullal and Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s own martial art
Culture: Hinduism, Fort Kochi with its fusion of 7+ communities, profuse influence of Christianity along the coast, backwater village life, tea plantation culture.
Recommended Reading List
- “Nine Lives: In search of the sacred in modern India” by William Dalrymple – explores the lives of 9 people in India and their religious paths.
- “Potrait Kerala” by Aruna Nambiar – presents kerala, it’s land, people, faith, rituals, artforms through more than 200 photograhs
- “God of small things” by Arundhati Roy – a story set in backwater village of Kerala, capturing aspects on communism, Kerala Syrian christian way of life and caste system
- “Kerala – land of palms” by I.H. Hacker, a peek into life in Kerala during early 1900