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Chennai-Madurai-Kochi Tour

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Puducherry – Kumbakonam – Pudukkottai – Madurai – Chinnakanal – Vagamon – Kolahalamedu – Kumarakom – Kochi 11 days

DAY 1: Arrive in Chennai

DAY 2: Mahabalipuram to Puducherry

DAY 3: Puducherry to Kumbakonam

DAY 4: Kumbakonam to Pudukkottai

DAY 5: Pudukkottai to Madurai

DAY 6: Madurai Rest Day

DAY 7: Madurai to Chinnakanal

DAY 8: Chinnakanai to Vagamon

DAY 9: Kolahalamedu to Kumarakom

DAY 10: Kumarakom to Kochi

DAY 11: Departure

Day 1: Arrive in Chennai

Arrive in Chennai, formerly known as “Madras,” and the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. A fascinating mix of modern and traditional, this Indian metropolis has plenty of cosmopolitan and historic diversions for visitors. Feel free to explore some of the city’s many temples, colonial churches, museums, and more before meeting up at our hotel in the afternoon for a trip briefing. In the evening, our guide will welcome us to India in true Tamil style with a lavish dinner of South Indian cuisine!

Grand Chennai Hotel

Dinner

Day 2: Mahabalipuram to Puducherry

Our first cycling day of the tour begins with an hour and a half transfer out of the urban sprawl of Chennai to Mahabalipuram, a coastal town famous for its ancient rock-cut monuments and temples that are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll have some time to peruse and admire some of these thousand-year-old relics before hopping on our bikes and enjoying the first ride of the trip!

 We’ll make our way out of Mahabalipuram, inland and into the backroads of rural Tamil Nadu. The terrain is mostly flat as we pass through farmland and farming villages, dotted with colourful Hindu temples famous to the region. There’s a short and gentle climb at the end of our ride before we reach the coastal town of Puducherry, a former French colony on the coast. Take a stroll to admire the uniquely French colonial architecture in this easy-going town before meeting the group for dinner.

Hotel Atithi

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 85km

+343m

-347m

Day 3: Puducherry to Kumbakonam

It’s time to break away from the Bay and Bengal and begin our journey to the other coast! We ride directly from our hotel in Puducherry and into the countryside

 Though our ride today is long, the terrain is mostly flat like the previous day’s ride, but the scenery is noticeably more lush, especially after we cross the Kollidam River. It’s a pleasant ride, passing through small, but colourful Tamil villages with their many temples and the occasional church. We’ll ride directly to our accommodation for the evening, a stunningly designed hotel showcasing traditional Indian and colonial architecture in a lush and serene setting. After the ride, you’ll have time to enjoy the pleasant surroundings of the hotel, take a dip in the pool, or enjoy the Ayurvedic spa.

Indeco Swamimalai

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 111km

+489m

-467m

Day 4: Kumbakonam to Pudukkottai

After breakfast, we head out from our pleasant hotel in Kumbakonam, riding east along the Kaveri River. It’s a flat ride along the river for roughly 45 kilometres before we head south towards the town of Pudukkottai. There are some very gentle and gradual climbs before we reach our destination, but overall it’s a pleasant ride through an area of Tamil Nadu that seldom sees foreign tourists- especially not cyclists! Enjoy the view of authentic South Indian life.

 After reaching our destination, you’ll have time to freshen up and maybe take a short stroll through town before rejoining the group for dinner.

Hotel Saradha Grande

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 109km

+508m

-546m

Day 5: Pudukkottai to Madurai

Today we’ll rise early to get a head start on the South Asian sun and heat. Our destination for the day: the ancient city of Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. After 4 days of cycling through Tamil Nadu, today’s ride is an easy achievement. The ride begins with a fast and flat warm-up, followed by a gradual climb into gently undulating terrain at around 20 kilometres, passing through small towns and farming villages. We’ll have a slow, several-kilometre climb as we pass by the Alagar Kovil Forest Reserve, before making a smooth descent into the city of Madurai.

 Our accommodation is a beautiful boutique hotel and centrally located for our day off the bikes for sightseeing tomorrow. Take a dip in the pool, sip a drink at the bar, or get some laundry done before rejoining the group in the evening for dinner.

JC Residency Madurai

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 115km

+575m

-540m

Day 6: Madurai Rest Day

Spend today out of the saddle and soaking up the experience of walking among the two-thousand-year-old streets of Madurai. One of the oldest cities in India, the history of this truly ancient metropolis speaks for itself with its towering temple complexes and monuments.

 After breakfast, we’ll head out into the city to see some of the most famous sights, like the Meenakshi temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess of the same name, and adorned with thousands of colourfully painted sculptures. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring, and lunch and dinner are at your leisure. Your guide will be happy to provide suggestions, and you are also welcome to spend your day relaxing at the hotel.

 Be sure to rest well for a big day tomorrow!

JC Residency Madurai

Breakfast

Day 7: Madurai to Chinnakanal

After a day off the bikes, we’re well-rested and ready for a big day in the foothills of the Western Ghats. We’ll transfer out of the busy Madurai to our start point in the quiet villages just beyond the foothills of the Western Ghat mountains. The ride starts with a flat and steady warm-up for 40 kilometres as we head west- straight for the Ghats!

 Our journey is a long climb through the forested hills of Bodi Hill West Forest in the foothills of one of India’s southern mountain ranges. The terrain can be quite tough, with short and steep ascents that build for 20 kilometres. Be sure to keep your bidon topped-up and take breaks when necessary, or just stop to admire the view. After we reach the top of the climb, we’ll enjoy a nice downhill that takes us straight into Kerala Province. The last 10 kilometres are rolling hills, with a final steep ascent to our accommodation for the evening, situated firmly within the Western Ghats.

 Tonight we’ll enjoy a hearty dinner to fuel up for a final day of riding in these impressive mountains!

Ayur County Resort

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 82km

+2002m

-761m

Day 8: Chinnakanai to Vagamon

We’ll rise early to get a head start on the hills. Another day of climbing takes us deeper into the Western Ghats on winding mountain roads. We’ll get a break from the South Indian heat, with cool mountain air and forested slopes offering some shade on our ride, especially as we skirt the edge of Mathikettan Skola National Park. Today’s climbs are less gradual, and your legs will be tested on short but steep gradients, all the way up to our destination for the day- the hill station of Vagamon.

 Our accommodation for the evening is a cosy hotel with quiet and natural surroundings, the perfect place to get a good night’s sleep after a challenging day!

Summer Sand Hill Resort

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 117km

+2323m

-2731m

Day 9: Kolahalamedu to Kumarakom

We’ll bid farewell to the Western Ghats on our ride today. The ride begins with a long and smooth descent out of the mountain resort area. Watch the scenery change from pine-lined ridges to tropical forest as we descend over 1,000 meters almost back to sea level- welcome to Kerala!

 After the descent, it’s an undulating ride through the lush countryside of Kerala province. There are hills to watch out for, but nothing we won’t be able to handle after our last two days of climbing! We’ll pass through the town of Kottayam before a final stretch through the peaceful backwaters to Kumarakom, famous for its houseboat lifestyle and bird sanctuary.

 Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at our resort, located on the shores of Vembanadu Lake.

Abad Whispering Palms Resort

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 77km

+742m

-1830m

Day 10: Kumarakom to Kochi

Our final cycling day is a treat: a scenic ride through the serene backwaters of Kerala as we make our way to the Arabian Sea. The first half of our route takes us through lush coconut plantations and backwater fish farms tended by fisherman and stalked by a wide array of birdlife. The road is dotted with Christian Churches and local ladies in vibrantly coloured saris. Around halfway through our ride, we meet our goal- the sandy shores of our second coast! We’ll stop for a beachside picnic lunch before completing our journey on a coastal road, all the way to Kochi.

 After checking into our cosy hotel in Kochi, you’ll have time to pack up your bike, freshen up and enjoy the rooftop pool or go for a stroll through this laid back beach town before joining the group once again for a final South Indian feast. We’ll trade stories and congratulate ourselves on the tremendous accomplishment of cycling through India from Coast to Coast!

Hotel Abad Plaza

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ride 60km

+200m

-196m

Day 11: Departure

After breakfast, our tour support team will transfer you to Cochin International Airport for onward travel. We recommend extending your stay in charming Kochi or exploring more of Kerala and its scenic backwaters, and SpiceRoads will be happy to make the arrangements for you.

Breakfast

Destinations

India

Tour Meets: Chennai, India

Tour Ends: Kochi, India

Fly in to: Chennai International Airport

Fly out of: Cochin International Airport

Group Size: 2-16 riders

Minimum Age: 18 (on scheduled departures)

Total Cycling Distance: 758km

Avg Distance / Day: 95km

Avg Climbing / Day: 897m

TRIP PROFILE

This trip covers 758 kilometres in 8 cycling days, crossing the southern part of the Indian sub-continent. Daily distances are over 100 kilometres on paved roads, and while most are relatively flat, there are 2 challenging days of climbing in the Western Ghat mountains towards the end of the trip. Our route is scenic and full of variety as we ride from one coast to the other, through ancient civilisations, off-the-beaten-path farming communities, majestic mountains, and tropical backwaters.

Suitability: This trip is suitable for the experienced road cyclist, and those comfortable riding over 100 kilometres per day on back to back days. Climbing experience and a good cycling fitness will be helpful on days in the Western Ghat mountains, however, the support vehicle will always be nearby for those that need it.

Biking Conditions: This trip is on quiet, tarmac back roads in good condition. However, this is India! There may be sections of rough road and chaotic traffic in and around urban areas. Your local cycling guide will keep you aware of what’s ahead, and the air-conditioned support vehicle will ride behind the entire way should you need a rest.

What’s Included

  • SpiceRoads Jersey
  • Water bottle
  • Domestic flights
  • Support vehicle
  • Guide(s)
  • Meals (as indicated)
  • Airport pick up
  • Airport drop off
  • Accommodation

What’s Excluded

  • International flights
  • Domestic flights
  • Visa fees
  • Alcohol
  • Tips
  • NUTS & BOLTS
  • Bikes
  • Bike Repairs