10 Reasons why you must Cycle in the Western Ghats in the Monsoons

The arrival of the “monsoons” the rain-bearing clouds is a phenomenon in India and is quite literally an “emotion” for the people of India. The large agrarian population and the life in the rainforests of the Western Ghats come alive in the monsoons celebrating this time of abundance. The goal with this tour is simple, to soak in the essences of the monsoons in as many ways as possible.

Here are our 10 reasons on why you should #GetUnventured in the Western Ghats during the monsoons

1. Your best place to get wet, wet and more wet

Ride into the rains, through quaint countryside roads celebrating the monsoons. Getting wet here can mean a thorough downpour or days where there is a constant mild drizzle through the day.

2. Its green and full of life

The Western Ghats is filled with lush green forests and farm lands that abut these forests. The carpets of green are best seen from the many vantage points you will pass by riding through the region. You will never run out of the rich life that fills the region from insects, varied bird life, the umpteen species of frogs and the snakes that get active looking for these frogs.

3. Wake up to misty mornings and ride through the clouds

You’ll be riding through the clouds and when its not raining the mist mornings with mountains in the background playing hide and seek, makes for great picture post card memories for you to take back home.

4. Learn of biodiversity and ecology from the researchers studying the region.

A team of young researchers are studying the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats and the monsoon rains brings them out from their hiding. You’ll get to interact with them closely and also learn of the regions ecology from a scientific perspective and of its significance to the rest of the country.

5. Local interactions, folklore and stories from the region

When you are not cycling and as you get to camp you’ll be greeted by the folks running quaint simple homestays in the region. They are locals from the region and have a lot of information to share about their part of the world, cultures and traditions. Immerse yourself with conversations with them and it will open you up to a new perspective of the region.

6. From pure South Indian vegetarian food to local non-vegetarian cuisine, you’ll get to try it all out, and steaming hot!

The “Malenadu” region has a unique flavor to its food and the people in the region are a mixed community of Brahmin(pure vegetarians) and other Hindu communities that consume non-vegetarian foods like meats. This diversity also means a variety on the plate for travellers. You’ll get to savor some rice, rotis and good local chicken and pork meat dishes. Step into a local hotel and the food is quite distinct and away form the regular South Indian idly, vada and dosa. The temple towns of Sringeri and some others will open your taste buds up to local South Indian vegetarian dishes that are lip-smacking good.

7. Savor on best freshly ground coffee

The Western Ghats is a coffee country, these mountain ranges are the raison-de’etre for the famed “South Indian Filter Coffee”. Learn about the stories of how coffee made its way to the Western Ghats and how a sage turned this region into a coffee haven for the world. And not to forget that on the road you’ll have plenty of stops to savor fresh strong filter coffee.

8. Its Unventured and hence not very intense and loaded with fun

On an Unventured tour, we focus more on local experiences that bring you closer to the region, its people, ecology, natural wealth and the way of life. The bicycle is just a means of getting from one place to another and we savor the journey. So on each day, the ride, the distance and pace is not very fast but gives you enough time to rest, take breaks, enjoy the views, interact with locals and with your fellow riders.

9. Countless waterfalls enroute

The monsoons make ways for plentiful streams and waterways that make their way across from the mountains and through the rock crevices down towards the plains. Along the road you will pass by many such streams flowing down or dropping from rock surfaces. You can always enjoy a therapeutic stand under a waterfall if you haven’t had enough of the rains.

10. Hike up to breathtaking views of the mountains

You are never too far away from surreal views of the mountains in the Western Ghats. On the Monsoon trail you will have many opportunities including a hike up to an old ruined fort. The views are surreal and make for a great experience watching the expanse of the region that surrounds the fort.

You’ll drive back with fond memories and obviously wet from the rains, great vistas, encounters with snakes, scorpions and other amphibian life, amazing local food, humble and fun people and eye into the monsoons.

The journey never ends and this quest to meet more people, discover more places and soak in the local culture and history will ensure you #GetUnventured!

Here’s what one of our traveller’s have to say….

“Chasing the Monsoons-Fabulous way to explore the Sahyadris”

As part of the Unventured travellers network, this was my second trip with #getunventured. The tour was well planned with the accommodation at Sakhleshpur, Balur and Simha farms pretty much royal..not to mention the others were really good too…the cycling was not very exhausting on any of the days but the close proximity to nature and the amazing weather made it a memorable ride. The support vehicle was well stocked with water and snacks and the cycles were of top quality.

The night walks and forest visits at Sringeri and Agumbe were really good not to forget the lake swim at Bhagvathi Nature camp. The ride from Simha farms to Marvante was amazing…downhill through the clouds. The local food on all days was amazing with the hosts at homestays being very warm and welcoming. All in all it was a great trip and has reaffirmed my faith in Unventured for cycling trips.

Visited August 2015 – Shanay Shah

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