Besides being the best way to explore the less traveled roads along the Western Ghats, mountain biking lets you meet up with the local communities, the indigenous people and a chance to understand their unique culture and lifestyles. For the muduvans & the kaadar tribes living among the upper reaches of the Western Ghats, income by being the local trackers and guides has helped them to make a decent living . Expeditions like these give an opportunity also to visit them at their villages and interact with them and gives the travelers a chance to appreciate local cultures. Such visits are factored in this cycling tour.
This trip also helps in raising awareness about the unique bio-diversity of the Western Ghats which is one of the 34 bio diversity ‘Hot Spots’ of the earth. There is a heightened threat level of bio-diversity and endemism particularly of the Nilgiri Tahr at Munnar and the Lion Tailed Macaque at Valparai – the last viable surviving areas of these once abundant species. All parks in this region have Eco Development Committees and Forest Protection Teams employed in tourism related work and arranging all wildlife programmes for tourists. So when one enters the park & takes part in safaris or treks in the park, the proceeds of such activities go to the local communities directly and almost in full.
The places you will be staying are small single owner properties, small holdings or eco lodges and approximately 30% of the money you will be spending for staying here goes directly to the local communities by employing them as support staff and guides for tourism related activities like visit to the tribal village, forest walks, tea estate and farm visits. On the first night you stay at Hornbill Camp which is made of locally available materials and constructed exclusively by using locally available expertise in reed leaf thatching. There is very little concrete used, instead tents are used and more importantly only maximum of 2 kva electricity is used in the camp. The water is heated using solar heaters and the kitchen refuse is recycled for use in the spice plantations nearby.
As the traveling is on cycles most of the way, it enables you to take in the surroundings without damaging the environment. We always believe in small groups of maximum 6 persons to reduce impacting on the ‘carrying capacity’ of the region they are passing through, most of which are protected forests. Our strict policy of Leave No Trace helps protect the environment and is an example to the locals by removing all waste from place to place.
Cycling tour in the highlands of central India
From Rupee 55000 7 days excluding flights