The Splendour Of Southern Countryside
Calicut – Kalpetta – Madikeri – Kasargod – Mangalore – Murudeshwar –Mangalore
April 14, July 12
6 nights / 7 days
Approx. 800 kms
The southern part of India has some of the most ancient temples that not only have devotees thronging to for centuries but are still well preserved, neat and orderly. While most people are aware of the famous ones there are several such quaint ones in the small towns and villages of south India that have their own legends and historical legacy which would leave you awestruck. The culture, traditions and cuisine of south India can best be experienced in its smaller towns and hamlets that remain relatively unnoticed by mass tourists and that is how they have remained in their pristine state for centuries. It is also in this part of India that you would see some of the most serene beaches visited by a handful of locals who come to see the daily departures and arrivals of familiar fishing boats.
This road trips shall also take you through some of the wildest countryside of south India that have dense jungles and breathtaking natural vista. Some of the stretches are such that you have a high probability of witnessing wild animals in the surrounding foliage or even crossing the road right in front of you!
If you are looking for an experience that is a great mix of nature, culture, cuisine, ancient temples and life in small towns, this drive is just for you!
THE PIT STOPS
Our trip starts at Calicut ( Kozhikode ) in Kerala which is well connected by train and air from the rest of the country and Kalpetta in Kerala would be our first stop.
It is a town in the northern part of Kerala and the headquarters of the Wayanad district. This charming small town is located at an altitude of about 2500 feet and is surrounded by dense jungles, mountains and coffee plantations. During your two days of stay at Kalpetta you shall visit some of the most secluded waterfalls, dams (one of which is the largest earthen dam of India), coffee plantations and ancient natural caves dating back to 6000 BCE. And here’s more….a thrilling jungle walk also awaits you at Kalpetta!
Madikeri is our next stop which a very popular hill resort of Karnataka. However, it is the drive which would make this day one of the most memorable experiences you would have. This day we shall drive through one of the wildest parts of India as most part of this drive would be through hills and plains with dense forest cover where you have bright chances of spotting wild animals and rare birds right next to the road! A part of this thrilling drive would be along the periphery of the famous Nagarhole Tiger Reserve too.
Perched at an altitude of about 3500 feet, Madikeri is beautiful hill station in the Kodagu district of Karnataka. Apart for its acclaimed coffee, Coorg is also known for its scenic beauty with the origin of the famous Kaveri river located not too far away from this town. The architectural beauty of Madikeri Fort, built by king Mudduraja and later renovated by Tipu Sultan and Omkareshwar temple which shows a curious blend of Islamic and Gothic style of architecture, are sights to behold.
Today we shall drive west to the coast on a dizzyingly spectacular road built right into the side of a steep valley that was carved over millennia by the Kaveri River, one of India’s holiest. Soon after you leave Madikeri, you shall be greeted by waterfalls cascading down near-vertical grades, a few even splashing your vehicle and brightly painted temples would occasionally peep out from forests of blackwood and kino trees. Gradually you shall descend into lowlands with palm-fringed beaches and tranquil backwaters. You are back in Kerala again at Kasargod!
Kasargod is a small coastal town in the northernmost district of Kerala. This town is known for its rich and glorious past, serene backwaters, old temples and pristine beaches. The district of Kasargod has one of the longest coastline spanning 293 kilometers! The coir and handloom industry here are extremely famous and the town is also home to Bekal Fort – the largest and best preserved fort in the State of Kerala.
A coastal drive awaits you this day as we head towards Murudeshwar via Mangalore. You shall pretty much drive through the city of Mangalore with a short halt at Sultan Battery- a fort built by Tipu Sultan to keep a lookout for the entry of warships into the Gurupura River that flows close to this city.
Murudeshwar is a small town located on the northern coast of Karnataka. Apart from its natural beauty, this town is very famous for its imposing statue of Lord Shiva which is located right on the beach with a shimmering Arabian Sea on its three sides. With the height of 123 feet, it is considered as the second tallest statue of Lord Shiva in the world. Apart from a walk around this sleepy town you shall also have the option for heading out for scuba diving at Netrani Island, which is considered as the best place for scuba and snorkeling on the western coast of India! Those who wish to stay on terra firma would head for an excursion to the scenic Sharavathi Valley which is also a wildlife sanctuary. After a stay of 2 nights at Murudeshwar we shall return to Mangalore tor head back home.