Bangalore: "At last they entered a world within a world. A valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountain. Surely the Gods live here... Beaten down by the silence and the appalling sweep of dispersal of the cloud shadows after the rain. There is no place for men." - Rudyard Kipling
Off late,a lot of the younger generation has chosen cycling as a good form of exercise and at the same time travel around various routes to enjoy Nature. A journey with mountains, crossing lakes and villages, a perfect blend of Nature with new cultures to learn, Cycling is a great adventure. India has among the world's best cycling routes to offer to such enthusiasts.
Below are the top four cycling routes in India-
Panagong Lake Circuit
The first route that would strike anyone in the north is the Ladakh, a cycling paradise for all bikers.
Anyone from an amateur cyclist to the hard core cycling buff, who would want to hit the mountains, will be promised a great time with Nature. The Panagong Lake Circuit lets you drive through a long stretch of about 300 km of mud roads along the shores of the Panagong Lake. The ride along the edge of the lake offers a spectacular view. En route you will find the lake on your left and the flat barren mountains of the Chang Chemo and the beautiful snowcapped peaks of the Panagong range on your right.
The only challenge cyclists would face on this route is the Chandler pass. It is the highest and is also considered to be the most difficult passes in Ladakh.
Manali to Leh
A permanent classic and an absolute favorite among cyclists from around the world, this trail offers a spectacular landscape, combined with very volatile weather conditions and high level of altitude making this a tough yet very gratifying and memorable journey.
The route, around 600km long lets you come across some of the greatest ranges in the country -
Rothang La (3950m) - Pir Panjal range,
Baralacha La (5000m) - The Great Himalaya and Nakeela (5000m),
Lachulung La (5150m) and Taglang La (5300m) - Zanskar range.
The month of September is the best time to do this trip. The monsoon stops by then and the roads are easier to travel.
The quiet roads and the picturesque view of the Western Ghats form a great package filled with fun, a few challenges and a treat to the eyes.
The Tour of Nilgiris, the country's first best organized bicycle tour is an eight day long tour, usually held in the month of December. The tour covers the best of routes in the Western Ghats - Coorg, Madikeri, Mysore, Haasan, Ooty, Munnar etc. The routes are known for their lush green mountains and the wide variety of flora and fauna.
The journey along the Spiti valley is a very soulful one offering a view of a clear blue sky, prayer wheels, monks along the way and a few waving flags. The path with its unpredictable climatic changes makes it a difficult ride up the mountain, but the cyclists are treated with exceptional scenery.
The valley, located in the Himalaya mountains, lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinaaur. Lahaul and Kulu. It has a terrain, vegetation and climate is similar to that of Tibet, as well as the Buddhist culture. It is formed by the river which rises on the slopes of Kunzum La dividing the Lahaul and Spiti district.