INDIA CHALLENGE 2020: Timeline
Depart from London Heathrow Airport on an overnight flight to Mumbai or Delhi.
Day 1 - Arrival in Visakhapatnam
Connecting flight to the city of Visakhapatnam (or VIzag as it’s known by its residents), one of the most beautiful coastal cities on the East coast of India. As the plane comes in to land, you’ll get your first views of the breathtaking, varied countryside you’ll soon be cycling through. You’ll be picked up by tour leader, Ravi from Authentica and taken to the hotel. Based in Vizag’s bustling centre, the Fortune Inn Sree Kanya is within walking distance of shops, cafes and cashpoints. After a rest and a shower, there’ll be time to explore the city, walk down to the sea, take photos, dodge traffic and experience India’s noise, bustle, smells and warmth for the first time. Head back to the hotel (or take a Rickshaw) for a first delicious home cooked dinner together.
Day 2 - Orientation and Acclimatisation
Take this morning at your own pace - head out for an early morning walk to the sea or take your time over breakfast (choose between the dosa station and choice of pickles or opt for boiled eggs and toast!). Later that morning, you’ll meet for a trip briefing led by staff from FRANK Water and Authentica. You’ll meet the team including medics, cooks and mechanics, learn about FRANK Water’s work, find out more about the route and a breakdown of each day’s activities and run through our risk assessment and health & safety policy and protocol.
With all your questions answered, it’s time to meet your bike! Once you’ve been assigned and fitted with your bicycle, you’ll have an opportunity to test ride your bike on a short trip around the quieter areas of the city.
After another fabulous buffet lunch, those who wish to, can take a cable car up a nearby mountain. Enjoy the cooler air, walk among the trees, see Hindu monuments and marvel at spectacular views of the coastline from one side and the city from the other. Stay to watch the sun set before heading down for dinner and cold Indian beer before heading to bed ahead of your first day on two wheels.
Day 3 - VISAKHAPATNAM - NARSIPATNAM Approx 80 km cycling and visit to FRANK Water’s Local Partner - VJNNS.
After an early breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be driven to the outskirts of the city where you’ll start the journey of a lifetime. It’s time to take to your bike and experience the full force of Indian daily life. The traffic is quieter here but the smells, heat, sounds, colours and sights are just as intense. Cows in the middle of the road soon become commonplace. As you leave the busier roads behind, the air becomes fresher, the scenery changes from cityscapes to farmland with animals grazing and hills in the distance. You’ll break a few times throughout the morning to take photos, refill our water bottles, eat something and rest your legs in the shade.
Whilst it’s a long stretch, the terrain is mostly flat and you’ll reach Narsipatnam in time for a late lunch at the Sri Krishna Palace hotel, cooked by the team chef. After a much needed shower and a short rest, you’ll head to the offices of VJNNS (FRANK Water’s NGO partner) just around the corner from the hotel. Here, you’ll be welcomed warmly with a guided tour of the offices and a chance to meet and talk to the team including those field staff that work directly with communities. You’ll see photos and have the chance to ask questions about the work. Then it’s back to the hotel for dinner cooked by the chef and an early night ahead of a big day tomorrow.
Day 4 - NARSIPATNAM - LAMBASINGI –55km cycling and visit to a FRANK Water Village SK Banda
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll cycle away from Narsipatnam, leaving the town behind. Suddenly, you find ourselves in truly rural India. After a short flat stretch, break for a drink and rest before starting the 15km climb towards Lambasingi. This is where your training comes into play. It’s tough but the scenery more than makes up for any discomfort. Monkeys with their babies watch from the side of the road and birds and butterflies are everywhere. The air is cooler and fresher and the temperature becomes more comfortable. The views are some of the most beautiful. What little traffic there is alerts you to their presence with a honk of the horn. After celebrating at the top of the climb, you’ll make your way to our simple, clean, comfortable hotel for a well-deserved shower, lunch and a quick rest before heading to the nearby village of Seekai Banda – a community that has access to safe water thanks to support from FRANK Water. We’ll be welcomed with garlands, music, dancing and rituals of hand and feet washing before sitting together to hear staff from VJNNS talk about everything the community has achieved. You’ll hear how life has changed and see the water source and the standposts. It’s a joyous, celebratory occasion for you as visitors and for the community. After a physically and emotionally tiring day, head back to the hotel for dinner and a chance to reflect around the bonfire.
Day 5 - LAMBASINGI - PADERU Approx 70 km cycling
You’ll wake early in time to see the early mists that surround Lambasingi every morning. After a good breakfast, you’ll start the day - cycling towards Paderu. The terrain is mostly flat (with a few steep kilometres) - and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and marvel at the stunning surroundings. You’ll break at beautiful Kothapalli Falls for a rest, snack and photo opportunity. You’ll arrive at the Hotel - the Sai Lodge that afternoon in time for a shower and rest before dinner.
Day 6 - PADERU - ARAKU VALLEY Approx 45 km cycling and visit to a FRANK Water village Antriguda
After breakfast, you’ll head off towards the Araku valley - one of Andhra Pradesh’s most famous hill stations, renowned for its beauty and biodiversity. Inhabited by different indigenous tribes, the Araku Valley is surrounded by thick forest. WIth mostly gentle up and downhills to contend with, you’ll appreciate a break at the Chaparai Falls where you’ll stop for a late morning snack and an opportunity to enjoy the view. You’ll then head for Antriguda village, arriving at around lunchtime. You’ll spend a couple of hours in Antriguda meeting people from the village, understanding more about their lives, both before and after securing safe water. Then it’s back on the bike to the simple Haritha Mayuri hotel for the night.
Day 7 - ARAKU VALLEY - TYDA Approx 60 km cycling
After another early start, you’ll begin our journey towards Tyda with a detour to the historic Borra Caves. Considered among the largest and deepest caves in India, the Borra Caves display incredible limestone formations. After a tour, you’ll have lunch in the shade before continuing your journey towards the Mountain View Resort - your hotel for the night. You’ll reach the hotel in time to watch the sun set with time to rest and recuperate before dinner together.
Day 8 - TYDA - VISAKHAPATNAM Approx 95 km cycling
The last day of cycling - and the final push. After breakfast, you’ll start the final leg of the journey towards VIzag. As you drop down to sea level, the air becomes warmer and the scenery starts to change to include 30km of coastline, cycling alongside the beach. As you approach the city, you’ll feel as though you’ve seen and experienced enough to last a lifetime. Landmarks start to appear as the relief and exultation builds. As you cross the finish line, the sense of achievement and camaraderie is difficult to articulate. You’ll reach the 5-star hotel that afternoon. After a shower and an opportunity to relax and reflect on everything you’ve seen and experienced over the last eight days, it’s time to assemble for a celebration dinner and drinks and a chance bid farewell to the wider support team.
Day 9 - FREE DAY
A day to explore Vizag, experience the local culture and see the sights. Visit temples, go shopping for souvenirs, explore the famous submarine museum or have a relaxing spa treatment at the hotel. In the evening enjoy a final dinner with your team mates at the hotel.
We leave the hotel for the airport to get our return flight to Mumbai/Delhi and connecting flight to the UK. Subject to flight times, you’ll arrive in the UK that evening or early the following morning.
N.B This Itinerary maybe subject to change