Bicycle with Banyan
The Banyan team are constantly looking for experiences to enhance an itinerary and set their partners apart in the design of a clients' journey. Riding a bike is an ideal way to get closer to the action and maximise interactions with local people - there is always a friendly welcome or wave for cyclists.
I recently spent a month in India and took the opportunity to explore on 2 wheels as much as I could. Discovering the back lanes of Delhi on a bicycle is a must!
I spent a morning cycling around Mehrauli (South West Delhi), an area not many tourists visit and yet it is packed with historic monuments, mosques, tombs and gardens. My guide left his home in Calcutta when he was 11 years old and arrived at Delhi railway station homeless and friendless. He was one of the lucky ones and supported by the Salaam Baalak Trust has been able to have choices and now has a successful career as a photographer.
Nobody knows Delhi's streets better and as we explored he shared the story of his life. Other highlights were seeing the stunning 3-storied Lodi-era stepwell, Raja Ki Baolik and discovering a secret rose garden.
Learn about the spicy past of Fort Cochin cycling the narrow tangle of alleyways. In Fort Cochin (the ancient port and spice trading hub) an early morning bike ride with a local guide is a great way to get your bearings and avoid the crowds. We went through areas and streets that I would never have seen on my own. I loved cycling through all the different quarters – an old Jewish quarter with a synagogue, Portuguese churches, Hindu temples, the Dutch-built Mattancherry Palace, merchant houses and markets. Highlights were finding tucked away in a corner the quarter for the Dhobi or washer folk – a caste specialised in washing clothes who continue to toil as they have done for more than half a century. Also a visit to the fish market to see the day's catch and watch the auctioneers shout their deals while buyers negotiate for the best price
From the bustling fort city of Cochin to the serene backwaters. People tend to explore this area by boat but I hopped on a bike and cycled along the backwaters that skirt rice paddies, spice, coconut and rubber plantations. Top Tip: cool off with a refreshing coconut juice!
The idea is for clients to experience India by connecting to its history, people and culture. We understand it is often the little things that make the difference; booking accommodation is important but not complicated; however planning and tailoring your itinerary with full service, support, local knowledge and, most importantly, personal contact sets us apart.