We explore the states visited on the Malabar Rampage: Kerala, Karnataka, Goa.
The Malabar Rampage Rickshaw Challenge begins on the 8th of April, setting off from Trivandrum, in the very South of India, and teams will travel all the way to Panaji, capital of Goa, 1000km North. It’s sure to be a crazy week, packed with adventure, new experiences, and perfect weather. Participants will race through three states — Kerala, Karnataka, and Goa — each blessed with historic cities and scenic beauty. They all have their own individual charms, though, so let’s take a more detailed look at the states visited on the Malabar Rampage.
Kerala is known as “God’s Own Country”, an entirely understandable notion to anyone who has visited this narrow slice of South Indian Coast. Nowhere better exemplifies the peace and tranquility of Southern India, a world away from the mega-cities further north. With almost 600km of coastline, there are beaches of every variety. However, it is slightly inland where you can find Kerala’s true gems. The state’s famous backwaters, centered around Alappuzha (the “Venice of the East“), are a vast network of interlinked canals, lined with palm trees and houseboats.
Further inland you’ll find the glorious Western ghats, a peaceful mountain range covered with green plantations, and home to some of the world’s most vibrant biodiversity. Kerala is not just notable for nature, though. It’s also rich with history, particularly due to its long tradition of trading spices. Many visiting cultures made their mark on this state, and their presence remains. In Kochi, you can still see ancient Chinese fishing nets, pictured above, and meet the oldest Jewish community in India.
Of the three states visited on the Malabar Rampage, Karnataka is by far the largest. On this rickshaw challenge we stay by the coast, but the state extends hundreds of kilometers inland, covering much of Southern India. Within its vast area, you’ll find the ancient ruins of Hampi, once the second largest city on earth, and Mysuru (known as Mysore), with its glorious palaces and rich history. Karnataka is also a paradise for nature lovers: its rolling hills are covered in fertile soil, while its jungles and national parks are filled with exotic animals.
The cities of Karnataka showcase a mixture of modern and traditional. Mangalore and Bangalore are thriving hubs of industry and business, progressive and cosmopolitan, where you can find fast-paced living and contemporary fine dining. However, the state’s ancient ruins and religious monuments maintain a link to the past. It’s impossible not to be wowed by the gigantic statue of Shiva at Murudeshwara, viewed from the adjoining temple’s towering gopuram, to which pilgrims flock.
Despite being the smallest of the states visited on the Malabar Rampage, the Union territory of Goa has everything. Its famously pristine beaches cover virtually every inch of the state’s coastline: from hidden coves to packed resorts, there’s a spot of golden sand for everyone, from hippies to 5-star-hotel lovers, whether you want an all-night party or a long day’s tan. However, there’s much more to Goa than seaside paradise. For a start, the cuisine rivals that of any state in India: Hindu, Islamic, and Portuguese influences combine to create all sorts of exotic dishes, featuring fiery spices and freshly-caught seafood.
The Portuguese also left Goa with unique and atmospheric historic heritage. The old quarter of the capital Panaji, with cobbled streets and coloured buildings, is like nowhere else on the sub-continent. Baroque architecture and imposing white churches are an vivid reminder of colonial times. If you ever tire of beaches and historic buildings, head inland to Goa’s lush countryside.