Can I do treks too?
More than a strong body, one needs a strong mind to finish treks (or anything for that matter)! Just dont give up if u get tired in the first 100m as it is quite normal. Keep going at a regular pace with short breaks only when really needed. The only reason one cannot finish a trek is when he/she gives up trying! This is not to say that physical fitness is not important. If you feel that you found it difficult in the last trek, it may be time to start jogging / workout to improve stamina or reduce excess weight. But, if you are postponing your trek after you get fit, it may not be a good idea! Also, always plan to have enough water at your disposal and may be some snacks / drinks like chocolate, dates, glucose or milk. They can help a lot in between a tiring trek. Last, but not the least, reduce the weight you are carrying. You may not need that extra pair of clothes or that thick blanket or that extra lens at top of a hill! For every item, getting packed, ask yourself if its worth carrying it all the way up?
Can I go for long drives too?
Ofcourse, but make sure that you dont get carried away with too much of adrenalin! Start slow! First, get a feel of long drives by going for shorter daytime drives on the highway. Respect others on the highway and give way to faster vehicles. Follow highway rules like lane-driving, switching off high beam for other vehicles in the night ... etc. Before attempting drives in the night, make sure you have good experience driving in the highway during day time. Driving overnight may be too risky unless you had been driving in the highways for years.
Is it safe to go for a road trip with Family? How about accomodation?
It should not be difficult to get family accomodation in most of the towns en route. Make sure you take the night halt at a district head quarters or atleast a taluk head quarters or major tourist centres. Most of the district head quarters should have decent accomodation for family and you should even be able to book in advance. When you are travelling with family, it'll be better to avoid night driving, unless you are a very expert driver and comfortable driving in the night. Also, try to get a TTK state road atlas (it is available in major bookstores including Landmark in Forum) for more detailed information. You would get to know most of the important towns en route and the book format is really useful when driving.
Can I come with you for a trek?
My plans these days are very adhoc and planned with a very short notice. Also, I prefer to do treks with very small groups (less than 6 people) of people I know very well personally - sometimes alone. There are many groups who organize treks in and around western ghats - like the Bangalore Ascenders, Summiters or Exotic Expeditions. You could contact them for organized treks. Please avoid groups which take hoards of people to the forests as it is too disruptive.
Can I use your images for an article / magazine?
I am glad you asked and does not have issues with people using my images after taking permissions and giving credits (or reference to my site) whichever is applicable. If you are using it for a commercial purpose, I would like to be compensated.
Why do you put a copyright symbol in some of your images?
Some people dont have any qualms in stealing pictures from others - this seems to be the only way.
How do I create a web site?
Making a webpage is very easy these days ... u can probably start with tripod.lycos.com. just take a free account there and use the "Site Builder" tool to make your web page. Thats what I did first. Later, when you feel you dont want ads in ur site ... etc and need more space, you can upgrade to paid service or migrate to some other site. There are lots of sites which offers domain names ... etc with very good bandwidth Alternatively, just go to blogger.com, login using your google ID and start blogging.
How do I make my site visible via Google?
To start with, I guess you should build enough content, follow other blogs with similar topics and try to get some incoming links. Once you have good / matured content and some incoming links google will automatically start seeing ur pages.
Can you suggest some good places in kerala?
I was planning to make a page for Kerala, but that seems to be taking too long. For now, this page @irisholidays.com looks good.
Are you based out of Bangalore?
I work in Bangalore from July 2000 onwards and most of my trip logs start from Bangalore. But, I am born and brough up in Kozhikode, Kerala. If you still want to know more, try the About Me page.
Whats your opinion on Maruti Versa?
Its a wonderful car and I have used it for many long drives including the ones to Delhi and Mumbai. Its also gone through a lot of difficult terrains, where most vehicles will find it difficult - Porthimund near Ooty, Satodi / Magod / Unchalli near Hubli, Om / Kudle near Gokarna ... and a lot more. Very good ground clearance, huge available space, good pickup and average mileage makes it a very good utility vehicle. Even after more than 1L kms, the vehicle is still good for a long drive. I have not seen the newer version of Versa (Eeco) and cannot say anything about it. The only reason why I may not recommend Versa is because its an older model. The only improvement I would have liked is to cut down the headroom by a bit and make the tyres a bit wider. Do have a look at Innova or Xylo, if you are looking for similar vechicles.
Do you have information about Agumbe / Narasimha Parvatha?
During my trek to Narasimha Parvatha in Feb 2013, we were hosted at Dodda Mane in Agumbe and guide Thimmappa's house in Malandur. Try contacting Kasturi Akka at +91 8181 233075 (or her son-in-law at +91 9448814187) for accomodation at Dodda Mane. Thimmappa is reachable at +91 9483496142. Another guide I have heard about is Venkatesh, who may be reached at +91 9480329458 or +91 8277411618. Also, Vishwanath of Summiters conducts treks here. He can be reached at +91 9740360365.
Is trekking allowed in Kudremukh?
When I visited in November 2007, trekking was allowed after taking permission from Kudremukh Forest office, who may be reached at +91 8263 255998. I had gone back to Kudremukh NP for a Mullodi - Hiremaleguppi - Navooru trek in December, 2013 and trekking is allowed these days (no camping inside the NP limits). Alternately, you can call up Satish at Mullodi (+91-8263-249595, +91-9481074530, +91-8722847688), who can help with permission, accomodation and guide. Another contact is Rajappa (Mullodi guest house): +91-8263-249333, +91-9481179008, +91-7353963826
Do we need permissions to trek in Mukurthi?
Mukurthi is one of the toughest place to get trekking permissions. You would ideally need to book accomodation in the fishing hut or Pandiar within the sanctuary limits and the place is usually booked much in advance. Try talking to Ooty Asst Conservator Of Forest: +91 423 244 3716, Forest Range Officer: +91 423 245 0400, Dist Forest Officer: +91 423 244 3932, Dist Forest Officer (south): +91 423 2444083, Dist Forest Officer (north): +91 423 244 3968 or Wild life Warden: +91 423 2444098.
Where can I stay in Brahmagiri?
For Iruppu - Brahmagiri trek, you can stay at a guest house in Narimalai, half way up Brahmagiri. Alternatively, there is an IB at Srimangala. Contact Forest Range Office, Srimangala: +91 9448813835 or +91 8274 246693. If you are planning to do Thirunelli - Brahmagiri trek, try contacting Forest Range Office, Thirunelli: +91 4935 210377
Any contacts for trekking in Vellarimala hills?
The guide, Josettan, who took me for treks to Vellarimala and Vavul Mala may be reached at +91 9446890833. I would recommend somebody in the group knowing Malayalam to have an easy conversation.
How do I get permission for Chembra trek?
Kerala Forest Department takes people for treks from the Chembra estate to one of the prominent peak in the hill range. You dont need any advanced permissions to go there. Stop by at the Vana Samrakshana Samithi office on the way from Meppadi to Chembra estates and get the permissions. They will also provide a guide. Trekking permission is not available to any other peaks near Meppadi. For details, contact Meppadi Forest Range Office: +91 4936 282001, Kalpetta Forest Range Office: +91 4936 202623 or DFO Wayanad South: +91 4936 203428
Do you have any contacts for Bhattara Mane en route Kumaraparvatha?
Try +91 9448647947 or +91 8257 281501. If you are a larger group, its always better to call in advance.
How far is Velankanni from Bangalore?
Velankanni is about 15 kms from Nagapattinam. If we take a route via National Highways, i.e., Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Thiruvannamalai - Gingee - Tindivanam - Karaikkal - Nagore - Nagapattinam it is about 490kms. Otherwise, by using some short cuts and state roads, the distance is about 400kms. I am not sure abt the current state of the roads since its been a while since I went that side.
How do we go to Jog Falls and how far is it from Bangalore?
Jog Falls is abt 400kms from Bangalore. Easiest route to Jog Falls is via Shimoga / NH207, i.e., Bangalore - Tumkur - Shimoga - Sagar. Alternatively, there is a state highway via Hassan - Belur - Mudigere - Balehonnur - Koppa - Thirthahalli - Sagar, which is about 20kms short.
How do I reach Yercaud from Chennai?
I have travelled to Yercaud from Bangalore via Hosur, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Salem. At Salem, the Yercaud road goes to the left and soon becomes a ghat road. From Chennai, I guess Poonamallee - Sriperumbuthur - Kanchipuram - Vaniyambadi - Krishnagiri - Salem looks like the route to me
What is the best way to reach Karwar?
Is there any trains from Bangalore to Kemmanagundi?
There are train servives from Bangalore to Lingadahalli or Birur. I suppose, Kemmanagundi is about half an hour journey from there. You may have to hire a jeep / auto or catch a bus from there on.
How far is Bhimeshwari from Muthathi? Is there any restaurants in these places?
Muthathi is about 8kms from Bheemeshwari. There are not many restaurants in this area. You may find some small shops which sells snacks.
What are the nice places in Bangalore - Kozhikode route?
There are many places in Bangalore - Kozhikode route, if u have days and is ready to take detours. I will list those which are near the highway:
How do I reach Kodaikanal & Munnar?
Kodaikanal may be reached via Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Namakkal - Karur - Dindigul and Genguvarpatti. Even though, there are two Kodai - Munnar roads in paper, its not open to traffic. There is a trek trail though which connects Kodai to Munnar. Shortest route to Munnar from Bangalore is via Hosur - Krishnagiri - Salem - Perumanallur - Tirupur - Palladam - Udumalpet and Marayoor.
What is the best route from Bangalore to Kannur?
This is quite tricky as most of roads through the forest is either bad or closed in the night. The shortest route (and open in the night) is via Mysore road - Srirangapatna - Hunsur - Gonikoppal - Bittangala - Perambady - Koottupuzha - Iritti - Mattannur. The ghat road between Koottupuzha and Perambady was in a very bad condition, but is now redone and is a smooth ride in spite of heavily winding roads. The section between Perambady and Bittangala (bypassing Virajpet) is narrow. Just after Hunsur, once we take left towards Virajpet from Mysore - Madikeri road, the bad road starts and it continues almost till Perambady. It is better to avoid this stretch in the night. There are many alternatives, the safest may be via Mysore - Sulthan Bathery - Mananthavady - Koothuparamba. If you are planning to drive in the night, Mysore - Sulthan Bathery and Mysore - Mananthavady (via H D Kote / Bavali) are closed after 8pm and 6pm respectively. Even during daytime, H D Kote / Bavali road is in pathetic condition between Kabani and Bavali. The only other option is Mysore - Hunsur - Gonikoppal - Kutta - Mananthavady road, which has some bad patches.
Are there buses available to Gokarna? How much would it cost for a 2-way trip to Gokarna?
There are overnite Rajahamsa buses running to Gokarna and back. Another option is VRL transport. Cost shud be mainly transport (about 250 one way), food, taxi (we gave 350 to Kudle beach) and stay (beach shacks are available for about 100-200 per day, hotels in gokarna may be about 250+). Unless you spent a lot on food, you can make it for about 1K.
Do you have the contact details near Thadiyandamol?
During my two treks to Thadiyandamol, I stayed at Honey Valley. They also arrange for guides to Thadiyandamol. Their address is Honey Valley Home Stay Retreat, Yavakapady P.O, Kodagu - 571 212, Karnataka. Tel: +91-8272-238339, website: www.soans.com/honeyvalley.htm
How do I got to Yelagiri?
Yelagiri is a right turn (when you are coming from Bangalore side) near Vaniyambadi and about 20kms from there. Vaniyambadi is about midway between Bangalore and Chennai and about 30kms from Krishnagiri, if you take the Bangalore - Hosur - Krishnagiri - Vaniyambadi road
Where can I get the map to Ombattu Gudda?
You can buy the Ombattu Gudda map (#48, p/9 1:50,000 or #48 s/w and n/w, p/9 1:25,000) for about Rs. 100 (depending on the resolution), from the Survey of India office @ Sarjapur road, Madivala, Bangalore. It is located on the right side, just after St Johns road & the 100ft road junction.
Where can I get the map to Ombattu Gudda?
Is permissions required to go to Mullayanagiri?
I dont think any permissions are required. There is a temple at the top of Mullayanagiri and recently a jeep track has also come up almost till the foothills.
Is there anything I need to know while driving to Ooty from Bangalore?
There are two routes to reach Ooty from Bangalore, one via Masinagudi - Sigur ghat and the other one via Gudalur. The road is same till Theppakadu, soon after Tamil Nadu border. Gudalur route is more gradual and a comfortable / relaxed drive, unless you are running short of time. On the other hand, Sigur ghat is about 36 hair pin bends and a 1.5km ascend within a 14km distance - a must do for all biking / driving enthusiasts. Gudalur route is also scenic and u may want to check out that as well. So, I would recommend taking Sigur - Masinagudi route on the way up and Gudalur road on the way down. Also, I would suggest to cover Bandipur - Mudumalai stretch in day time.
Do you have any contacts for Kodachadri trek?
+91 8185 290183 is the phone number to the tea shop @ Valur, which is about an hours trek from Karakatta gate. Kodachadri is about 3hours trek from Valur. +91 9448503833 is the mobile # of Santhosh, son of the tea shop owner as well as a jeep driver in Kollur.
Do you have contact info for Amedikallu trek?
For both Amedikallu and Ettina Bhuja, one can contact Gopu Gokhale (+91 8251 269246), who can give you all required details and provide you with basic requirements, and / or Chennappa (+91 9379081785), the guide.
Do you have contact info at Meenmutty falls?
You can contact Thomas Chettan for Meenmutty. He may be reached at +91 9947598935 (mobile) or +91 9387103943 (home - reliance).
Could you help me plan the Banasura trek?
Banasura trek starts from Padinjarethara, from the Meenmutty waterfalls (this not the Meenmutty near Vaduvanchal) ticket counter, after Banasura dam entrance. Camping is not allowed in the night and hence, it makes sense to start the trek as early as possible, atleast by 8, if you are serious about going to the peak. Contact Sijo (Vana Samrakshana Samithi, Padinjarethara) @ +91 9961172912 or Jose (guide) @ +91 9446257114 for taking advanced permissions.
How can I do Kodai - Munnar trek?
Most of the guides from Kodai oversell and are overpriced as well. Entry in to the Kerala forests through the escape road connecting Kodaikanal and Munnar is prohibited - irrespective of what the guides promise you. What the guides usually do is to take people till Berijam / Konalar and then deviate towards Kavunji and then head back to Koviloor (near Top Station). Even this route is now being declared a reserved forest. I have done treks at Top Station and Meesapulimala with Rajan and found him reasonable - try contacting him @ +91 9843373409.
How do I get permission to do Agastyamala trek?
Agastyamala is open for trekking only in January - February time frame and somebody need to go to Thiruvananthapuram Wildlife Warden(Forest Complex, P T P Nagar, Vattiyoorkavu, Tvm - 695013, phone: +91 471 2360762) to get the permissions. An alternative is to contact Vishwanath (phone: +91 9740360365) of Summiters, who conducts treks to Agastyamala.