Also, the cause of their travel really moved us. Coined “Hopes in a Caravan”, the first season of their caravan travel was a phenomenal success. Travelled around 10,000 km across 9 states, they visited orphanages and old-age homes. No doubt the duo has passion for travelling. Moreover, they found a way to bring about a change in others’ lives all through their journey.
The fruitful collaboration
For this mission, Trippy Wheels collaborated with ProjectOneLife and Share A Book India Association (SABIA) to travel across Karnataka volunteering to do a book collection drive throughout our journey.
We all were travel enthusiasts. We all had our own checklist of places to visit and explore. We had to comb through the lengths and breadths of the Karnataka map to accommodate everybody’s requests but then finally alternative routes were chosen and we were ascertained that we would have a great time!
Two days in Tamil Nadu
A team of 5 set out on a trip to Denkanikottai and Yelagiri in Tamil Nadu, visited schools and gathered energy and enthusiasm from those lovely kids to carry out the book collection drive. We spent two days playing, painting, eating and laughing with over 300 kids. They filled us to the brim with so much love and happiness and inturn inspired us to take the long journey with energy and compassion.
Ayudha Puja: A special day to thank the tools that shape up our lives.
We decided to unwind and enjoy Ayudha Puja and continue our journey the next day. On the day of the puja, we had our colleagues, friends and family members accompany us and offered our prayers to God to keep negative energy at bay and fill our caravans with positivity and auspicious aura. We offered to God a pumpkin, a few coconuts and many lemons. We then savoured delicious sweets to end the day with smiles and luck. Our caravans seemed to be renewed. And more importantly, we were.
Through the Ghats & the Hearts
It was finally time to set out on our epic journey to explore and experience Karnataka. Summer of Love, our caravan, being one of my favourites, I was looking forward to the drive through the expansive roads and challenging yet exciting terrains of this beautiful land. We got ready in the early morning, fuelled up and began the mission.
Deepanshu (The Thinker), Abhimanyu (The Charmer), Sagar (The Boss) and myself (The Pillar) – a team of 4 was to reach Sakleshpur basecamp by the end of the day. And yes, we decided to name ourselves. 🙂
VanLife addicts that we are, it was quite natural to deviate from our plan and take a little detour. We ended up driving to Shettihalli Church near Hassan. The church was submerged in water and the view from the bridge was simply breath-taking. As cameras were basking in the beauty of the place, I drove around to offer them better angles and perfect shots.
The drive to Sakleshpur from ShettiHalli Church via a new route was exciting. Our friend Abhi spotted and recognized Summer of Love, gave a warm hug and wished us. Kamal, our local guide in Sakleshpur was eagerly waiting to welcome us. Sipped our first cup of Malnad coffee and did a bit of shopping for dinner that night and headed for our basecamp. Completely off-road and nestled in the middle of nowhere on a hill-top, this was my second home. Also, driving being one of my passions, challenging terrain and weather conditions were a blessing in disguise.
Driving up the muddy roads in Summer of Love with the headlights eating into the pitch darkness was an unforgettable experience. When we reached our basecamp, I felt accomplished having reached there without tumbling down like Jack & Jill.
We set up our kitchen and cooked some tender chicken curry and rice. Gobbled down a bottle of Old Monk that perfectly complemented the chilly winds on the hilltop. Soothing music and super-duper location made this first camping night of ours a perfect one. We shared with one another interesting stories, danced together and broke the ice under the open sky!
The next day we visited some beautiful places around our basecamp. Took a dip in a freshwater pond and ate hot masala Maggi before heading to our next destination – Mangalore. Mangalore was serious business. We had our first book collection drive event the next day and arrangements were already made at The Good Galette Cafe. We spent the night in this beach facing holiday home of a friend. The place is called The Sanctum, brought to life by Dr Akhtar, it looked like a piece of art that has taken the shape of an abode. A dentist by profession and a true artist by blood, you could feel the vibes of his creativity here. The attention to little details across his house was ever inspiring! This magnificent house was sitting quietly by one of the most serene beaches that I have seen in India.
Book collection drive at The Good Galette Cafe was a success! Here we spent half of the day in the humid sun talking to people about SABIA but the genius Mangaloreans already knew about it. The food at The Good Galette Cafe would remain as one of the most sumptuous and exorbitant meals of our journey.
Detour for Love
From Mangalore, our plan was to head out to Gokarna straight away but we were invited by one of the Trippy Wheels’ followers, Akshay to Moodabidri and couldn’t say no to his affection. It was a short but sweet detour. We did a tour of the Jain temple – Saavira Kambada Basadi, a lake for sunset and reached Akshay’s friend’s resort called The Estate Resort. They hosted us in this beautiful resort to stay for a night. We made sure our host would take the initiative of book collection for SABIA and headed towards Gokarna.
Beach Beach Beach!
Delhi boys were eagerly waiting to see the beach. Abhimanyu being a beach virgin was jumping up and down. The drive from Moodabidri to Gokarna was amazing! This road trip took longer than expected as stunningly scenic views turned up every now and then on our way. We pulled over pretty frequently to capture drone shots, pictures, video shots and of course click some selfies.
After all the paparazzi shots and some yummy Udupi style food in our tummies, we reached our basecamp in Gokarna – Hostel LaVie just in time for a mesmerising sunset. Hostel LaVie is a youth hostel on a cliff overlooking the Gokarna beach. We couldn’t have asked for more. Beachside food was ordered and we ate while watching the sun gradually turning into an orange ball, bleeding rich amber all over the horizon and immersed into the Arabian Sea. I would not say much about it as we have beautiful pictures captured and they will hopefully teleport you to the place.
All we did in Gokarna was, hunting for shooting spots, capturing sunrises and sunsets, letting the waves sway us, drinking beers, eating kilos of seafood and enjoying the cool sea breeze in the nights. A million stars poured soothing light on us. It seemed the world around us got stuck in one wonderful moment that lingered forever. With cool breeze fondly caressing us, it was sheer ecstasy and we just blissed out.After 10 days of driving, I could actually relax in Gokarna while the creative heads ran around trying to get the perfect pictures. I felt lucky!
With a million stars pouring on us soothing light that put us on a trance and time came to a standstill, the world around us got stuck in a time loop with one single wonderful moment lingered forever.
After Gokarna we headed towards Dharwad, my father’s hometown. I was going to meet my relatives after a long long time. We went straight to my aunt’s place where typical North Karnataka vegetarian food was waiting for us with warm smiles. Vathsala had reached Dharwad and was waiting for our arrival. Finally, we were five.
The same evening, we had a big event organized in Hubballi for the book collection drive. First, we went to Able Designs, an automotive interior building company at Hubballi. We met the designing team and building team and visited their workshop. Hopefully, we would be working with this bunch of artistic intellectuals soon!
From there we made a pit stop at a leather factory to collect over 200+ travel based magazines and a quick interview with Indian Express. We then reached Vibrant India where around 80 odd people were waiting to see our caravan and meet myself and Vathsala. We shared our story of building Trippy Wheels as two women while the audience had curious questions to ask. The best part was that we collected over 700+ books that night. It was worth all the hard work.
We did a day trip to Dandeli with the family. Felt happy and content to see the smiles on my nieces’ faces as they travelled in Summer Of Love.
Then, we drove back to Bangalore. Hampi although on our route, we had to skip it due to time restrictions. Hampi has been one destination which I have been missing every time. Watch out Hampi! I will find a way to reach you and fall deeply in love with you.
Until next time!
I am wonderstruck and have fallen for my country all over again!
It’s true what they say, ‘One state. Many Worlds’. Karnataka offered us so much during this trip.
Gorgeous landscapes, quirky wildlife, serene beaches and most of all, happy and humble people. Our caravan, Summer Of Love has been my most trusted companion and she has deepened my passion for driving multi-fold while we cruised together across the roads of this state.
Needless to say, The Deccan Voyage will stay vibrant in our memories forever.
Hoping for more trippin’ and learnin’ in the years to come!