Do you remember reading about a small colorful van with all the basic amenities that work as a house on wheels? Yes, I'm talking about the Caravan. We all have read about it and have seen how it has gained popularity over the years. Earlier it was mostly related to the Hippie culture wherein people are free spirited and tend to keep traveling.
Last year I got to know about the Trippy Wheels, a startup led by two young ladies in Bangalore who are trying to bring in the caravaning culture to India. Trippy Wheels is India's first affordable caravan rental company.
The Caravans have seating & sleeping facilities. The Caravan has cabins that have all the quirky decors to make you feel at home. You'll also get kitchen amenities, outdoor and indoor games, and tents. The whole idea of caravanning is awesome. Hire one and take it anywhere you want; for a night camp or for simply exploring the wilds or for a long vacation.
So I was on my way to the office when a radio advertisement introduced this trending concept of caravanning in Bangalore. I couldn't wait and convinced my cousins for a weekend trip to Sakleshpur.
Post COVID World
As we all know the whole idea of traveling will change drastically in the post COVID world. People will anyway travel but concepts like Caravan will gain a lot of popularity as it will help the people to maintain social distancing while traveling. Here's how you plan your weekend getaway without worries when the world opens up.
Caravan On Rent
There are 2 types of Caravans available with seating/sleeping capacity of 5 & 12 people. The rent for five-seater Caravan is Rs 4999 per day and twelve-seater is Rs. 8999 INR per day. Please note that this rent doesn't include the fuel charges which of course depends on the distance you'll be covering. But at the same time Caravan works as your conveyance + Airbnb. Click here to know more about the booking process. You can avail discounts if you're booking the caravan for a longer period of time or during the weekdays.
The payment process is equally hassle-free, you can make the payment through the official website of Trippy Wheels or get in touch with the executives at Trippy Wheels directly and they would send the payment links. Once payment is done you will be provided with all the details.
Also, many of you must be wondering if the Caravan has the restroom facility; it doesn’t have the facility. Don’t Worry, Trippy Wheels has tie-ups with many homestays across the country which means you will get access to restrooms of the homestays. Once you inform the Trippy Wheels about your destination they will share the location of corresponding homestay.
Sakleshpur is a hill station and headquarters of Sakleshpur taluk in Hassan district, Karnataka. I have been to this place thrice, but I don't mind visiting again. It's quaint little town where you'll find only the bike riders or the backpackers. There are plenty of beautiful places to see in & around the town. Recently, a lot of homestays and resorts have opened up here, offering nature retreat and rejuvenation. This town is hardly been touched by tourists' crowd. It's pure bliss of western ghats and the dense forests with an uncharted trail of roads.
Caravanning & Night Camping
We hired the Caravan with seating and sleeping facility for five people. The Caravan was spacious and well maintained. When we reached Saklehshpur we halted at Canopy Green Homestay which has a partnership with Trippy wheels. It provided us space for camping and parking our Carvana.
Every time I visit Sakleshpur I try to explore new places, there is so much to see around this town.
We had decided to leave Bangalore at 10 in the night so that we reach the homestay in Sakleshpur by 1 AM. The plan was to spend a night under the sky. Nothing can beat the feeling of stargazing.
After having a good sleep under the sky we were ready to hit the road in the morning. We prepared breakfast by ourselves; we had carried food ingredients that can be cooked using basic materials available in the Caravan.
Hunt for the Hidden Gems
The owner of the homestay helped us to plan our day. We chose off-beat places on the maps which we could cover in a day's time. Make sure that you download the map for Sakleshpur before heading out as there will be no network coverage in most of the places.
Bisle Ghat View Point
Bisle Ghat is one of the viewpoints where you can enjoy gazing at the western ghat ranges. Every corner will give you an absolutely breathtaking view. It is a bit far off from the center of Sakleshpur but the view is worth the time. The roads to reach Bisle Ghat are so heavenly and you won't regret the fuel burnt to reach this place.
Long trees, the green lush forest, and absolute peace; as only a few are able to reach this place, the forest has retained its true nature.
This 8 pointed star-shaped fort is one of the only few popular places in Sakleshpur. You can visit Manjarabad fort on your way back to Bangalore as it lies between Sakleshpur and Bangalore.
After going through such quiet trails of hills and jungle, you will see a sudden rush of people here at Manjarabad fort. The fort was built in the year 1792 by Tipu Sultan. The fort has sloping walls. It is said that the fort is “the most complete Vaubanesque star-shaped fort in India”. You can watch the picturesque hills from the top of the Fort. During monsoon, it is mostly covered under the fog but on clear days, the Arabain Sea can be seen from here, unfortunately it has always been raining every time I come to Sakleshpur.
Sakleshpur has plenty of waterfalls and most of them are located in far off isolated places. Mooknamane is one such waterfall. The vehicles cannot go ahead after a certain point. During Rainfall it is advisable to park the vehicle near the main road and then walk the rest of the muddy path.
And with no direction boards, it is a real adventure to search the waterfall. We followed the sound of water to reach this beautiful waterfall. Although the waterfall was not brimming but had enough water which was rushing through the rocks. With only two or three people at the waterfall, it was so quiet and one can hear only the flow of water and blowing breeze.
Kaginere View Point
This place is basically a huge stretch of a lush green plateau with numerous hills where you can hike or sit back to relax. The sound of nature in the surroundings is utterly enchanting and views from the hill-top are breathtaking. If you have time, I would recommend watching the sunset from here. We climbed on top of a hill and then sat in silence to enjoy the moment of tranquility. Everything was so surreal, the green trees, soft breeze, feeble sun rays & clouds changing shape every minute with the sun disappearing behind them.
After descending when we reached back to our Caravan, we were already exhausted and hungry. Being far away from the main town this place had no options for food. And here our caravan came to the rescue; we collected some raw ingredients from the locals and cooked our own food.
Best supper ever!!!
The Green Route Trek
This trek was very popular among the trekkers but unfortunately, it has been made illegal to trek here now. If you got caught trekking, a case will be registered against you and you will have to spend a night or two in the prison. Despite being made illegal this trek definitely deserved to be mentioned here. It is actually that worthy.
This trek starts at 3800 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Western Ghats lush greenery, the forests here are more mysterious than the Amazon. On the way, you'll come across numerous waterfalls accompanied by flora and fauna, 57 tunnels and 109 bridges with varying heights. The green route trek (52 kilometers total) is every trekker's dream.
Some of the people still dare to trek here but it's not safe at all. If you're a trekking junkie then try to find a local guide to help you out. But it is advisable to avoid trekking here; people have actually lost their lives on this trek.
Apart from these places, there are Hosahalli Gudds viewpoint, Magajhalli Waterfalls, Patla Batta, Hetthur Deene viewpoint and Kadumane Tea Estate where you go and enjoy the serenity. Also, you will find hundreds of places where you can hop down and click some pictures of the breathtaking picturesque landscape. Clouds play a vital part in enhancing beauty as they keep on chasing the sun.
Quick Tips if you're planning to go take Caravan to Sakleshpur
Even though Sakleshpur is very beautiful land tourism has not been promoted here. This means there will be no cafes or restaurants. You will hardly find any good shops so just make sure to keep all the basic things packed in your bags. The poor phone network is another big issue. There would be limited access to the internet as well. Please download offline Google Maps for Sakleshpur before the trip. It's better to have the map for the entire town so that you know the way out in case you're lost.
When you drive around Sakleshpur you will hardly find any crowd. Language is also a constraint, most of the direction boards are in Kannada. The moment you find any human population along the way try to confirm the directions with them. You must carry a sweatshirt and raincoat; the weather in Sakleshpur keeps on changing. If you have planned for camping, please keep mosquitoes repellent, torch, and remedy to get rid of leeches.
Leave all the excuses behind and go-ahead to explore the unexplored.