Travel Portals Hit the Ground Running

Bengaluru is called the city of start-ups for good reason. Seema Prasad talks to some adventure junkies who have clubbed their passion with their skills to create portals to thrilling getaways

Published: 19th September 2015 05:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2015 05:15 AM   |  A+A-

NOMADLY.IN

Mohit Prakash and his friends go on around 12 trips a year. But the extensive planning every trip calls for — from the choice of hotel to fun activities — is time-consuming and tiring. “To access information in one go, we founded nomadly.in. We suggest options based on user requirements and preferences,” Mohit said.

Mohit and Sharath Ramesh, who were roommates at NIT Surathkal, launched Nomadfly along with their friend Rohan Prabhu in July. They aim to give every user a unique and personalised experience, unlike most popular portals that sell the same package to everyone.

While working with a telecom company in the city, Mohit made full use of his free time during weekends. He planned vacations for groups, big and small, and armed with the experience, decided to launch Nomadly. Sharath is in charge of sales and business development.

Six months of research went into the project that has the financial backing of Angel Funding and Nuventures. Mohit said the team is now working on offbeat destinations like B R Hills, Tranquebar and Valparai.

UNVENTURED

Gurudeep Ramakrishna had just completed two cycling tours in Manali, and Tejaswani Gopalaswami had just returned from an adventure in Bhutan. When the two buddies met, they decided to combine their love for travel and Unventured was born.

“I have a lot of school friends who share my love for culture and travel. We try to have authentic experiences and stay away from hotels. Staying in monasteries, eating from vendors and experiencing the culture slowly is how I have learned to see the world,” Tejaswani said.

Unventured, founded in 2014, incorporates this approach into the three city cycling tours it offers. It has a customer base of over 200 people. The church trail covers the city’s colonial architecture and ends with an evangelical feast. The temple trail covers Kempegowda’s Bengaluru and includes a stopover at a farmhouse. Nature lovers can opt for the trip to Nandi Hills, which includes a visit to a silk weaving unit.

“If a customer chooses to explore something not mentioned in the itinerary, he has the freedom to diverge from the route,” Tejaswani said.

BEING IN THE GHATS

Franklin Benjamin (34) used to freelance as a tour guide while working with Samsung and Redington. Three years ago, he quit his day job to pursue his passion. Armed with years of experience driving through the Ghats, he began a travel company called ‘Being in the Ghats’ three years ago.

“I observed that my colleagues from the corporate world

fancied weekend getaways. They always chose the Ghats,” he said. His company offers customised travel packages to places close to Bengaluru, like Chikkamagaluru, Wayanad, Gokarna, Kodagu and Sakleshpur.

Being in the Ghats offers users resort and homestay booking, personalised transport and sightseeing options.

MOTOURS

Hubert Augustine worked as a techie for 18 years, but he looks back at this period as the time he traversed the country on his bike. It was also a time he found little guidance on his way.

He wanted to make a difference and started Motours two years ago. So far, he has arranged five biker trips to the Himalayas. “Based on their interests, people are put together in groups. But solo riders only come to me for information and don’t go beyond 300 km,“ he said.

While on the road, Hubert often found himself without a back-up plan. He wanted to fix that

with Motours. “Behind the bikers, there will be a back-up vehicle with first aid and supplies. Mechanics, photographers, supervisors, guides and even cooks are provided on the way. The guide or the mechanic sometimes takes over if one of the riders get tired,” he said.

Even at 50, Hubert prefers bikes to four-wheelers. “A majority of our riders are Bullet owners. But we encourage all riders equally,” he said.

GRAVITY VENTURES

Varshit Jain, Manvendra Kikkeri and Kishore N became friends while working as rock climbing instructors at Kanteerava Stadium. They shared a love for adventure and went on many expeditions. Their experience in coaching inspired them to start a tourism portal on camping and adventure sports.

Kishore trains national climbers and Varshit is a freelance educator for children and corporates. Kikkeri is interning with Movenpick Hotel and Spa and studied hotel management in Switzerland. All of them are in their twenties.

Gravity Ventures was launched three months ago and has conducted 20 tours so far. “We take groups to the location, provide them with tents and maps, teach them basic navigation and let them experience the wilderness on their own,” Varshit said. Skandagiri, Savandurga, Makalidurga and Chunchi Falls are some of the locations they offer tours to.

As part of their extension plans, they are now offering packages that include surfing, rafting, rappelling and jummering. “We primarily cater to students, those who have the endurance to handle tough sports. So far, we've had one group of 40-something-year-olds,” he said.

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