Monthly Archives for February 2016

Tips for a Successful Road Trip

Blog, Road Trips - GoroadTrip - February 27, 2016

Planning your perfect road trip can be an exhausting ordeal, but we’re here to help. We’ve talked a lot about planning an awesome vacation, but road trips—where you take a long drive and hit many stops on the way—present their own set of challenges. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you plan.

Car Documents: Make sure your car Registration, Insurance, Pollution Check are updated and safely tucked in your glove box. Have few photo copies just in case you may need. It is always a good idea to keep a notebook with important phone numbers and addresses in there as well.

Windshield Water Tank: Check the water level in your car’s Windshield Water Tank which is very important during all seasons.

Plan Your Route and Stops Before You Leave: You know your destination, but deciding on your route and stops can really depend on your travel style. You need to investigate the weather and road conditions before hand too. One route may look shorter on the map, but weather can turn that short route into a long and hazardous road

Bring a spare car key: It might sound like a no-brainer, but there are some people who have not been so wise.

Make Sure Your Ride is Ready: In the weeks leading up to your adventure, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in primo condition. This is important for you and your passengers safety, and a healthy vehicle won’t break down on you in the middle of nowhere.

Keep An Open Mind: While it’s extremely important to plan ahead for your road trip, keeping in an open mind will help you get the most out of this experience of a lifetime. Don’t get too caught up in the plan and be willing to adjust and adapt as you go along.

Carry cash for tolls: Toll roads can pop up in the most bizarre of places, and their fares might be higher than you expect. Stock your center console with rupees and paise.

Announce your whereabouts: Text someone — a friend or your parents — the name of the place you stay each night and which city you plan to reach by the next night. In the very rare event that anything sketchy happens, it’s good to have a public record of where you are.

Stay Entertained on the Road: Once you’re on the open road, you need something to keep you from getting bored. Boredom leads to feeling tired, and feeling tired leads to you endangering the whole travel party. Anything from music, to books on tape, to classic car games can help keep the boredom away. With iPods, streaming services, and satellite radio, your music will never dry up, but don’t forget about the power of a good mix CD. If you can, make a CD of music everyone likes enough that they can tolerate it for most of the trip.

Snacks, Snacks, And More Snacks: Snacks are a road trip must, and you should have the accessible at all times. Stock up before you start your drive. Hit up your local supermarket and pick up the ingredients to make some of these awesome & healthier snacks!

Avoid Night Drives: Though the traffic is less during night, we have few disadvantages too while driving at night. Poor visibility at night is the first and foremost reason. If the route is new, may miss important road signs & end up at an altogether different location. Chances of hitting pedestrians or vehicles which do not have proper indicators or reflectors. Too many lorries during the night time with dazzling lights. A breakdown during the night may lead to unnecessary troubles.

Take pictures: Road trips are prime fodder for beautiful scrapbooks and bulletin boards once you get home. Take beautiful pictures!

Things to Carry:

  • Spare Tyre along with a Tyre Jack & Reflective Triangle
  • Tyre Inflater & a Sealer
  • Car’s Manual
  • Car Repair Information
  • First Aid Kit
  • Torch Light / Flash Light
  • Multi Tool
  • Water bottles filled
  • Blanket
  • Paper Towels
  • Tissue Rolls
  • Umbrella
  • Shopping Bags
  • Pencil & Papers
  • USB Mobile Charger

How to change a Flat Tyre:

Follow these simple steps to fix the problem and be on your way in no time –

Find a safe spot to pull over. If you’re on the freeway, taking the next exit is the safest bet, even if you have to drive on a blown tyre. Otherwise, pull as far onto the shoulder as possible. Don’t park in the middle of a curve where approaching cars can’t see you. Also, choose a flat spot; jacking up your car on a slope can be a disaster. If you have a manual transmission, leave your car in gear. Be sure to set your parking brake!
Turn on your hazard lights. Get the jack, wrench, and spare tyre from the trunk(boot space) of the car and bring them over to the tyre that is flat. Use other tools or supplies, if needed.
Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts. You may need to remove the hubcap. Don’t remove the lug nuts at this point; simply loosen them by turning the wrench to the left (counter-clockwise). If the lug nuts are really tight, try placing the wrench on the nut and standing on the wrench arm to use your full weight on it.
Use the jack to lift the vehicle off the ground. Different car models may have different places to put the jack; consult your owner’s manual for specific locations. Once the jack is securely in the correct spot, jack up the car until the tyre is about 6 inches off the ground.
Remove the lug nuts and pull the tyre off the car. Make sure to place the lug nuts in a pile that won’t get scattered, and pull the tyre straight toward yourself to remove it from the wheel base.
Place the spare on the car. Line up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare, and push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it can’t go any farther.
Put on the lug nuts. Don’t put them on tightly, just make sure they’re on enough for the spare to stay on the car for a moment.
Lower the car back to the ground. Use the jack to bring the car back down to ground level. Remove the jack from underneath the car.
Make sure the lug nuts are tightened. With the car back on the ground, you can now tighten the lug nuts. Rather than tightening them one by one in order, start with one lug nut, tighten it about 50%, move to the opposite nut (across the circle) and tighten that one about the same amount. Keep tightening opposite lug nuts gradually in turn until each lug nut is as tight as it can be.
Put your flat tyre and tools back in your trunk (Boot Space). Make sure you don’t leave anything on the side of the road.

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Five Great Treks Around Chennai

Adventure Activities, Blog, Offbeat - GoroadTrip - February 16, 2016

Within 100 km of Chennai, hikers can choose many wonderful places to enjoy their favorite weekend.

1. Tada Falls

About 80 km from the hottest city. Chennai, Ubbalamadagu or Tada Falls in the Chittoor District (or Chittur), Andhra Pradesh, is a path along a stream that offers a refreshing break. The best time is from June to November for the monsoon, which adds a splash to the water and the surrounding jungle.
It is an easy route for cycling. The paths are easy and easy to reach. Get out of the base camp at the source of a bubbling stream.
The 10 km hike begins on a dry and muddy path. After about 2 km, the path becomes a rocky and rocky trail with rocks that require careful navigation. They pass small, beautiful and clean pools. You meet a Shiva temple, which is a landmark on the way. The area is green with beautiful birds that look the same and require a good deco.

2. Fort Gingee

Fort Gingee or Senji is one of the last strong survivors of Tamil Nadu. It is located in the district of Villupuram, about 160 km from Chennai. The Fort complex spans three main hills, Krishnagiri, Rajagiri and Chandrayandurg, with each hill having its own citadel.

The mighty and impregnable fort, called the Troy of the East by the British, was originally built in the 9th century AD by the Chola Dynasty. It was then rebuilt by the Kurumbar community, the shepherds of this region. Chatrapathi Shivaji, the emperor of the Maratha dynasty, conquered the fort as he moved south and then passed to the British.

The trekking path is roughly cut and the fixed steps go up to the fort. The climb is quite steep, but the breathtaking view of the landscape is worth it. Visit the cereal depot, the watchtower and the ancient temple. The best time for this hike is from November to February, the least sensual months of this state.

3. Pulicat Lake

Think of Rosa, think of flamingos and drive to Pulicat Lake and its 16 islands that attract many species of migratory birds from around the world. Irrukam is the most beautiful island of this region and the village can only be reached by boat. A passenger ferry is also located 8 km from Bimunivaripalem.

Flamingos arrive every year at Pulicat Lake for breeding in October and migrate in April of each year. The Flamingo Festival takes place in January. You can camp on Sandy Islands and go fishing!

4. Pichavaram

Pichavaram is the second largest mangrove forest in the world. Located near the city temple of Chidambaram, this unique ecotourism site in southern India has backwaters linked by the Vellar and Coleroon river system. Trekking offers plenty of opportunities for water sports, rowing, kayaking and canoeing.

Pichavaram is a 2800-acre archipelago with streams that meander through the root structures of mangrove forests. 177 species of 15 orders and 41 families were registered with residents, local migrants and real migratory birds. The best season lasts from September to April and increases from November to January.

5. Waterfalls of Perumedu, Yelagiri

The cool Hill Station of Yelagiri is a nice retreat from Chennai. About 220 km from Chennai, it is a trekker at an altitude of about 1050 m. The climb is through 14 hairpin bends bearing the name of a famous Tamil personage. Trekking in the lush green valleys, deep ravines, waterfalls and nature reserves makes Yelagiri great.

The breathtaking hike to the Perumadu Falls starts in Puthur, from where you cross a 3 km path through lush jungle areas and Perumadu Falls. From the summit, you can enjoy the beautiful view of the 40-foot waterfall that flows down the rocky side of the mountains. You can cool off in a magical spring water basin. Visit directly after the monsoon from November to February.

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Unraveling Hampi – Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

Blog, Destinations - GoroadTrip - February 5, 2016

There is a certain intangible quality to discovering Hampi which makes it an experience like none other. This UNESCO World Heritage Site quite easily could be one of the only places in the world where you can interact so intimately with archaeology, history and nature in raw form.

Being the erstwhile capital of the prosperous Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi’s ruins include 500 civil, religious and military monuments spread over 25 sq,km. These are the remains of an ancient city that was considered to be the metropolis of a golden era.

Hampi is best seen on foot, or a combination of walking, bicycling, moped and climbing hilltops for grand views of the sunrise or sunset. Walking on seven-hundred-year-old streets, resting in stone stables where the King’s cavalry took shelter or whiling the afternoon away by the Queen’s Bath, the rocky outcrop of present day Hampi harbors a hundred thousand stories untold.

This ancient hamlet was chosen as Vijayanagara’s capital on account of its strategic proximity to the rapid Tungabhadra and the fact that it was, and continues to be flanked by, a seemingly endless range of brown bouldered hills, a feature that rendered the empire an impenetrable fortress.

Being a popular destination that has been tried and tested, there is very little we can say that hasn’t already been said about the glory of Hampi. Unquestionably a backpacker’s paradise and a pilgrim’s delight, travelers so far have been under the impression that they had to choose between the touristy sites around the main bazaar or take a coracle boat ride over the rapacious Tungabhadra River to further explore the ‘Other Side’ of Hampi.

Contrary to these assumptions, we are about to reveal a third alternative that goes beyond Hampi’s historic and archaeological significance. Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is a well kept secret of the scrub. This sanctuary is the only one of its kind in north Karnataka, stretching over 5,000 hectares with sheltered rock caves and boulder-strewn trails that offer ideal habitat for a range of fauna.

You can find the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary at a short distance of 15 kilometers from Hampi town. This undisturbed forest tract dedicates itself to protecting the sloth bear against the numerous threats to its survival, including human-animal conflict and fragmented habitat.

The vast range of hills around Hampi, especially the stretch between Ramsagar (Hosapete) and Daroji (Sandur), have been home to this specie of bear from as far back as Hampi’s heydays. It was only in 1994 that the State Government declared Bilikallu Reserve Forest as Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary. Ever since, the Forest Department and other bodies have tirelessly strived, and converted the once barren region into lush forest where sloth bears freely roam.

These efforts include the planting of wild fruit trees that make for the bears most favorite food, not forgetting termites and honey of course, available in abundance within the sanctuary’s confines.

Along with the 120 sloth bears counted in a preliminary survey, Daroji’s habitat offers sanctuary to animals like leopard, pangolin, jackal, hyena, wild boar, porcupine, quail, mongoose and monitor lizard. The region also boasts of a variety of avifauna, with several great spots for birding.

Daroji remains open to visitors all seven days of the week – 6am to 6pm – who are required to get permission from the Forest Department prior to visiting. A day spent at the sanctuary should suffice. It is therefore recommended that you fit this into your schedule once you have spent a at least three or four days on the popular sights at Hampi. The best time to visit Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary is between August and April (corresponding with the season for Hampi i.e., between October and March); there are adequate options for lodging nearby.

With permission in hand, you can patiently watch the sloth bears from the tower as they emerge languidly from their rock caves to feed or forage. The hill of Karadikallu Gudda, bang opposite the watchtower, has hundreds of natural caves in which these bears take shelter. The sight of a mama bear with her cub or of males vying for territory is an extraordinary experience not included in the list of popular things to do around these world famous ruins.

Another intriguing offering of the wild landscapes around Hampi is the bamboo pit viper. This stark green snake is arboreal and can be found in the cool of streams, bamboo foliage or dense undergrowth.

The range of the bamboo pit viper isolates it to a small pocket of south India’s forests, of which this region is a part. This unique serpent is not found even in the dense forests of the Western Ghats. They possess the stunning ability to sense heat with their pits, located between eyes and nostril, which they use to make sense of their surroundings and track prey comprising lizards and birds. This pit viper is quite a shy snake and uses camouflage to keep from encounters with humans and predators. They are venomous and will strike, if threatened.

The next time you find yourself planning a trip to Hampi, be sure to get a taste of its wild side; the sloth bears and bamboo pit vipers patiently wait alongside the untold stories of this ancient rock outcrop.

Read more about Hampi or Plan a Trip to Hampi

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