Passions Manas Garg and Girish are trying to create an exhaustive Indian travel guide with travellers writing in

One of the major worries that plague amateur adventure seekers planning a trip to the great outdoors is the lack of sufficient material available about lesser known locations.

Even Lonely Planet India, the bible for many a foreign traveller is rather inadequate when it comes to sharing information about exotic locations hidden away in this country.

Community-driven

Two years ago, when a friend of travel enthusiasts and software professionals, Manas Garg and Girish wanted to travel to Coastal Karnataka, she discovered that the information available was inadequate and scattered.

Manas, an engineer at Yahoo takes the tale further, “I decided to create a forum online, to provide one-stop information about lesser-known tourist spots in India — a Wikipedia of sorts for tourism in India.”

“As we accumulated more information, the popularity of the site increased. Girish joined me soon and provided a great deal of information about the pilgrimage spots of importance to Madhwas. The information resulted in more people providing new areas to explore and helped the forum get more hits. It became a virtual reference guide for the Madhwa community. ”

What is the moot purpose of the website? The duo say: “We want to provide unbiased and exhaustive information to travellers to ensure they have a great experience. The website allows any person to provide a write up about interesting places. It is not driven by commercial interest.”

The duo say that Lonely Planet focuses more on foreigners.

“Our website is more community driven.”

On whether a book is on the cards, Girish says, “We don't have any such plans. Managing the online version itself has been quite taxing, considering that both of us also have our regular jobs. If the need arises and a publisher comes forward, we will be happy to provide information.”

The guide is free to be modified by the general public and is often subjected to acts of vandalism. “There are occasions when restaurant owners, resorts, try to spam the servers. We have a system in place that ensures that such spam messages and information is deleted from the system. Any unwanted modification is removed soon.”

Following

The website has been updated by more than 100 people and covers more than 800 places.

Manas says, “We plan to ensure that we provide better coverage to more tourist locations across the country. Our Facebook page has more than 8,500 members. People use it for sharing information about interesting places and also for setting their itinerary. A lot of interesting travel related information gets exchanged on a daily basis.”

The website can be accessed at www.ourindiaguide.com.

This column features those who choose to veer off the beaten track.