Redefining travel experience through technology

Travel startups in Karnataka are using technology to fi the information defi at various tourism spots in the State

Sarumathi K.


The Government Museum in Bengaluru has an artefact which resembles a bagpipe. There is little marking or explanation for this curiosity. While popular belief is that bagpipe is a Scottish instrument, this “bagpipe” is proof that it was around in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for over 1,000 years. Meanwhile, some 250 km away, the Chennakeshava temple at Belur, built during the Hoysala period, has thousands of sculptures, each having its own history and importance. A tour guide may be able to tell you about only a few at the most, but what if one is interested in more than the bare facts?

Pinakin app

This mobile app was a result of a personal travel experience Srikanth Iyer had when he visited north India in 2014. After looking for a guide online and failing to find one, he decided to engage one at various tourism spots in Delhi and Agra. But, guides were expensive and the information they provided was very shallow. Even the electronic travel guides were unsatisfactory. “On the flight back home to Bengaluru, I decided to find a solutions to the problem,” Mr. Iyer said.

And Pinakin app was the outcome, and Madurai Meenakshi temple was the fi to be explored in detail. “I did my research, and as Tamil Nadu receives the highest tourist footfall, I decided to start from there. Also, I found that most domestic tourists were pilgrims and there is hardly any help for them,” he said. He elicited the help of local authorities in Madurai and created con-tent which includes mythology, oral stories, history, and architecture of the temple,and offered it in multiple languages: Tamil, English, Kannada and Hindi. “The con-tent is diffrent for diffrent languages. It is contextualised to suit tourists,” he said.

Mr. Iyer went on to participate in a hackathon organ-ised by the Karnataka Tourism Department and got a grant to extend his app to destinations in Karnataka too. His app currently offrs audio guide of six sites in Karnataka, including Lal-bagh Botanical Garden, Someshwara Swamy temple (Halasuru), Government Museum, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Mysuru palace, and Belur Chennakeshava temple. “Content for Shravanabelagola, Hampi, Badami,and Aihole will be released soon. We want to cover Karnataka and Tamil Nadu fully before including other States,”Mr. Iyer said.

The free app has seen around 40,000 downloads in one-and-a-half years since launch and is available in Android and IoS platforms.

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