The French connection! Daniel Lessard, CA from Dieppe-France Exploring the Western Ghats


Daniel Lessard, chartered accountant from Dieppe in France, explores the Western Ghats

Mangaluru: Believe it or not, trekking in the Western Ghats is an overall fascinating experience. You will be able to explore one of the hottest biodiversity hotspots in India, with various species of flora and fauna to charm you. Western Ghats treks are amazing during monsoon and winter seasons when the weather is pleasant and the forests, waterfalls and lakes are at their most scenic. The Western Ghats is among the few with many magnificent forts and hilly plateaus along its periphery. This offers its residents and day-trippers a chance to discover and seek adventure while spending precious hours surrounded by nature.

The hiking spots near the Western Ghats include dense green hills and winding paths that give the ultimate adrenaline rush. These places are like a breath of fresh air that will effectively detach you from the city conflict and monotonous city life. Whether you’re looking forward to an exciting weekend with your friends or robbing yourself of moments of seclusion and comfort, there are plenty of hikes that will fill you with optimism with a refreshing vibe and expansive views. You should check out hikes if you’re looking to explore the great outdoors at a relaxed pace.

And among the large number of Indians who experience trekking in the Western Ghats, here we have a 76-year-old Frenchman, Daniel Lessard, an accountant from Dieppe, France, who had decided to visit Mangaluru, no only to meet his friends he had met at the International Kite Festival in his hometown, but also to trek and explore the Western Ghats. We learn that his link with Mangaluru goes through his friend Dinesh Holla, organizer, Sahyadri Sanchaya when Holla met Daniel during the Kite Festival in France in 2018.

Holla is not only the organizer of Sahyadri Sanchaya, an organization working for the conservation of the Western Ghats, but also a member of the Mangaluru team, which has participated in the Dieppe International Kite Festival over the years. It should be noted that Lessard has visited India more than 30 times in the past, however, this is his first visit after the Covid-19 pandemic. After attending the wedding of Madhusudhan, deputy director of ‘Virupa’, in Bangalore, Lessard traveled to Varkala and recently returned to Mangaluru. Lessard starred in the Kannada film ‘Virupa’, directed by Punik Shetty.

Daniel Lessard with Dinesh Holla and Desi Dog Manika owned by Anand from Mangaluru

Daniel was seen with Dr Narayana Gowda – who deals with herbal medicine and lives alone in the Kabbinale Forest

Speaking to the Mangalorean team, Dinesh Holla said, “It was a pleasure to meet Daniel when we went to Dieppe-France to participate in the International Kite Festival there. Every time we visit Dieppe to participate in the Kite Fest, Lessard invites our team (Team Mangaluru) to his home in Dieppe for a vegetarian meal, and he also makes sure we don’t encounter any inconvenience and gives us good hospitality. We appreciate Daniel’s concern for the protection of the Western Ghats, and were happy to accompany him on his recent Western Ghat trek. During the Western Ghat trekking, when we were lost, the best was that Lessard didn’t panic or complain even though we spent two extra hours trekking. We ran out of water and he was bitten by leeches. He was full of energy during the trek. We loved his spirit and his enthusiasm.”

Also speaking to the Mangalorean team, Daniel said, “I had a great time with Dinesh Holla, an environmentalist; Srinath Pawar, a video editor, Nitesh Elinje, a theater artist and Ramesh Kamath, a businessman, who had accompanied me on my trek in the Western Ghats, including a 22 km trek to Kabbinale, in the chain of Agumbe. We also visited Edurugudde, stayed in a local house and started our hike in Kabbinale. Our trek started last Sunday and we reached the summit around 10:30 am, but during the descent we got lost. While my friends from Mangaluru were busy trying to find the way, I was made to sit somewhere”.

“None of the team members panicked or were anxious. They looked for alternative routes. I was confident that we would arrive safely, as that is the spirit of India, and soon they found a stream, which we followed, and we were at the base around 4:30 p.m. I hiked in Ladakh and Sikkim earlier, however, this landscape was different. We must keep the Western Ghats. enjoyed the Indian warmth including my Mangaluru friends and among the South Indian breakfast I had I liked the ‘uppittu’ My other experience was that I was afraid of losing my tablet, but I was lucky to get it back after a rickshaw driver returned the device to me after two days. I appreciate the sincerity of the auto driver. I will try to come back and explore more Western Ghats and surrounding areas on my next trip to India,” Daniel added.


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