TRAVEL SPECIAL Out-of-the-box experiences
Experiential travel is about making travel more meaningful and memorable while offering a piece of Indian culture at the same time
It is interesting to note how the travel pattern of Indians has evolved over the past few years. Getaways are planned around themes such as romance, adventure, relaxation, exclusivity and fun. This makes narrowing on experiences easy and one gets what one sets out for on a holiday rather than being taken by surprise. Hop on board a luxury cruise liner and treat yourself to visual marvels along the journey. Connect the dots between your destinations by taking the off-beaten path or take a route that is saddled with all the comfort and entertainment on a luxurious escapades. Explore the remote forest or plan a rejuvenating getaway with your extended family to enjoy the showers of monsoon.
HONEY COLLECTION TOUR AMIDST MANGROVES
Sundarbans, not far from Kolkata, boasts of a dense mangrove cover, which serves as home to the great Bengal Tigers. In parts of Sundarbans, many families depend on honey collection to earn a livelihood. The forest department arranges cultural program which offers an honest insight into process of collecting wild honey from the forest. Your journey begins with a boat cruise to take you into the heart of Sunderban Jungle. Swashing through the river and delta canals, the cruise takes you inside to experience a different ecosystem altogether. You may get to see crocodiles, wild boars, spotted deers, water monitor lizards and different types of birds. Choose the honey collection tour that allows you to experience the unique technique honey collectors employ to save themselves from the dangers of forest ie the Tiger. Honey collectors first locate the bee hives, fire hand bombs to frighten off tigers and make way towards the hive. Using a traditional method of creating smoke to drive bees away, the hive is then cut off and honey is extracted. The smoke makes sure that the bees are driven away and no one gets bitten.
FARM STAYS, ORGANIC FOOD, FISHING AND FUN AMIDST A RUSTIC COUNTRY BACKDROP
Farm stay is the latest travel trend that's redefining countryside getaways in India. For your next holiday, get back to basics by opting for an organic farm stay from across the country. Ecologically-conscious organic farmstays allow you privileges that the city life has snatched from you. While India may still be called an agricultural country largely, a vast number of urban dwellers have little or no exposure to life in a farm. With the rise of sustainable tourism, a number of properties have emerged around the country that offer an authentic experience of living, and even working, in the farm. Explore unblemished countryside life; touch the earth, feel the freshness, know your food and sing in chorus with the birds. Forget your gadgets to lead the humble countryside life to experience living in an area that’s cut off from the urban chaos. The states of Sikkim, Punjab and Kerala offer verdant environs and comfortable farms. Help yourself to fruits right off the trees or pluck them yourself, go on a fishing trip with your host to the local water body, share a meal with a local family and learn of the contrasts of life in the same country. Some stays host workshops that impart knowledge on organic farming, some host culinary workshops that offer insights on using food to heal. Ready?
BONDING IN THE OUTDOORS
GET CLOSE TO NATURE WITH BONFIRES AND LUNCHES
Region: Mulshi, Kullu, Chikmagalur and Nandi Hills
Enjoy a countryside experience and embrace nature at the same time, book yourself a retreat that follows eco-friendly practices to enjoy the fresh showers of monsoon. Home stays and agro resorts are going that extra mile to cut carbon footprint without compromising on the experience. Meals prepared using organic fresh produce in wood-fired ovens and other traditional methods result in mouth-watering vision of the treats that await you. Mulshi, Kullu, Chikmagalur and Nandi Hills offer a serene backdrop enveloped with mist. The tranquil ambiance makes for an ideal escape from the usual city bustle. A stay a place set amidst lush greenery is an experience worth treasuring for both you and your kids. Outdoor meals can be a great highlight of your holiday; you can inform the management beforehand and have them arrange a meal for you in your favourite spot. If you are travelling with friends or extended family, enjoy a early dinner and reserve some time for an outdoor bonfire to hum your favourite song or play an instrument.
Compiled by Shireen Kanchwala