India has been on the bucket list of a lot of travellers as a “soul-searching” destination. However, the country has another face – luxury camping.
Camping in India may be quite daunting for beginners, but rest assured, this is by no means camping in the traditional sense. Unbelievably inspiring and impactful, this journey contains all the essential ingredients that make it an educational, immersive, transformative and life-changing adventure of the soul.
Luxury experiential travel company andBeyond reveals 10 reasons why you should go glamping in India.
Arriving in some of India’s largest cities that are forever abuzz with heaving crowds, tense traffic and non-stop noise can be intimidating and overwhelming to say the least. Thankfully this isn’t an issue for andBeyond guests, as our 100-strong experienced team of guides and travel experts ensure that every detail of the journey is looked after seamlessly and safely.
You will have access to on-hand guides, who will be there to direct, assist, translate, carry luggage and chauffeur you to each destination and usher you quickly and flawlessly through any form of queues. Every detail will be looked after so that all you need to do is relax, explore and take in the beautiful chaos.
For 11 action-packed days, you will be whisked off to some truly remote, and previously unheard-of destinations. Each off-the-beaten-path campsite and the local attraction was carefully selected to give a real taste of India and its rich cultural heritage, unique wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes, while at the same time shedding away the manic, tourist-trodden path to the more mainstream attractions. In a country that is home to a mind-boggling population well over a billion people, you’ll find yourself amazed by the fact that you get to enjoy peaceful picnic lunches amidst ancient ruins with not another person in sight.
Travel with purpose
Today’s travellers seek to travel with purpose. Gone are the days of gold taps and white-glove service. Nowadays luxury travel is comfortable, pampering and soul-enriching, but at the same time, it gives back. In addition to luxury (both physical and natural), travellers are rewarded with meaningful immersion, personal transformation and a uniquely tailormade adventure that, at the risk of sounding cliché, really does change their lives on a mental, physical and spiritual level.
andBeyond’s India mobile camping adventure is an equal mix of grand bucket list ticks and subtle ‘pay it forward’ moments that let us know that our travel was indeed making a difference, not only to us, but also to India’s land, wildlife and people on some level, be it big or small.
Every place has a story
Just as the routing and the remote destinations were carefully selected by andBeyond experts to give an authentic and all-encompassing taste of India, so too were the activities and journey highlights. Explore countless ancient ruins, crumbling forts, protected wildlife areas and tiger reserves, triumphant palaces, breathtaking temples, spellbinding UNESCO World Heritage Sites and totally unexpected cenotaphs that were hidden within busy streets. Each site promises to be just as captivating and hauntingly beautiful as the last, each in its own way, and each imbued with a gripping, often tragic history.
Real-life Jungle Book
In addition to the cultural sightseeing and storytelling that reveals the area’s dramatic history, this journey offers an equal balance of jungle safaris in some of central India’s lesser-known, lesser frequented parks.
It’s a well-known fact that Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel, The Jungle Book, was inspired by the wildlife-rich tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh in central India (Pench to be exact), so this adventure will have you stepping right into the real-life Jungle Book itself. Meander through the many different habitats, from towering teak trees and tall clusters of bamboo to rocky outcrops and crystal-clear rivers.
Flavours of India
Leave the diet at home and try everything. Whether you’re a vegan or a meat-lover or somewhere in between, the moreish menus cater for everyone and there’s no guilt in having seconds (or thirds).
From elaborate multiple-course meals at ancient palaces and peaceful private picnics amidst collapsed ruins to hearty eats in trendy city eateries, plentiful and wholesome lunches with local families and tasty hors d’ oeuvres around a blazing campfire, food is a celebration in India. Flavourful curry, creamy paneer, melt-in-your-mouth naan, aromatic rice, steamed momo, classic dal, crispy poppadoms, and bite-sized pakoras and chutneys bursting with flavour… you get the picture.
Far from the madding crowd
The exclusivity of this journey is its overarching appeal — currently, it is the only one of its kind in India. With a global movement towards small group travel that focuses on a specific tailormade experience that is both meaningful and impactful, this adventure takes that blossoming trend to the next level.
Travelling during the off-peak season (early December) means fewer crowds and more bearable temperatures. Most importantly, you’ll get to stay in completely private and off-the-beaten-track campsites that had been carefully selected not only for their natural luxury and unique setting but also for their intentional distance from mainstream tourism. This journey ventures where there is little to no tourist footprint, allowing a truly exclusive and memorable experience.
The campsite views were always impressive, the atmosphere serene and knowing that each site had been leased from nearby farmers or landowners meant that we were providing a steady and sustainable income for local families.
As for the wildlife parks, you’ll have them (almost) all to yourselves, which, in India, is unheard of. The 900 km2 Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary (Kuno National Park), which was actually established in 1981 as a possible satellite site for the Asiatic lion reintroduction project, is about as wild as it gets. The wildlife remains completely unhabituated, so although tracking them is more of a challenge, the reward is knowing that you are in the midst of true, uninhabited wilderness.
Better than any guidebook
Your journey is only as good as your guide and you will be guided by one of India’s most renowned and knowledgeable guides, Hashim Tyabji. With an impressive 40 years of experience under his belt, Hashim is one of the co-owners of this mobile camping operation.
Hashim is a walking encyclopedia of fascinating facts about everything from culture, history and architecture, to wildlife, geography and current events. A celebrated naturalist, published author and expert on pretty much everything to do with the Subcontinent, not only is Hashim well-connected and widely respected in the industry, he is also an engaging storyteller with a wicked sense of humour.
Every new friend is a new adventure and this journey brings together like-minded travellers. After spending days around a blazing campfire together and laughing long into the nights, you’ll make friends keep for life where your paths will cross again, despite residing on different continents.
Let life surprise you
As most andBeyond adventures go, be prepared for the spontaneous, unexpected little surprises to happen. These little gems make a meaningful journey even more special.