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Meet the team - Indian Subcontinent

Our India travel specialists are truly passionate about India and its surrounding regions.

They have travelled thoroughly in India and Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan; and have the insider knowledge about unmissable sights and the best places to stay.

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Amit

Having grown up in a small town in northern India, I was always curious to know what lay further afield. It all started with a trip to Delhi. I was so fascinated by discovering new places that I chose to study tourism management and pursued my Masters in the same field. This led to numerous opportunities to travel extensively within India and abroad. The regions closest to my heart include the Himalayan region of Ladakh, the north-western frontier of Rajasthan, and west Bengal, purely because of their authenticity, colours, magnificent monuments, culture and cuisine. Among my many favourites, I would also include the north-eastern part of India because of its stunning natural beauty and the mighty Himalaya. Outside India, I have travelled widely within the Subcontinent, the Far East, Australasia and the Pacific; however Bhutan is my next passion due to its authenticity, culture and scenic beauty.

My Insiders Tip

Bhutan is a destination little visited, as it is difficult to access and therefore fairly costly, however it is one of the most special places on this planet. Its remoteness, Himalayan location, intense and intriguing culture and values, and spirituality of the local people and of the place make Bhutan a really interesting destination. Bhutan ranks among the most bio-diverse countries in the world. Surprisingly, the warm southern part supports wildlife and vegetation usually associated with a tropical, jungle climate. When flying from Kathmandu to Paro, if you take a seat on the left side of the aircraft, you will have stunning views of Mount Everest.

Favourite Experience

Cruising on Lake Vembanad, through the Keralan backwaters and staying on a private rice barge is an opportunity not to be missed.

My Favourite Place

Though I have many favourite places to visit, I think Ladakh tops the list. This enchanting place is sandwiched between the northern Karakoram mountain range and the Himalaya in the south. Far from the madding crowd, looking out at the mighty Himalayan peaks you feel a sense of control of your own destiny. The vibrant culture, traditional Tibetan architecture, chanting at the monasteries, soaring mountains and clear star-lit skies all make Ladakh an exceptional destination that feeds the soul of a traveller.

My Favourite Hotel

My favourite hotel has to be the Wildflower Hall near Shimla in India. A fairy-tale luxury resort situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, it was originally the estate of Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. The views from all the rooms are breathtaking. The staff are charming, courteous and nothing is too difficult for them. I highly recommend the picnic at The Peak, which is arranged by the hotel.

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Roop

Born and brought up in Bombay to Indian and Iranian parents, I had the best of both worlds in several different ways. Being from Bombay one naturally speaks at least three to four languages and I was lucky to learn more from both sides of my family. You may have noticed that I still refer to Mumbai as Bombay because it will always be that in my heart.

I’ve lived in several countries including Holland, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Being ex cabin crew with American Airlines, Saudia and Qatar Airways, travel was not only a passion but a way of life for me for nearly a decade. I’ve been based in Amsterdam and then in lesser frequented Jeddah from where I have fond memories of frankincense-filled souks and roadside barbecues along the shores of the Red Sea late in the evening. Tourists didn’t exist in those days at all and life was as close to being bedouin as possible. I loved it.

My Insiders Tip

My tip is to do with food – if you could see me in person, you would know why. Cooking is simply the best therapy I can have after a long day in the office. When visiting a new destination, skip the 5-star restaurants and head for excellent value street food. In Bombay, ‘street food’ can be experienced in a restaurant to avoid any issues with your tummy, but several stalls are also cleared by health and hygiene authorities, including the stall behind the main stock exchange and the kulfi (Indian ice cream) vendors in Bandra.

Favourite Experience

It’s so hard to choose. A favourite experience of mine was watching the cute, blue back penguins walking out of the sea in Kangaroo Island, Australia and I also recall the views from top of Sydney Harbour Bridge very fondly. Another experience of note was climbing Sarangkot in Pokhara, Nepal to view Fishtail Mountain.

My Favourite Place

My favourite city is Rome because you can still walk on the streets and feel like it’s 10,000 years ago. I love the history and monuments of this cradle of modern civilisation. My other favourite place is Las Vegas! There I said it. I love Vegas and it’s true that there is no place like it. It’s just the buzz and the atmosphere that is so scintillating and unique, a true adult’s playground.

My Favourite Hotel

My favourite hotel is Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala, India. The meandering pool and lakeside setting makes it a perfect getaway and the ultimate hotel for relaxing. Guests can jump into a pool from their bedroom as soon as they wake up and later have a shower in your their private open garden, filled with water lilies and banana palms.

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Discover Indian Subcontinent

Be captivated by the enticing, enigmatic and spiritual destinations of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.… Read more
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Shameem

My family come from Johannesburg so from an early age my school holidays were spent in South Africa. We would have big get togethers in the green spaces of the city with a braii (barbecue) at the weekends. I have travelled all around the country, from the stunning city of Cape Town to the wild beaches of KwaZulu-Natal and the amazing wildlife of the renowned Kruger National Park. I love that with each visit there is something new to discover. India has also always been an intrigue to me as my ancestors came from the state of Gujarat around 1900 before migrating to South Africa. My first memory of India is a visit to the Taj Mahal, a spectacular sight that my mother and I had always wanted to see. The forts and palaces of Agra and Jaipur are also incomparable to anywhere else that I’ve been.

 

My Insiders Tip

Instead of flying from Johannesburg to Mpumalanga, a four-hour drive will take you through some stunning scenery, passing dozens of nature reserves, lakes and dams. Stop midway at Dullstroom, one of the oldest towns in South Africa, to enjoy a light lunch in a quaint deli serving traditional homemade bakes such as milk tart and koeksisters. Then drive up to the Drakensberg Plateau through Long Tom Pass, named after a large silver cannon. Used by the Boer army, it was the bane of the British generals and their brigades. The pass is the highest road over the Mpumalanga Drakensberg and the most stunning part of the road trip.

Favourite Experience

One of my favourite animals is the elephant so it’s always been a thrill to see these magnificent creatures in the wild. My most memorable encounter was at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe while on a relaxing sunset cruise along the Zambezi River. I had never realised that elephants could swim so I was amazed to see a family making their way from the banks of the river on the Zimbabwean side across to the Zambian side. It was surprising to see how swiftly they move through the water using their trunks like a snorkel.

My Favourite Place

There are so many places that I love in South Africa, each offering a different experience, which makes it hard to pick a favourite. For adventure, head to the rainforests and mountain ranges of the Garden Route or the canyons and valleys of Mpumalanga. You are spoilt for choice for wildlife viewing experiences with the Big Five at home in Kruger National Park, Madikwe, northern KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. For urban exploration, look no further than Cape Town, a beautiful city set against the backdrop of Table Mountain. Finally, for unspoilt beaches and a dramatic coastline, the golden sands of the Dolphin Coast are the answer.

My Favourite Hotel

This has to be Wolwedans Dunes Lodge in the NamibRand, a private nature reserve in the Namib desert in south-west Namibia. The Wolwedans Collection has six different lodges and camps across the reserve, each offering a different level of comfort in a slightly different setting. The Dunes Lodge offers the perfect combination of comfort with the atmosphere of a camp. The beautifully appointed chalets feature canvas sides, opening up to fantastic views of the surrounding dunes. By day I appreciated the magnificent landscapes of red sand dunes, golden grasses and rugged mountain ranges. Our local guide was a San Bushman and could tell us in detail how the local tribes lived in this harsh environment. By night I marvelled at the starry skies from the comfort of my bed.

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See India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan & Nepal to life in print form – order your brochure here. Order Now >

Discover Indian Subcontinent

Be captivated by the enticing, enigmatic and spiritual destinations of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.… Read more
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Vasu

My penchant for travel goes all the way back to my childhood when I journeyed across India with my father, an Indian army officer. However, it wasn’t until I set off on a biking trip in north India with a few college friends that I fell head-over-heels for travel. After obtaining a degree in Economics, I started as a tour manager for European trekking/climbing expeditions to the Himalaya. I originally climbed mountains to get the adrenaline rush, but what caught me by surprise was how much I loved meeting the people in these remote areas. This inspired me later in my career and I decided to move to the UK to pursue an MSc in Responsible Tourism and since then have settled here. 

I am a trained mountaineer and have spent many years exploring the Himalaya in India, Nepal & Bhutan. Apart from having extensively travelled in India, I have rafted down most of the rivers in the subcontinent and driven my motorbike to the remote corners in India including the world’s highest road in Ladakh. I also take immense pleasure in meeting the people of the lands I visit and appreciating the customs & traditions they hold. I love the puppets of Rajasthan, food in Kerala, trekking in Nepal, mask dances of Bhutan and the ‘curd & treacle’ in Sri Lanka.

I have years of experience as an Indian Subcontinent specialist designing luxury tailor-made holidays and I won’t be satisfied until my clients are excited about the holiday. Apart from the usual sights I absolutely love to plan behind-the-scenes experiences in the narrow streets of Delhi or Varanasi, have conversations with local experts to learn secrets of traditional cooking methods, meetings with artists or musicians in the rural villages, and special private dinners in stunning settings.

My Insiders Tip

Being open minded on a holiday and trying a few things that one normally wouldn’t do can make the holiday memorable. So surprise yourself by wandering off the usual travel guides. In India, I suggest exploring some of the narrow lanes and hidden streets of big cities by a Tuk-Tuk. These tiny vehicles weave in and out of traffic with much ease and let one get under the skin of the place. Witness sights not often seen by tourists and be part of an immersive experience.

Favourite Experience

There are so many to choose from, but I’d pick a safari in Ranthambore with one of the most experienced naturalists. With an impeccable knowledge of the park, he helped me spot the rare and shy leopard (as well as two tigers and a cub), which is my favourite cat! This is in addition to about 70 species of birds we spotted on an afternoon safari. I have been to most of the national parks in the subcontinent and stayed in many lodges but this experience clearly stands out and is etched in my memory forever.

My Favourite Place

India is one of the most magical destinations and has enough to entice a first-time traveller whilst also keeping repeat visitors engaged in its culture, landscape, history festivals, cuisines, people and much more. It’s difficult to not fall in love with the genuineness and warm smiles of the people and the intriguing village life in every part of the country.

My Favourite Hotel

Shahpura Bagh, in the heartland of rural Rajasthan, comprises two restored bungalows in 45 acres of gardens with a gorgeous pool and is an ideal stop to unwind after a whirlwind tour of the Golden Triangle in north India. This heritage property is the private residence of the rulers of Shahpura who personally look after the guests. Days are spent taking leisurely walks around the estate and their private lake, visiting the nearby villages, enjoying private meals in stunning locations and bird watching during winter months. The food is the highlight and I can’t say enough about my dinner which consisted of some recipes passed down from one generation to the next one before finally appearing on my table! Shahpura Bagh is not a hotel but a destination and experience in itself.

Order a Brochure Online

See India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan & Nepal to life in print form – order your brochure here. Order Now >

Discover Indian Subcontinent

Be captivated by the enticing, enigmatic and spiritual destinations of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.… Read more