“People from my country, they come and visit the same old stuff. The Golden Triangle – Delhi-Agra-Jaipur, a couple of popular resorts in Kerala – and that’s all! They miss out on the real India” – said Daniel of Aventura/Chalo-Spain over breakfast when he was in Bangalore. He’d just done a motorbike ride to our locations at Gokarna, Balur Estate and in Chettimani (Coorg), and is trying to get folks to visit the deeper India.
Made me think about how much of a disservice the travel industry inadvertently ends up doing to both the traveller as well as the beautiful places, cultures and people that represent the true India in all it’s variety, across geographies, seasons, the profusion of colours, terrain, customs, food, festivals – everything. And this India is outside of the major tourist locations, outside of the cities and off the bigger highways. It’s in the little towns and villages – with their unique stories. It’s when you stay in the homestays. It’s when you walk, take it slowly and interact with folks around. Coorg’s Pandhi Curry, the catch of the day along the coast, the quiet solitude of a large coffee estate, the profusion of flora and fauna deep inside a Himalayan forest – these are all small bits of that huge jigsaw puzzle that India is – and they’re best seen from outside the comfortable familiarity of a “resort”.
This is the India that Daniel is trying to showcase to his clients, and that we at Linger would like our guests to experience. It’s not about the “points”, or checklists, but the experiences of a civilization that has been through more iterations, changes and adaptation than we can usually imagine. It boggles the mind and mesmerizes even those of us who have been born here and live here all our lives. I can only imagine how much of an amazing – indeed incredible – experience it will be from someone coming in from Europe etc. It can be experienced however you like – on a bike along with one of Daniel’s tour, on a slow bicycle ride, on bus and train journeys that let you interact with so many real people in real life situations, on a road trip that stays off the bigger towns and roads – the only thing to remember is to explore with an open mind, ready to embrace the myriad surprises that greet you at every turn. Sure, not all will be pleasant, but that’s what travel’s about!
So do yourself a favour – and don’t stop with that Golden Triangle 🙂