With domestic travel and social distancing being the keywords this year, look no further than these local Indian tour operators that offer extraordinary experiences across the country! By Rashima Nagpal

Shakti Himalaya

 

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With its presence in Kumaon, Ladakh, and Sikkim, Shakti offers luxurious Himalayan holidays around destinations that are truly far-flung. With end-to-end services in some of the most challenging locations, they have a knack for making even the difficult times special.

Vagabond Experiences

 

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Led by a trio of three young gentlemen, Vagabond Experiences does just what its name suggests. Be it for free-spirited adventures in the Sahyadris, backpacking through the Himalayas or camping with some musicians in town, get in touch with this Mumbai-based company for some youthful fun.

Big Red Tent

 

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Bespoke camping experiences out in the wilderness? Yes, please! With designated camping grounds between Mumbai and Pune, Big Red Tent shows you how it’s done in times of social distancing. Worry not, as long as it involves pitching a tent, they also curate experiences in other scenic locations such as Triund, Bir Billing, Wayanad, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and more.

India Untravelled

 

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Suggestive in its name, India Untravelled specialises in places that you’ve probably not been to or experiences that you’re yet to have. From a remote village in Kumaon to a unique trail in Delhi, they can be trusted with all things offbeat.

Collar Folk

 

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Pet parents, this is especially for you! Here’s a tour operator that promises to take equally good care of you and your pets. We guess this means you need not worry about finding a stay that’s pet-friendly or the activities that both you and your furballs can participate in. A rare Indian tour operator, this calls for a must experience.

Spiti Ecosphere

 

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A pioneering eco-tourism organisation, Spiti Ecosphere offers a range of exciting eco-travel itineraries in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. One of their projects is called Greening the Desert – Building a Greenhouse. It involves spending five days assisting the local community in the construction of a greenhouse based on traditional mud building techniques and solar passive architecture, which will enable a local farmer or a monastery or nunnery to grow vegetables throughout the year, even during harsh winter months. Time to mix travel with responsibility!

Kipepeo India

 

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Offering a range of community-based tours and experiences in the Northeast, Kipepeo is a socially inclined enterprise. They’ve been operating for over 10 years now and there’s no questioning their expertise. One of their tours takes you deep in the valleys along the Siang and Subansiri, where you get to learn about six tribes—Adi, Apatani, Tagin, Gallo, Mishmi, and Nysihi. From savouring traditional brews and picking up some bamboo skills from the Adi tribe to unique farming practices of the Apatanis and homestay experience in Ziro Valley, the tour opens one to the simple joys of life.

Ibex Expeditions

 

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Operating since 1979, Ibex Expeditions started off as the epitome of adventure and luxury travel in India. But over the years, they’ve gathered footfall in almost every aspect of tourism. However, intimate, culturally immersive journeys continue to be their forte; be it camping in the Himalayas, state-of-the-art jungle safaris, or fine dining at a Maharaja’s palace.

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