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India Untravelled.

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If you’ve ever fantasized about living in a remote village in the high Himalayas, experiencing the colonial charm of a hill station minus the tourists, savoring the country hospitality of India’s most hospitable culture, waking up to birds chirping on a farm, or finding the beauty of Europe’s alpine countryside in India, this post is for you.

While travelling in India over the last 6 months, I have met families, communities & individuals running small travel offerings in rural parts of India, that offer travel enthusiasts an insight into a world away from the cities and the popular tourist circuit of India. Through tourism, they help the local community preserve their way of life, protect the local ecology, conserve the heritage of a place, provide employment opportunities to the village folk, and offer the artists & craftsmen of the region a financial avenue to sustain their work. Unfortunately, the lack of an online presence in today’s Google-dominated world means many such offerings haven’t yet become self-sustainable.

India Untravelled was born on a weekend I spent on the countryside of Punjab, amid a 400-acre fruit & cotton farm and the heartwarming hospitality of a family from the pind of Ghallu. It is an attempt to bridge this online marketing gap. It is a window into the India that many of us romanticize about. It stems from the fact that people who would enjoy experiences off the beaten path in rural India are not people who would book their travel through a travel agent. These are independent thinkers who rely on Google for their travel research.

Punjab, countryside, Abohar, Ghallu, mohindra fruit farm

On the countryside of Punjab.

In the 3 months of its existence since January 2012, India Untravelled has introduced travellers primarily from Europe & India to five socially responsible travel experiences across the states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan & Punjab. A village stay in Madhya Pradesh and a jungle camp in Uttarakhand are the latest in the list of untravelled Indian destinations. On Friday next week, India Untravelled will set out for its first group trip to Punjab, to celebrate the harvest festival of Baisakhi on a countryside farm!

Spiti, Dhankar lake, offbeat travel, himalayas, India, rural India

Dhankar Lake, Spiti.

Jaipur, Nirvana organic farm, organic farmstay, rajasthan, delhi weekend getaway

Nirvana Organic farm, near Jaipur.

Prakriti farm, Punjab, kaushal's ecological farm, organic farm, weekend getaway Delhi, Chandigarh, farmstay

Prakriti Farm, Punjab.

As my travels in India take on the eyes of my new venture, I hope, in subsequent posts, to take you on a journey through an India Untravelled.

Join India Untravelled on Facebook, Twitter & Google+ to be part of an offbeat travel community, contribute your travel stories to the India Untravelled blog, and visit indiauntravelled.com for travel ideas for your next holiday!

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26 Comments Post a comment
  1. nandanjha #

    Best Wishes Shivya for this new venture.

    April 9, 2012
  2. hi shivya,
    very nice post. Love the concept of India untraveled. Just curious to know something… have you been to the “nirvana” in Jaipur.?

    April 9, 2012
    • Thanks :) Nirvana Organic Farm near Jaipur is one of our partners – http://indiauntravelled.com/nirvana-organic-farm.html , yes. But there’s another Nirvana hotel in Jaipur which I’ve only heard about. Which of the two are you referring to?

      April 9, 2012
      • I was referring to the organic farm. It belongs to my maternal uncle. Arvind – Malti Modi. Its a small world! :) Isn’t it?

        April 9, 2012
        • Oh wow! It really is a small world. I visited it last month and met him. Absolutely loved the farm & its serenity :) Have you been?

          April 10, 2012
          • ya, many times! he had asked me to pitch in to write the text for his site, but somehow I never found the time! We are very close, he being my real mama. :) it is serene! and he has worked very hard to develop it organically!

            April 10, 2012
            • True that, the hard work shows. It’s summer now and everyone wants to head to the hills to cool off, but we hope to do a trip to the farm post-monsoon :)

              April 10, 2012
  3. ajgupta #

    Nice post Shivya. You could consider organizing some Google+ hangout walks in some of the beautiful places you visit for those who can’t travel (like the elderly, disabled, and the unwell). I just came across something called Virtual Photo Walks on Google+ (http://tinyurl.com/cq5lnu5).

    All the best to India Untraveled. :)

    April 9, 2012
    • Thank you sir, it sure sounds like a great idea. I’ll do more research and see if it’s feasible. The biggest challenge I see is having a strong internet connection at most untravelled places.

      April 9, 2012
      • ajgupta #

        True. It does diminish the experience but even a recorded video of the trek would be awesome. I reckon you’ll need to get better video equipment. Hope it is feasible. We’d love to experience your experiences secondhand.

        April 9, 2012
        • I saw some virtual photo walks on Google+ and the idea is just so awesome. I’m going to do a test with them on our trip to Punjab this weekend, and if it works out, I’ll owe you big time! Where can I email you?

          April 10, 2012
  4. bhavanas11 #

    Interesting post!!! I am very curious about your later posts. I work in rural development and would be keen on how your journey unravels and if at some point, we might collaborate! Till then, keep going!!! And..here I am your new follower:)

    April 10, 2012
    • Thanks for dropping by, Bhavana. I’d love to know more about your work in rural development. Where can I look it up? Alternatively, would be great if you could email me at shivyanath@gmail.com :)

      April 10, 2012
  5. Some really good post here!

    April 11, 2012
  6. Nice post…look forward to the ones on Baisakhi. I have heard that it is quite a spectacle in Punjab. Get us some awesome pics.

    April 11, 2012
    • I will, we are heading out tomorrow. Join us next time so you can get the pictures for yourself :)

      April 12, 2012
  7. Fantastic post. I have not (yet) had the pleasure to travel to India, but I find the urge to do so ever increasing especially after visiting your blog and the many fantastic posts you write.

    April 13, 2012
    • I’m glad :) Hope to catch you somewhere in India, soon.

      April 16, 2012
  8. All the best Shivya, for this endeavor of yours. Wish you all the success :)

    April 14, 2012
  9. Dear Shivya,

    The India Untravelled project sounds great!

    As a guy who traveled in India for a long time, I know that the best things in travelling are in the small, rural places, while meeting the locals and enjoy their hospitality. I would love to hear more about the project and also help to promote it in my site. Will be great to hear back from you.

    All the best,

    Omri Shamir

    March 4, 2013

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