Tourism is a booming industry in India and now the emphasis has turned to sustainable and eco-friendly segments which also help the local communities. Making this come true is Hyderabad-based travel company, Offbeat Tracks which helps people from all over to explore the majestic Himalayas and scenic North East and also foreign destinations on bicycles.
It was in 2014 that Vandana Vijay started this company which has four core values, namely credibility, community, trust and knowledge. Stressing on them, Vijay told the media that the company offers travel plans that do not harm the integrity and locale of the place they are visiting. In each and every aspect of the tour, from accommodation to transportation to food and activities, the locals play a vital role.
Laying emphasis on community building she informed that seven per cent of their total revenue actually goes to the local communities.
For the tourists, the company provides what can be described as immersive and sustainable travel through bicycling. This slow travel which is done by the visitors are their own pace allows them to engage and enjoy multiple aspects of the place including the culture, art, customs, and traditions of the community and not just be confined to sightseeing and food.
She clarified that people think cycling requires professional training but that is not true. The tours are conducted on e-bikes which are easy and don’t require as much physical exertion as needed for normal cycles.
The company has held tours from Leh to Siachen base camp, across the Khardungla Pass and from Nagaland to Manipur while providing the visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Hornbill Festival, Sangai Festival and the scenic Loktak Lake.
The next trip is planned in June from Kashmir to Ladakh via Zoji La. While usually people from 30 to 50 undertake such trips, many times the senior citizens also join.
Vijay cited the case of a 74-year-old man residing in Bengaluru who participated in their last visit to Ladakh.
The website of the company offers itineraries to destinations both in India and abroad. These include trips to Assam, Meghalaya, Nepal, Sikkim, Kashmir, Turkey, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Kerala, Andamans, Vietnam and Bhutan among others.