Avid travellers are always on the lookout for new thrills, excitement, and soul-filling experiences. Over the past few years, there’s been a rise in various travel trends like glamping, workcation, staycation, and many others. The recent trend to enter the itinerary is heritage travel. Today’s ‘woke’ generation is seeking experiences that are exposing them to their country’s past. They are on the lookout for a travel experience that not only fulfils their inner wanderlust but also helps them expand their knowledge.
Bharat Gothoskar, Founder-CEO, Khaki Tours, explains, “People are bored of conventional travel. They are keen on experiencing local culture, food, and architecture. Social media has made young people aware of the sheer range of possibilities.”
The rise in work-from-home is also allowing youngsters the freedom to travel without being tied down to the workplace. “Young travellers today are on a self-discovery path and turning into digital nomads with the remote work culture,” say the AllFive duo — Harsha Parbat, CEO, and Richa Patil, CMO.
Travel enthusiast and PR professional Devesh Purohit visited Somnath and Dwarka last year. “These spots connected me to my roots at religious, spiritual and traveller level. I visited Gopi-kund where the last Raas-Leela took place and Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, both near Dwarka city. A takeaway for me from the trip was taking pride in our culture in this globalised world. We should preserve and protect our heritage places,” he shares.
While travelling, one can learn many aspects of India’s rich heritage through the local art and culture. Elaborating on the same, Vikram Lalvani, Managing Director & CEO, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd, says, “India’s architecture has been shaped by trade and multiple invasions. It has manifested in the monuments and edifices and is experienced through our country’s varied cultures, customs, cuisines, festivals, and traditions. Indians’ interest in our heritage and culture has always been present.”
Walk the talk
An easy way to amplify one’s knowledge is by signing up for walks when visiting a new place. These local tours take you beyond the average travel experience by making it more immersive. These tours are not just limited to small towns today. Metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, etc, too offer such experiences.
A well-studied and managed heritage walk is getting youngsters who want to feel the ‘nostalgia revisited’ places in their city. “Many young people are moving to new cities/ countries. The best way to understand a new city, make friends, or immerse in the culture is to go on these tours. We have also seen a rise in locals creating these unique walking experiences for guests,” Parbat mentions.
Seeing something on the internet and while travelling are different experiences. There is a fear of missing out. These local tours provide knowledge that you might not know.
Patil opines that if travelling to a new city for a vacation, it is vital to spend at least two to three days taking short tours. “If moving to a new city, go on these local tours once a week to understand the city and make new friends.”
Places with traditions and rich architectural history are perfect for plenty of walking tours. Now, even offbeat places are not far behind in this. “Rural trails in Himachal or Kerala can be eye-opening. But the most underrated city is Mumbai,” Gothoskar adds.
Make your bucket-list
India’s innumerable tourist places will leave you spoilt for choice. “Madurai, Puri, Guruvayur, Mount Abu, Rishikesh and Thiruvannamalai let you savour our religious heritage. Destinations like Ooty, Kodaikanal, Mussoorie, Nainital, Kufri and Darjeeling showcase our colonial heritage. Goa is unique in its Portuguese-influenced heritage, while Gangtok and Kalimpong’s heritage is influenced by the neighbouring countries,” Lalvani shares.
Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi 6, Jaisalmer, Hampi, Pondicherry, Champaner, Varanasi, and Khajuraho are places that Harsha and Richa recommend.
Europe is leading the list of most popular international destinations for heritage travel. Countries like France, Spain, Italy, Eastern Africa and South America are on the top of the charts too.
Hans Christian Andersen was correct in saying: To Travel is to Live.