The Ganges, Taj and Raj

In January 1978, Peregrine’s Himalayan Operations Director, Mick Chapman picked up a group of people from the Delhi airport and took them to see the Taj Mahal. And that was the start of Peregrine tours in India.

Mick was our very first leader, responsible for over 70 treks in Kashmir, Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. Being on one of his trips to India in those early days must have been pretty incredible!

Today, the flame has been passed and we now employ local leaders to take you into the heart and soul of their country. Rani is one of our Indian leaders, and we spoke to him about what it’s like to be a Peregrine local leader today:

What does India mean to you?
Coming to India shows you exactly what hospitality means. The world is very modern but, coming to India, there is something unchanging about the traditions: ethics, values and the people being modern also.
They love. They love. India is something which makes you feel love. That’s something special about my country.

If there’s only one thing you could show someone in the whole of India what would it be?
I’m very proud to be Indian and especially coming from Rajasthan, the colourful Rajasthan, the glorious Rajasthan, land of the Kings. It’s amazing. I love my country. That’s the most important thing because hospitality is in our blood which makes us very efficient and professional local leaders.

For me, the most favourite part in the entire country is Rajasthan. What really attracts me is the culture, the colours, the vibrancy. You’ve got the big cities with fantastic palaces and forts and then you go into the rural areas and you’ve got tribes and you’ve got people still living the way they’ve always lived, so there’s a huge diversity and it’s all very attractive.

And I find whoever we take into these areas, they come back with a phenomenal experience of understanding the local culture and interacting with the people – just the diversity.

What is it about your trips that clients love the most?
I think it’s the way we run the trips. And what really what comes out is our leaders are actually from these areas. So the doors open – you have experiences with people which are real experiences and I think that’s what makes a lot of difference.  So it’s not just taking people in a capsule and you’re just looking at sights and sounds, you’re actually feeling it.  From a sightseeing tour to some of the palaces and forts to meeting families and doing special interest activities - I think it’s the experience, the real experience is what clients tend to really take back with them.

If you had someone who was visiting India just for one day, what’s the one thing you’d say they have to see?
Well if it’s just for one day, it has to be the Taj. It’s so difficult to put in words. I mean, there are so many books written about the Taj, there are so many coffee table books but when you actually go there and see it, it just blows your mind.

I’ve been there a thousand times myself, but every time I go it looks different. I’m still in awe of it. I’ve travelled there with hundreds and hundreds of people and I’m yet to come across somebody who has not sort of gone, “Wow”. 

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