Himalaya and Golden Triangle tour, India

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This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Himalaya and Golden Triangle tour, India

Environment

We put a lot of thought in working with local providers for your trip, making sure that everyone involved is committed to sharing advice on how best to leave a lighter footprint. We promote excursions which foster a more sustainable tourism and commit to maintaining small-group sizes to limit negative environmental impacts in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site.

We have a recycling policy in our UK and local offices and re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. Moreover, we do not produce a glossy brochure, concentrating on a comprehensive website, and providing as much information to our travelers as possible electronically, reducing the use of paper and inks.

In the sacred Haridwar you will visit, the holy river Ganga runs clean and clear, its water is safe to drink and even regarded as high quality. We will make sure everyone involved in your trip is giving their best to respect and keep the Ganga river and its environment as clean as possible. We are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all your excursions through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible.

This is especially important to us in the sacred places of Dharamsala or in the first Heritage Village in Pragpur, located in the panoramic Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. Pragpur was founded in the late 16th century and its local population has held onto the essence of their rich history and heritage. Through your visit you will contribute to the maintenance of its ornamented fort-like houses, havelis and villas, its unchanged shops, cobbled stone streets, old water tanks, mud-plastered walls and slate-roofed houses.

You will visit and contribute to the maintenance of the Golden Temple and its symbolic meaning of human brotherhood and equality. With its unique Sikh architecture, it is built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, teaching the lesson of egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all four directions, signify that people belonging to every walk of life are equally welcome.

On this tour, as much as possible we will give preference to slow, possibly non-motorized forms of mobility, such as with city walks in Pragpur or Dehradun. If motorized forms are unavoidable, we make sure that vehicle sizes are as small as appropriate and proper licensing on vehicles and certifying to national emission standards are maintained.

The resorts we have picked for you on this trip subscribe to harness a healthy, green clean policy both for local communities and for their staff, such as the heritage hotel Haveli Hari Ganga. It is a traditional and ornately decorated residence, which was a 100 year old Haveli restored into a hotel by the Leisure Hotels group, with rooms adorned with antique arabesque, and beds made of stone. The group helps to conserve natural resources (non-conventional energy resources, controlling weed that helps conserving precious wood, recycling of bio-degradable waste and converting it for positive uses, promoting the Mahasheer fish conservation in its natural habitat and also trying to enhance bird density which would have a bearing on the overall bio-diversity of the region).

They also promote Environmental awareness programmes, support local school groups in environmental education activities, and support Wildlife Management (providing infra-structural facilities for workshops and conferences related to wildlife conservation, motivating forest personnel by way of rewards for meritorious services, providing tactical support in patrolling).

Also the Ananda Spa we have chosen for your trip has taken some bold steps in social and environmental sustainability. In an effort to eradicate the use of plastic water bottles, Ananda set up its very own water plant and now uses only reusable glass bottles that are bottled at this plant. This initiative has been able to reduce 2300 kilos of plastic waste created by used water bottles annually. The menu at Ananda highlights the philosophy of better living, by providing food enriched with the vivid flavour of locally sourced, organic vegetables and herbs.

Community

We make sure we only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, giving back to their families and communities.

While many operators pay per day or per tour, our guides receive an hourly rate which allows a fair and fruitful reward for their expertise. We provide staff with written employment contracts and fair working conditions (e.g. overtime payment, national wage requirements, no discrimination, grievance mechanisms in place and no child labour).

Furthermore we ensure that our drivers do not more than 9 hours of driving per day and are provided adequate accommodation and do not drive at night (with the exception of airport pick-ups/drop-offs). After a driving period of 4.5 h the driver must take a break of at least 45 min. Our tour guides also receive special training in how to leave a lower impact on the trips and in regional conservation projects.

Through your visit at the Ananda Spa, you will help keep alive the traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda. By joining the weekly Kirtan singing performance by the young students of Ramana Seva Samiti at the Ashram, you will contribute to a local Orphanage and Education Centre. In 2014 the Ananda Spa also launched the Women’s Empowerment Initiative. Through this program you can join hands with Ananda in supporting the underprivileged women of the surrounding Uttarakhand community through a voluntary contribution. The contribution is collectively being used towards formal vocational education of the underprivileged women of Uttarakhand.

You will also support local communities by staying at on of the Leisure Hotels, as the group provides livelihood and support to more than 250 families directly or indirectly, training and capacity building programmes for the local unemployed youth and Nature Guide training as well as an outlet for the marketing of the locally made handicraft.

If you want to do additional shopping, we will take you to local markets, for example to the wooden crafts market in Shimla, where locals of that very region craft their products to help keep the money earned in that very community. We make sure we change the selected shops, restaurants and markets on a rotating basis to distribute the income to the local communities more evenly. Also we make sure food stops are at locally owned cafes or restaurants and give customers recommendations on locally owned shop and restaurants, especially new start-ups.

We ensure customer awareness by familiarizing our guests with local history, culture, religions and traditions, by informing on culturally appropriate behavior, (e.g. dress codes for religious sites, taking photographs of people, language tips, etc.).

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