To focus on Rajasthan as the landscape for thrilling narratives is a win-win scenario, not for the traveller and but also for the people who help facilitate its explorations. Furthermore, if there are programmes which provide an itinerary driven by an insider’s viewpoint, it goes a long way in bringing attention to the local community and its environs. That in itself is pivotal to providing support for the sustainability of its culture and economic growth.
Akshat Mathur and Vipul Kumar, who are passionate about the preservation of Rajasthan’s astonishing heritage and culture, have helped stream of travellers to share some of this passion through their initiative– Virasat Experiences. Travels with Virasat are all about discovering the ‘Real Rajasthan” through rewarding insider engagements.
While Team Virasat has showcased its deep connections with Rajasthan’s most popular tourist destinations, the eye for detail makes their beautifully designed expert-led travel experiences exceptional. A small example of this kind of mindful thinking behind these programmes is the choice of a guide who will lead the tour so that one gets to mine the hidden gems of life beyond the tourist spots.
Much of this also comes from a deep love of knowledge of city planning, architecture, and interesting folklore. This effort is translated into bringing to the attention of the traveller hidden treasures such as an offbeat temple awash with fine frescoes and historic havelis. This can happen because of the amazing rapport with local communities, which share these gifts with Virasat’s team. In turn, Virasat is firm about how to make tourism more sustainable and beneficial for local communities. This ideology forms the core of their tours– whether it’s the Heritage Walks, Village Excursions, or special Workshops they arrange for guests.
The choice of destinations to showcase has also been carefully planned. Despite the mass tourism in cities like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur etc, Team Virasat realised that only a handful of popular monuments feature in city itineraries, whereas there is so much more to explore to get the pulse of these cities. These are simple, but deeply enriching activities, such as sampling some local food, visiting local markets, meeting with interesting people. All these cities have their distinct charms and character and, of course, some wonderful undocumented stories which they are inspired to share with their guests.
Virasat Experiences was born with the intention of how tourism can be used as a tool for conservation of Rajasthan’s heritage and customs. It also focuses greatly on how tourism can benefit local communities. Through its heritage walking tours, workshops, and village excursions, Team Virasat is able to offer unique and interesting experiences to guests on one hand, and to generate additional income for locals on the other. Also, they feel very strongly that there is a dire need for more women in the industry. Virasat is very proud of the fact that they have a healthy ratio of females on the team.
The local flavour of each interactive tour is spiced up with the insightful and unique aspects of a destination’s historical background, architecture, customs, crafts, and cuisine of the sites to be visited. Even as guests set off on journeys of discovery on an Art and Antiquities of Old Jaipur Walk, or the Stepwells and Temples tour of Jodhpur or the Udaipur Outback Tour, Virasat’s core values underpin each experience.
Refusing to rest on their laurels, as one of the most successful experience providers, Virasat has so much more planned for deepening engagement with other destinations in the state.
On the anvil are programmes such as explorations of the painterly medieval town of Bundi and its arounds; visiting the legendary folk musician villages around Jaisalmer; visiting an organic farm near Jaipur; a heritage walk in the golden city of Jaisalmer; exploring the Shekhawati region – the fantastic open art gallery spread across several small towns, et al. Also offered are customised cultural evenings by inviting classical folk singers in Jaipur for MICE travellers and special itineraries.