Tailor-made holiday specialist Yonder has launched new immersive family experiences in India that give children the chance to paint trucks in Jodhpur and learn about organic farming in Jaipur. Emily Eastman reports
Not only are adults becoming more intrepid and desirous of authentic, untouristy encounters, but children too, thanks to parents who want them to learn more about the countries they are visiting and the socio-economic differences they are confronted with.
In recognition of this, Yonder, which specialises in experience-led trips around Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Burma, has designed a series of immersive activities that show children the “real” India, and give them a chance to interact with locals and learn about their jobs and way of life.
Yonder has particular inside knowledge of the little-known Andaman and Nicobar Islands, although its itineraries also encompass India’s Golden Triangle and Goa, renowned for its beaches that stretch along the Arabian Sea.
The company’s so-called team of “escapologists” curate hand-picked boutique hotels that they have personally sampled, and only recommend destinations that they have personally explored.
Those visiting India as a family now have the option of four new experiences specifically designed to engage and appeal to children, demonstrating how the “experience economy” is taking off in new directions.
Truck painting: Jodhpur
Truck art is popular in the northwest city of Jodhpur, where visitors will spot many vehicles decorated with bright floral patterns, calligraphy, religious symbols and messages to other drivers.
Travellers with Yonder can opt to spend time with Raja, a professional truck-painter who, alongside his team, transforms classic trucks into works of art on wheels. The experience will see families help Raja with his work, while learning about the history of truck art and the tricks of the trade.
Journalist for the day: Delhi
Balaknama newspaper is the voice of Delhi’s street children. It is run by young people who live and work on the streets. It aims to change people’s perceptions and offers a place for homeless children to write about their thoughts, issues and successes.
This Yonder experience is an opportunity to join the team, learn about the modern problems affecting Delhi’s street children and discover how they are working to forge a new identity for themselves.
The first edition of Balaknama was published in 2003 in Hindi. Today, it is published bi-monthly in both Hindi and English with a distribution of 4,000 copies of each issue.
Organic farming: Jaipur
Gain an insight into village life and learn how the students, villagers and farmers of Ghimjha are moving towards organic farming practices.
Guests will meet the young agriculture students at the local school before taking a walk to the village, where they will meet many of the villagers.
Lunch will be hosted at the organic farm – which is pioneering sustainable farming in the area – where participants will get an understanding of the positive impact it has had on the local community.
Tiger conservation: Rajasthan
A stay in Ranthambore National Park is combined with an experience with Tiger Watch, an NGO established to bridge the gap between government-employed rangers and the local communities that have been using the national park for generations.
Tiger Watch aims to educate communities on the benefits of local tiger populations. The experience is an opportunity to join monitoring patrols to chart tiger movements and go on safari to little-visited sections of the park.
How much does a Yonder trip in India cost?
The four experiences are available as part of a new 15-night itinerary that includes four nights in Delhi, three nights in Jodhpur, two nights in Nagaur, three nights in Jaipur and three nights at Ranthambore National Park.
Prices start from £3,400 per person including international and domestic flights and a private driver, based on a family of four sharing a room.