Environment Friendly Journeys

“We have one earth with limited resources. Let’s travel in a manner that each one of us is grateful to another.”

We all love to travel which can hurt the regions we are visiting and the people who live there. At Secrets of India we are passionate about making places better for people to live in and to visit.

Therefore, it has become even more important to think about the imprints we leave on places when we travel. After all, we all want future generations also to be able to enjoy the beautiful destinations we have visited. That’s why we have put together a few ways by which we can alleviate the impact of travel while making a positive difference to the people and planet.

Plastic Pollution: Do you know 1 million plastic bottles are produced every minute? Instead of carrying individually packaged water bottles in our vehicles, we keep a 20 ltr. mineral water dispenser and provide our guests with eco-friendly, reusable bottles, which they can replenish as per their requirement.

Carbon Footprint: To partially offset travellers’ carbon footprints we plant a tree in village Sihali Jageer of U.P. at the end of their journey.

Litter: We appreciate that during long journeys the guests may feel hungry. However, rather than bags of crisps or biscuits our driver keeps fruit baskets freshly bought each day.

Truly our endeavour is to fill each journey with incredible experiences and undertake it in a manner that promotes sustainable tourism. Therefore, join us and travel with us in a manner where concern for ecology is reflected in every step that we take.

Rishi Vatsyayana, the writer of the erotic treatise, Kamasutra takes up the case of a well-groomed garden and considers it to be a must in the house of a cultured person.

Perhaps the oldest reference to garden in Indian culture dates back to the epic Ramayana. It talks about Ashok Vatika and goes in details describing the trees, fruits, flora and fauna of the place. But it was under the Mughals that gardens in India saw a major efflorescence and they started upon a quest to build them in large numbers.

The Mughals had a great love for natural beauty and sought it enhance through creating gardens in picturesque spots with running water based on the principles of Chahar Bagh or Paradise Garden. Kashmir was especially loved and some of the finest Charbagh water gardens were created here. Shalimar, Nishat, Chashme Shahi, Pari Mahal, Achabal, Verinag together are known as Mughal Gardens.

Flowers blooming everywhere

One of the most magnificent and meticulously maintained Gardens in India. Mughals Gardens in the precincts of the President’s house in New Delhi draws its inspiration from the Mughal Gardens of Jammu and Kashmir, the gardens around the Taj Mahal and even miniature paintings of India and Persia. It was designed in 1917 but the plantings were done in 1928-29 and has 159 varieties of roses, 70 varieties of seasonal flowers and 50 varieties of trees. Click Here

Or, tigers watching you. Ride on an elephant’s back high above the tall grasses and experience the jungle come to life. See birds that have flown to India all the way from Siberia to escape its minus zero degrees temperature to hatch their young ones. And lose yourself in the colourful delights of those, which are native to the country.

Walk in the dense Western Ghats. One of the most biologically diverse places on earth. Witness insects scurrying around, the arboreal animals jumping from one tree branch to another, examine its flora and revel in its fauna.

In the majestic Himalayas in the north get up close to mountain animals. The north-east beckons you with its pride—the one-horned rhino. Further deep get in the company of Mahseer fish (their weight reaching 54 kg or 119 pounds). Then there is the world-famous Mangrove forest of Sundarbans hiding within its maze the Royal Bengal Tiger. In the west walk in the company of the King of the Jungle, the Asiatic Lions. Find tigers in abundance in Central India. And in south visit its national parks to see the serene elephants. While the seas are filled with tantalizing marine life.

Rest assured that India’s wildlife would never cease to amaze you. Click Here

With 104 national parks to choose from wildlife is roaring in India. Some of the most popular names would include Gir National Park (famous for Asiatic Lion in West), Kaziranga National Park (One horned Rhino; Northeast), Sundarbans (Royal Bengal Tiger; East), Jim Corbett (Tiger; Himalayan foothills), Pench (Tiger; Central India), Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary (Migratory Birds; West), Eravikulam (Nilgiri Thar and Elephants; South) and many others.

Up in the Himalayas

India is amongst the few countries that can rightfully claim to be home to the elusive Snow Leopards. Found in the upper reaches of the Himalayas in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh the sight of these 2-foot tall animals depends on a combination of perseverance, chance and plain luck.

Still it is an opportunity that one should always bank upon, if not anything than to understand why they are at the receiving end of the struggle for survival between humans and animals. Numbering not more than 450 to 500 and inhabiting sparsely vegetated climes the Snow Leopard tour also makes for an adventurous journey into a rarely visited eco-system. Click Here

Let music awaken your spiritual self

In music the soul finds its mooring. In the folk tales it discovers its yearnings. In poetry it unearths the deeper meanings.

And when the three rasas come together for four days at the World Sacred Spirit Festival it stirs the mind, body and soul. Join us from 15th evening to 18th morning in 2019 February at Jodhpur and witness the verses of Persian poetry mingle with the soulful Sufi music and captivating earthiness of folk songs from all over the world at the sprawling Rajputana Fort.

To understand how the days spent at World Sacred Spirit Festival can connect you to your inner self and at the same time to whole of the Universe Click Here.

As the music reaches its crescendo and electrifies the atmosphere it makes you wish that time never ended. You may feel like tapping your foot or dance to the floor but it also affects your spiritual side. A fine collection of the best of soulful folk renditions from various countries of the world covering genres as diverse as instrumental, vocal, poetry, tales of the wandering minstrels these largely forgotten heritage have been kept alive by a select few dedicated individuals.

So when you take part in World Sacred Spirit Festival you not only carry back with you an evocative experience but also play your part in keeping these traditions alive.

The World Sacred Music Festival at Jodhpur is organized by the erstwhile Maharaja in the land known for its martial vigour—Rajasthan.

A celebration of music & dance

Waves of the Bay of Bengal crashing against the eastern coast in the state of Odisha provides not just a backdrop but also acts as an accompaniment to the sounds of India’s classical and folk music and dance performances at Konark. A venue famous for its UNESCO World Heritage Sun Temple, the Konark Music and Dance Festival celebrates the country’s aesthetic and spiritual traditions while turning it into a grand multifaceted pageantry.

The barren brown Himalayas echoing the sound of stillness transports you into a world where it’s just you and your thoughts.

An unbelievable landscape—bare, barren and brown, devoid of any vegetation. Filled with emptiness. Inspiring awe. Where winds chime the music of loneliness and as you drive along the serpentine road you feel as if you have reached the last human frontier. With gurgling streams for the company, un-spoilt vista, which is home to pacifist Buddhist religion and hardy people.

Life is tough and moves at a leisurely pace inseparable with the nature. From mountaineering to trekking to “cliff-hanging” road trips there is a lot you can do. Or may be, if you are so inclined, you can even spend your time doing nothing. But whatever option you may choose to exercise rest assured that you will go back with an experience that you will always look upon with nostalgia.

Play football with little monks in Ladakh

Interacting with the inhabitants of the Rizong, watching them go about their daily chores or for that matter just being with them is an experience that stays with you.

Indeed, monsoons have been a life and breath in India, quenching thirst of its people and watering its agricultural fields. It has made the country prosperous and its plains fertile supporting mighty kingdoms that have left their imprints on the passage of time. The forts, palaces, cultural diversity and the rich pageantry would all have lost their sheen had it not been for the monsoons.

During monsoons India dons a new look. Right from the Thar Deserts in the western state of Rajasthan to the extreme Northeastern states, from Kerala in the South to the Himalayas in the North, colours bloom everywhere in the country. It is especially true in Kerala. Walking with an umbrella in your hands you amble through a landscape that is richly green.

In the Northeast you can visit Mawsynram, the wettest place in India. With rains washing the monuments the TajMahal and the forts of Rajasthan dazzle your eyes in the North and the West India. Or you can visit Central India, to fort-palace complex of Mandu that breathes to life during Monsoons reveling in the love story of King BazBahadur and Rani Rupmati.

India during Monsoons dons a refreshing new look. Lots of fun awaits you if you decide to visit the country during its life-giving rainy season.

ROORKEE: Many would say that 58-year-old Ramesh Bhateja’s hobby is quite an odd one to have, that of collecting newspaper clippings on toilets, but the same has bagged him a mention in this year’s Limca Book of Records (LMR), for collecting these pieces for over 20 years. Now, Bhateja, who is a septic tank contractor, wishes to help the state government in spreading awareness on sanitation and hygiene.

“The first time I collected a clipping was in Satara, Maharashtra, where a man had died inside a toilet. The story was very intriguing and I decided to keep the clipping. This happened in the late 1980s and ever since I have collected thousands of such pieces, mostly from Hindi newspapers,” said a visibly excited Bhateja.

The LBR edition has published Bhateja’s story with the title of ‘national record’. It mentions that he has a collection of 982 interesting newspaper clippings from 1996 to 2016. However, the collector says he has more than 2000 clippings, but all of them were not considered for the entry.

Some of these stories include that of the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had proposed to his wife, Cherie Booth in a toilet in 1976; Indian-origin American astronaut Sunita Williams talking about using toilets in space and the famed gold-plated bathroom of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and PhD researches on toilets.

Over a billion people, several hundred dialects, 29 states, and a cultural diversity that baffles the mind and cannot be put in words…Each of India’s states – and the uncountable villages within- has a distinct history, cultural markers and allure. It is a land of a thousand untold stories.




Route : Delhi – Leh – Thiksey – Stok – Lamayuru – Uleytokpo – Alchi – Leh – Delhi

As the pre-landing announcement to secure oneself by the seatbelt filtered its way to our ears, I felt goose bumps tingle my skin. No, it wasn’t that I was flying for the first time, or, for that matter, was setting my foot for the first time on the stark Ladakh landscape. Rather it was the expectation of what lay ahead… an experience of a fascinating lifestyle and the opportunity to interact with some of Ladakh’s not so well-known inhabitants that made me nervous and excited at the same time.

So follow our footsteps and experience Ladakh that’s tucked away from the prying eyes of the world.

The first stop – Thiksey Monastery

Apart from the rugged landscape, it is the Thiksey Monastery that has turned out to be Ladakh’s face. A beautiful old structure, commanding a majestic view of the surroundings perched on a hill top, it houses a two storey statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus, along with a temple dedicated to goddess Tara with her 21 images placed in glass-covered wooden shelves.


Thereafter to – Twin villages of Dha and Hanu

Watching the inhabitants of these two villages from close quarters you would be struck by their facial features. A far cry from the typical Mongoloid stock that inhabits the region, the denizens of Dha and Hanu belong to Indo-European stock. The people here lead a fascinating lifestyle, practicing polyandry and the women enjoy the right to divorce. Forming a part of the greater Brokpa villages, Dha and Hanu are the only two places that tourists are permitted to visit.


Play football with little lamas of Rodzong Nunnery

The meeting with the inhabitants of the Rodzong Nunnery fills you sweet memories. Interacting with them, watching them go about their daily chores and in general, just being with them, is an experience that stays with you. As you while away your time, if you prefer, playing football with the young lamas in a stark barren landscape you wonder at the contrast between the rock solid earth and the playfulness of the life.


Visit Alchi, interact with school children at Likri Monastery, River rafting at Zanskar, Drive to Khardung La, Explore Nubra valley and See Turtuk village

An 80 km drive that takes about 2 hours from Uleytokpoto takes you to the scenic bank of the rowdy Indus River. Not far from the gurgling waters lies your destination—Alchi. Otherwise a sleepy village, life in Alchi waxes and wanes with the tourist season. The months of a leisurely, even lazy lifestyle reverberates with activity as the summers arrive and brings with it people taking days off or to interact with the people or fill themselves with awe at the nature’s splendor.


At Alchi, as you chat with school children at Likri Monastery and soothe your adrenalin in the nerve wrecking waters of Zanskar River or drive to Khardung La on treacherous precipice, explore serene Nubra Valley and visit tiny Turtuk village, rest assured there will never be an experience like the ones offered by Alchi and its surrounding areas.