India draws in fewer tourists than countries like Singapore, which is smaller than India’s capital New Delhi. Gaurav Athalye and Kaustubh Upadhye want to lure you into discovering India’s wild side with their venture, Junglelore.
Do you dream of calming sounds of the jungle, while your nights are vexed by unrelenting sounds of vehicles that drive through city roads late into the night? Do you wish you could replace the mind numbing ring of your alarm clock with the gentle chirping of birds in the morning? Gaurav Athalye and Kaustubh Upadhye can help you escape to the life you dream of. A former banker, Gaurav, has more than 15 years of experience trekking the Sahyadris and Himalayas. Kaustubh claims to know the mountains like you would know your city. With the aim of introducing travellers to wildlife, Himalayan and adventure tourism, the duo founded Junglelore in 2009, a unique travel boutique that thrives on offbeat destinations.
Athalye says “We started by doing simple treks, taking people for trips, while we were juggling with our jobs. We did some photo exhibitions. We did one on unknown forts of Maharashtra then we did one of wildlife. People did encourage us a lot, when we were doing that. There came a time when we had to really decide whether we wanted to give it a complete focus and attention. That’s when we decided to quit our jobs in 2009.”
Having quit their own corporate lives, the travelling duo now helps companies plan off-sites, help employees unwind with jungles as the backdrop. Junglelore also allows companies to pair their CSR activities with the fun holiday for the team. Spreading the love of wilderness, Junglelore partners with schools and helps organise student safaris, nature trails and a chance to understand India outside of its cities. Clearly, it’s found takers as the duo hopes to close the year with revenues of Rs 4 crore. But what’s next?
Athalye says, “We are planning to get into a travel portal which will benefit consumers in planning and customising their wildlife vacations. Recently, we also launched a new initiative called 1855 where we were targeting photographers. So, there were some exciting deals for people who joined for these trips. Essentially, we had some really reputed photographers who would accompany people on these trips and take classroom sessions, be hands on with them, while they were doing their safaris, have feedback sessions and give them a holistic view of photography.”
With trips offered at prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, Junglelore also provides end-to-end services at lucrative rates to other travel agents and tour operators. Catering to those who want to carry a piece of the jungle with them is the Junglelore store that offers t-shirts and other travel gear. While Junglelore already has an international presence with operations in Africa, the travelling entrepreneurs now look to try their hands at spas and tribal tourism.