DESIGNER CREDITS: ARAVIND AZHAGAPPA
Founder | India Trail
Past | Grant Thornton | Arthur Andersen
Chief Traveller | India Trail | Blogger
Rohan started his career as a Chartered Accountant focusing on Risk Advisory and Operational Consulting. 11 years on, he decided it was time to shift the emphasis from large corporations and businesses to pursue his interests. In 2011, he started PledgeBack to assist non profit organisations, social enterprises and entrepreneurs with advisory services and in 2012, he started The India Trail – to help people discover the vast diversity India has to offer.
Today, the businesses are linked. They work with people in the areas they operate and try to assist social organisations, generate employment and promote entrepreneurship. They ensure that their travel options complement the social and economic requirements of these areas while also attempting to educate the guests about the region, the people, the history and the culture so as to completely appreciate the area they are in.
Coffee With Stayzilla: A Conversation With Rohan Abraham
1. Can you tell us a little about India Trail?
We all get caught up with the routines of our lives. While many people love it, there are quite a few of us who can’t handle it continuously and for long periods of time. That’s one of the main reasons India Trail was formed. To take that step off the regular path and try something different. It isn’t us that we are talking about – it is for you.
Since our inception in 2013, and with the addition of David in 2014, we have explored much of the wonderful North East of India, made some lovely friends, designed experiences that involve history, culture, food, adventure, arts and crafts and well…. the likes.
Soon we will launch our Tour of Nagaland and Trek LeaderBoard competitions and some other very niche experiences.
That is what we believe is India Trail.
2. Nagaland or Kerala? (If you had to choose one)
This is a really tough one. I really love both places. Now if I had to choose one, I would answer this in the context of my life at present… It would definitely be Nagaland. I have never felt so welcomed, nor have I met such wonderful and cultured people ever before.
I must admit, spending time in Nagaland has made me realise how little I really know of Kerala and my own people. It has sparked a sense of curiosity in me, and I am determined to follow up on that. Who knows where that journey of mine will lead me.
3. You have spent a lot of time in the south and the North East of India. What are some cultural observations — alike and/or contrastive?
I can’t speak for the whole of the North East and neither can I do that for South India, but what I can share is what I have experienced in the places that I have visited so far. I think there is an unspoken bond between the people of both regions. I find they seem to get along with each other very easily and with very little effort from both sides.
Culturally, I feel the north east has held on to its roots much closer and stronger than most communities in the South and this is a huge draw for our guests.. They get to immerse themselves in another culture and well, almost participate it in. The connection between age groups, families, clans, villages and tribes in the north east is very strong for the most part. Perhaps at one time, this might have been the case in the South too, or perhaps I will only discover this when I head down on my discovery expedition.
4. Why the North East?
It isn’t only the North East. Soon we will expand across the country but the North East was the first destination of choice because I knew so little of the area despite having so many friends from the region. I just had to change that. I had to break some of my barriers… And here I am. It has been three years now – I love it so much I have shifted base there.
5. Which one would you choose and why?
Tree house | Jungle house | Boat house | Hill top house | Beach house | Tent | Skyscraper
This is an easy one. Most definitely a house on top of the hills. Mountains have always had this calming and soothing effect on me. If you have ever had a chance to see the photographs I take, it would be abundantly clear as most of them are views of hills, mountains, clouds and valleys and sometimes with a sunset thrown in. I can’t think of a better place to have a home.