In Covid world, an exotic tour worth exploring

By Our Reporter

Join us and explore Ganga in an immersive and unique way

With Covid-19 bringing the tourism sector to a literal halt, three enterprising people have come together with the concept of a virtual tour to replicate the joys of travelling real time.

Nitin Utreja

Melbourne-based Nitin Utreja and Saurabh Mishra and Varanasi-based Rakesh Roshan have created vyatra, a series of live, interactive guided virtual journeys of places that are sacred, spectacular or difficult to get to. Accompanied by live music performances, travellers can experience uniquely immersive journeys with their family and friends.

The word “yatra” in Hindi means a journey, and hence v-yatra is a virtual journey.

Saurav Mishra

This coming Sunday, October 18, vyatra is conducting the “Mystical Ganga” tour at 1pm AEDT (7:30 AM IST).  The itinerary is a journey along the river Ganges, from its origins in the breathtaking heights of the Himalayas to its serene flow in the vast Indo-Gangetic plain. It will also cover iconic places such as Kedarnath, Rishikesh and Varanasi. All this will be accompanied by soulful live classical and folk music as well as absorbing storytelling.

“The event costs 49 dollars to register and participants will be given a Zoom link where they go on a virtual tour for 90 minutes,” says Utreja, adding, “With up to 20 local people involved in delivering each vyatra Mystical Ganga session, this endeavour is pumping money back into these tourism-dependent economies that have been otherwise devastated by the lockdowns.”

Rakesh Roshan

Utreja says the October 18 event will be special because Kedarnath is about to get closed for the season. “This one of the last opportunities for a lot of people to join and visit Kedarnath.”

Mystical Ganga had its first run in September with close to 90 attendants. “We believe our venture is one of the first of its kind,” says Utreja.

The founders believe this is a unique way of helping people connect with and experience divine bliss. “Each of us has deeply felt the joy of traveling to and connecting with a place and all that it stands for—its sights and sounds, its history, its way of life. And we know full well that this is a sentiment shared by very many.”

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