Crazy call of the wild
By Meera Bhardwaj | Published: 17th February 2018 10:00 PM |
Gaining global recognition for his nature and wildlife photography, IIM-Ahmedabad graduate Alankar Chandra turned his passion and invaluable experience as an avid traveller across continents into a successful business. “It was a visit to the Ranthambore National Park in 2009 that kindled my interest in wildlife,” says the Delhi-based entrepreneur, whose photographs have been widely published. “Right after finishing my studies at IIM, I joined HSBC. And after I learned the nitty-gritties of the profession, I launched my start-up Wild Voyager in November 2016.”
Wild Voyager takes people looking for experiential travel on curated journeys to exotic, natural and wild heritage sites around the world. During the course of his photography trips, Alankar learned that there was a good scope for niche and experiential travel. “People want to pay a premium to travel with experts or go to remote destinations. So that was the key idea behind starting Wild Voyager. We arrange destinations in India and other countries either as a photography tour or customised family/friends tour,” he says.
Till date, he has conducted over 30 trips, including domestic locations such as Ranthambhore, Bera, Kaziranga, etc and locations like Masai Mara (Kenya) and Iceland. This year, he has planned a lot of new destinations, notably Antarctica, North Pole, Madagascar and Amazon rain forests.
As part of their photography learning tours, either Alankar accompanies the groups or some member of their core team does. They have fixed departure tours lined up for Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Iceland and Eastern Europe. “A tour is planned based on my own experiences. For our fixed departure tours, we have a definite schedule, and for customised tours, we can organise the client’s trip for the same locations as per their preferences,” the Wild Voyager CEO says.
During his travels, Alankar has researched some of the remotest wilderness corners of the world and so has set up the ground logistics in these places for a good trip. “We are in a position where we combine local destination knowledge with management skills and understand the needs of a traveller.”
Elaborating on his experiences in the wild, Alankar says each day is different from the other. “Even after sighting diverse wildlife from around the world, each day, I go as a beginner.” Spotting the blue whale in Sri Lanka for the first time from a 100-ft distance was a surreal experience. He adds, “Documenting my first cat hunt in Kenya, I saw a cheetah hunting down an impala in Masai Mara. An experience I can never forget.”