Unexplored Bastar – Tourism with Impact
Unexplored Bastar is a travel startup based on social entrepreneurship model from Bastar, Chhattisgarh. It is focused on sustainable tourism through community based approach. Seven years back, Unexplored Bastar started as a Facebook page but its actual journey as a Tourism Promotion Agency and Travel organization started in 2016 when one of the co-founder of Facebook page Jeet Singh Arya decided to leave the corporate and work on ground level for the Tourism promotion of Bastar and involving local tribal community in Tourism sector and since then Unexplored Bastar has been working tirelessly along with endorsing the various natural as well as historical sites present in Bastar and its endowed tribal culture to the populous in Indian subcontinent and outside.
It started offering exclusively customized Bastar tour packages through social media infusion and with an active participation of various stakeholders in these tours categorized under Bastar Eco Tours, Bastar Adventure Tours and Bastar Ethno Tours or Bastar Cultural tour, it enabled successful implementation of the same proposed activities. Meanwhile, Unexplored Bastar also started organizing several other promotional events with the support from Chhattisgarh Tourism Board, District Administration of Bastar and Dantewada and other local partners in the lieu to change the perception of the visitors who thought of Bastar as a conflict zone. The entire approach is also followed by large-scale involvement of local tribal people with the support of APS, a NGO from Bastar which in addition led to generate livelihoods for them. This included activities like providing stay to tourists at their home, their assistance as local guides and opportunity to sell their mass-produced handicrafts to tourists visiting Bastar. Presently, Unexplored Bastar is impacting lives of 200+ bastar tribal youths.
Unexplored Bastar has a tie-up with an NGO, named APS, which has trained approximately 240 local tribal people in tourism and hospitality sector to enhance their livelihood opportunities. These local communities are the real service providers of Unexplored Bastar for implementation of different innovations at grass-root level. They work structurally by forming SHGs at Chitrakote, Tirtha, Dantewada, Palnaar, Phoolpad, Dholkal and Barsoor. Hence, Unexplored Bastar has created ample opportunities for sustainable employment of all tribals.
While many travel startups are focusing on technological advancements, Unexplored Bastar’s objective is to augment travel experience at Bastar. In future, they plan on scaling their venture forward with promoting other remote areas in the heartland of Odisha and other North-Eastern states.
1. Reliving Adventure – It offers adventure sports at Chitrakote waterfalls (India’s widest waterfall) like flying fox, river crossing, zorbing, trekking, climbing, hiking, camping etc.
2. Experiencing Tribal Culture – As Bastar is the soil of tribal communities and hence Unexplored Bastar showcases the tribal culture – their festivals, fairs, handicrafts, Rituals (Devgudis & Matagudis) and their lifestyle (tribal homestays and tribal food) to visitors.
3. Appreciating Nature – Since Bastar is blessed with large and dense forests, the tourists get to sensitize natural elements. Moreover, they customise the tour as per the likings of the visitors and offer trained tribal guides who have the expertise in the respective areas to enhance their travel experience.
While many travel startups are focusing on technological advancements, Unexplored Bastar’s objective is to augment travel experience at Bastar. In future, they plan on scaling their venture forward with promoting other remote areas in the heartland of Odisha and other North Eastern states.
Jeet Singh Arya, co-founder of Unexplored Bastar is a passionate traveler and has traveled across most Indian states covering various remote areas. He has been always engrossed towards experiencing diverse tribal cultures in different parts of India. After a corporate stint as a researcher and partner at a research and consulting organization, he decided to focus on his extreme liking towards travelling and promote tourism in his homeland Bastar while promoting local livelihood opportunities for the tribal communities of Bastar.
Mr. Jeet Singh Arya was invited to Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur as a speaker for TEDx IIMRaipur. He was also invited as a speaker at India’s first Global Tribal Entrepreneurship Summit organized by Dantewada district administration in support of NITI Aayog.
Bindu, Social Media Manager, is an engineering graduate. But her expertise is totally variant to her academics. Unexplored Bastar provides her ample opportunities to follow her passion of writing and exploring the unexplored places. Through writing blogs and contents for various social media accounts, she brings out the hidden beauty of Bastar in words. She also worked as a Trainer and Community Mobilizer at APS.
Rohima Paul, Business Development, is a crucial link, who comes with innovative ideas for our social entrepreneurship model and links market with the concerned niche. Graduate in Tourism Studies, she is the first person you will meet when you enter our office, who always welcomes with a warm smile. When in office, she augments all the business models, while in field, she manages all the operations. She also worked as a trainer in hospitality sector in an aviation company.
Vijendra Raikwar, Creative Head , a creative personality to demonstrate the link between nature and our intervention. A art graduate from Amity University, Noida, he is a professional in animation with specialization in concept art but he has expertise equally in traditional as well as modern art. Although working as a Medical Illustrator, he has the quest to design more of graphics and creatives.
Sonsay Nag, Logistics Manager of Unexplored Bastar, with an infectious smile, from Dhurwa tribe. He manages all the logistics and operations and acts as a link between the tribal community and tourists. You will find him in the field, most of the time, engaging the SHGs involved in tourism activities and managing all the operations. He is a full time certified guide from Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. He also guides tourists and make them aware about the rich cultural heritage and biodiversity of the unexplored land of Bastar. Apart from these activities, he is also pursuing his graduation.
Ashish Pandey, CEO, Bastar KPCL, is our lead to promote organic farming and millets of Bastar. Tourists get to know about the indigenous farming products and also the farming techniques of Bastar by connecting through the farmers of KPCL. The aroma of Bastar products acts as the required souvenir to visit Bastar again.
Udesh Kumar Katchh, Tour Guide, is a passionate personality from the tribal community. He is also a full time certified tour guide from Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. Exploring the unexplored places while trekking and availing all the information to our tourists is his stronghold area.
Mayank Nirmalkar, Tour Guide, is a man of the moment. Joined as a trainee under Tourism course, he is now a member of our organization. He is also a full time certified guide from Chhattisgarh Tourism Board. He engages all the tour groups with his jolly attitude.
Apart from it there are 20+ individuals who are supporting us on part time basis.