VANA meaning ‘forest’ in Sanskrit is the cradle of life from which food, art and culture are derived; the place where our own travel journey began and the inspiration for the experiences we curate.
Avijit and Monika Sarkhel share a deep passion for the natural world and diverse indigenous culture of India’s forest and mountain communities. With over 30 combined years of travelling extensively and creating unique itineraries for leading tour operators from across the globe, they have also nurtured their own collection of tribal art and regional recipes, as well as develop a valuable network of friends and associates in a wide number of specialised fields.
Avijit is a naturalist at heart and by profession. In the early stages of his career, he spent an enormous amount of time guiding in India’s tiger reserves, particularly central India, where he returns as often as he can. He has travelled widely in the Himalaya, in search of snow-leopards and remote kingdoms. Avijit is a keen birder and has seen over 90% of India’s 1100+ bird species. More recently, his explorations through the wild habitats of the mountainous North-Eastern states have enriched Vana Safaris' ability to offer new and interesting tours to this lesser-known region.
Monika has spent much of her travel career researching and designing bespoke food, textile and art tours to specialist international groups, which in turn, has enabled her to deepen her own interest and understanding of her native culture. Monika loves to cook, often experimenting with local ingredients and lending her support to organisations looking to develop their menus. She is inspired by the work of sustainable grassroots organisations that seek to preserve India’s natural and cultural heritage, involving herself in volunteering programs across the country.
Avijit and Monika created VANA Safaris as a way to share their knowledge and enthusiasm of their homeland with like-minded, discerning travelers. They partner with international tour operators to bring you the very best experiences, and select the best guides and logistics partners for the tours they offer. They also support a number of charitable causes.
VANA Safaris Pvt Ltd is a registered travel company as per the Companies Act. When you travel with VANA Safaris, your money is safe and secure.