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Your wanderlust for all things off-beat finds new avenue
PAWANPREET KAUR  12th Aug 2012

Jasleen Bhasin of Shoes on Loose with women in a village in Rajasthan

oes your idea of travel go beyond a walk through the mall-road in a cluttered hill town? Have biscuit-hued fortresses of desert provinces lost their charms? Well then, there's hearty news for the incorrigible traveller in you.

Shoes on Loose, an offbeat travel company, helps you find that perfect getaway which you have always longed for — slightly out-of-the-box, wildly engaging and superlatively enjoyable. Founded by three IIT Delhi graduates, the fledgling company formally began operations earlier this year and has already garnered a good response from its fast increasing clientele base.

Says Jasleen Bhasin, one of the founders, "We used to travel extensively throughout college and often found ourselves looking for places that were a little off the tourist-radar." In November last year, when the trio took a bunch of friends on a surfing trip to Kodi Bengre Beach, Karnataka, they realised they could turn this passion into something more concrete. "And thus, Shoes on Loose was born," she says.

So far, Shoes on Loose has organised five trips to places such as Warwan Valley in Kashmir, Narkanda and Tattapani in Himachal and Jaisalmer. Before floating a trip, the team personally does a recce to put in place all arrangements, which includes liaisoning with the locals and scouting for beyond-the-ordinary things to do and places to see. "We understand that for the modern traveller, time is always a constraint. So we try to keep the trips light, spread them over a weekend, keep the itinerary interesting, customise trips and experiment quite a bit," says Bhasin.

What's more, the young entrepreneurs' idea of 'offbeat' goes beyond the destination itself and so clients can look forward to engaging in activities or partaking in rare pleasures that unimaginative, run-of-the-mill vacations fail to include. Vacationers can expect treats to a rare 36-course Wazwan spread in the silent meadows of the Warwan Valley (Kashmir), get to witness the myriad stages of evolutionary history during a walk in the Budher caves in Chaktara (Uttarakhand) and even go snorkelling in Netrani Island (Karnataka), the only spot off the Indian mainland where one can do so. "The idea is to make the trip an experiential one, where our clients get to enjoy the local flavour – meet craftsmen, local residents, savour local cuisine and even have home-stays," the young entrepreneur adds.

The group is also floating concept trips, such as photography trips for avid shutterbugs or music trips where one can meet Rajasthani folk musicians or fruit tours in the orchards of Himachal and Uttarakhand. "One trip we'll be doing very soon is the Janmashtami trip to Rajasthan where we will take our group to Mandawa, a fascinating town that is almost like the large open art-gallery," says Bhasin.

In addition to this, Shoes on Loose organises the Gurgoan Midnight Run, inviting people to just run through the sprawling nocturnal metropolis. "What began as a casual session with a handful of friends is fast developing into a monthly highlight with a social message in tow and we're planning to start something similar in Delhi and Chandigarh soon," she says.

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