Customised travel guides for the Indian globe trotter

Lonely Planet is a must read for all those bitten by the travel bug. But now the publication has gone one step further and customised its books for the Indian traveller.

Their latest offering has 10 Indian travel writers providing nuggets of information such as where to stay, where to eat, and what to see to the desi globe trotter.

Tailor-made to domestic needs and sensibilities, it also touches upon the sensitivities of each country and what one can do and not do when they are visited.

Anjaly Thomas, who has authored the Lonely Planet guide on Dubai, says she has written the volume keeping in mind traditional Indian families and not backpackers. “Dubai is a cultural hot-spot and people from 150 countries have made it their home. It is an expensive city but I have written for those who want to economise as well as splurge.”

Since Dubai follows Islamic guidelines, Indian travellers need to know the local rules. “There are certain dos and don’ts for foreign travellers… and those must be respected.”

Puja Kshatiya, who has penned some portions of the travel guide on Singapore for niche travellers, says the art scene is thriving in the island. “We have affordable art fairs and art works go under the hammer. There is the Red Sea Gallery which showcases Chinese art. Singapore has museums and is an eclectic mix of East and West."

Pallavi Aiyar, who has written on China, has gone into an exhaustive account about cuisines and places for sightseeing. “Introducing my adopted home, China to my birth home, India, was a fabulous opportunity. I specially loved helping the vegetarian diner navigate the carnivorous wilds of Chinese cuisine,” she says.

Ambika Behal, who wrote on Hong Kong realised that the country has more to offer than meets the eye. “While writing the travel guide I underwent a catharsis, spending hours climbing up to the peak, then sailing around on Hong Kong’s wonderful ferry system to all the small islands.”

C.Y. Gopinath and Meraj Shah (Thailand), J. Vasudevan (Singapore), A. Mahapatra (Bhutan), S. Sehgal (Great Britain), Kunal D’Souza (London), S. Coelho (France) and K. Alkat (Italy) are some of the other authors.

Interestingly, the authors were not randomly handpicked. They went through a gruelling session before final approval. Eighty travel writers attended a workshop in Gurgaon last year where they were explained the ethos and editorial policies of Lonely Planet. “We send them on a road trip. Later, they filed their stories. Those who had flair for travel writing and were impartial were given the go-ahead,” explains Sesh Seshadri, general manager of Lonely Planet India.

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