This Mumbai-based venture’s tag line of ‘Be Local, See Local’ says it all. Swadesee, derived from the Hindi word Swadeshi, which means local, co-curates and lists travel experiences entirely run by locals. For the purpose of these tours, which are primarily focused on Maharashtra and specifically in and around Mumbai, a local is defined as a person who not only physically resides close to the site of the experience, but also has a personal connection to the historical, cultural or natural heritage being discovered by travellers. This ensures that the local experts have a wealth of intangible and informal knowledge that cannot be obtained elsewhere, which results in interactive and engaging experiences. For instance, the Warli tour is  conducted by acclaimed artist Sanjay Parhad, who alsos conduct a hands-on session where travellers learn to draw and paint the tribal art form of Warli painting. Many of the tours include at least one local meal that literally gives travellers a taste of the place and its culture.

Price: Rs 500 to Rs 1,600, based on the experience

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Swadesee partners with local experts for the tours and the latter are free to join competition, ensuring their interests are at the core of the operations. The local experts decide the price of their tour. Plastic is actively discouraged while public transport is actively encouraged. The IP rights of local communities are given primary importance in any interaction between them and tourists.

Disclaimer: We have tried to ensure the operators listed here are responsible towards local communities and the environment. We, however, urge travellers to do additional checks when choosing an experience/accommodation.

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