What happens when three friends from diverse professional fields decide to take their passion of travelling to another level? With a motto of ‘Taking a Break’ No Thepla Holidays is shaking up the travel scenes in India and what’s more is that they have emerged from Pune – the cultural city of India. We spoke to the two-year old start-up ‘No Thepla Holidays’ on how their contributions in this field are changing India’s image at the international arena. Here are some excerpts from an interview with Arjun Malhotra:
1. Is ‘No Thepla Holidays’ inspired by the Gujarati snack?
No Thepla Holidays is a brainchild of the three founders of the travel start-up which includes Sanaya Ghandy, Ayesha Ghandy and Arjun Malhotra. The concept of No Thepla Holidays was conceived by Sanaya who had gone along with her three friends for a road trip to Spain in 2013. Two of her friends had carried loads and loads of Theplas and it was on Theplas that the three survived the whole trip whenever they were hungry. That’s how Sanaya conceptualized the idea of the Start Up, ‘No Thepla Holidays’. The idea is not to provide conventional holidays but to do more offbeat locations. All three of us are hard-core foodies and we love to explore the local food wherever we can.
Also there is a misconception that we are a Gujarati based travel start-up but that’s not true. We are all tied to Gujarat in our own ways; Ayesha and Sanaya are Parsi (and speak the bawa version of Gujju) and I am Punjabi though I’ve lived for a long while in Ankleshwar (between Surat and Baroda).
2. What are your upcoming trips?
We plan our trips keeping in mind the International events and festivals that are happening around the globe. For our coming trip we are going to Amsterdam where we are going to attend the Music festival Rock Werchter where the line-up includes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, Florence & the Machine etc. and in the past it had included artists such as Cold Play, Metallica etc.
We have also started to concentrate more on activities and thus have now started scuba diving trips as both Sanaya and Ayesha are scuba divers. We mostly do backpacking trip or party trips and are starting to do customised trips for our clients. We prefer staying in hostels with sometimes in home stays and mostly avoid staying in hotels in order to meet other travellers who are strangers so that one can strike the best conversation with other travellers.
4. Is the Indian traveller changing today?
The Indian traveller is changing; they are ready to explore more of the outside world. Indians are no more looking to travel in a bus load full of Indians nor do they want to eat every meal in an Indian restaurant. The Indian travellers today want to experiment; they want to try local food and do more fun-filled activities.
5. Have you guys had a funny incident while travelling?
On one of our trips a Gujarati client along with two Maru [Marwadi] girls who are also purely vegetarian carried a whole box of theplas with them. While we were supposed to go for the party these girls were eating theplas and one by one we all started eating theplas until this Gujju client of us came and said isn’t the No Thepla founders eating Theplas themselves. It was a real funny moment for us.
6. How much does an average trip cost?
Our Cambodia and South East Asia trips has been on an average of 35K to 45K and a trip to Europe can go up to 80K. The trip cost includes of all the stay, commute, safety, food, camp sites etc. depending upon the trip and location to where one is travelling. Till date, we have done eight international trips, two customised trips, five weekend trip in India and three corporate off sites.
7. Where do we see ‘No Thepla Holidays’ two years down the line?
Two years down the line we would like to do more international trips but at the same time we would also like to keep our calendar full of local trips. We want to go local as well with the idea that No Thepla does things differently. As a one stop shop for offbeat and unconventional trips.