Home to a dense tiger population, dynamic array of adventure activities, and mouth-watering local cuisine, Madhya Pradesh is primed to welcome delegates to AdventureNEXT India 3-5 December. For those who have never been to India before — and those rediscovering it again for the very first time — this trifecta of nature, culture, and activity paired with practical education and professional networking marks a new era for adventure tourism in the heart of India.
A cursory glance offers a glimpse of what the region offers: lush jungles, a kaleidoscopic splash of colors, early-morning fog hovering over 2,000-year-old palaces. But it’s not until they feel the sun on their shoulders, hear the raspy breathing of a Bengal tiger, and smell the sweet cardamom-flavored jaleibis that people are truly transported to the place that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book.” AdventureNEXT delegates will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in these experiences — and more — during 11 carefully curated Pre-Adventures, which they’ll enjoy in the days leading up to the regional event.
Tour operators leading AdventureNEXT Pre-Adventures share an inside look at the adventures delegates will participate in when they arrive in Madhya Pradesh.
Wildlife Viewing in Madhya Pradesh’s National Parks
Combining morning and evening game drives for optimal wildlife viewing in two particularly unique national parks with visits to local communities, this Pre-Adventure encompasses a 360-degree view of the rich region.
“This is Kipling’s forest, where the coexistence of tigers, leopards, wild dogs, and sloth bears come together. I am very excited to be able to showcase the coexistence of humans and wildlife together in the real ‘Jungle Book’ setting. These national parks are in some lesser-known areas, where wildlife as whole can be enjoyed. We all love to see tIgers, which we will have an opportunity to see, but to be able to appreciate so many other things around these forests and visit some of the communities which have hardly been visited by outsiders, is something special.” – Amit Sankhala, Encounters Asia, Wild India: Pench to Satpura
With nine national parks, there’s plenty of wildlife viewing throughout Madhya Pradesh. During this Pre-Adventure, delegates will explore Satpura as well as Bandhavgarh and Kanha, all of which are renown tiger reserves.
“Bandhavgarh and Kanha are the best places to spot a tiger in the world. Seeing one in lush bamboo or sal tree forest with beautiful mountain backdrops is very special. Satpura is a hidden gem with crocodiles, sloth bear, and leopards. For our final journey from Satpura to Bhopal, we drift slowly on a beautiful boat passing magnificent forests and hills, bidding adieu to the last remaining stronghold of tigers in the world.” – Manav Khanduja, Pugdundee Safaris, Central India Wildlife Safari
Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks
This six-day Pre-Adventure puts an eagle eye on two national parks that practically guarantee tiger sightings along with an opportunity to interact with nearby community members.
“Madhya Pradesh is popularly known as the ‘heart of India,’ and it is also the ‘tiger state of India’ with the most well-developed circuit for wildlife tourism. The names of Kanha and Bandhavgarh are synonymous with the wildlife attractions of Madhya Pradesh, even though there are four other tiger reserves in the state. We firmly believe an introduction to Central India’s wildlife parks in the state of Madhya Pradesh works best when the combination of Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks are put together.” – Pawan Sharma, Travel Inn, In Search of the Tiger – Safari in Kanha and Bandhavgarh
Cycling and Hiking
For some people, getting feet on the ground gives them a particularly memorable perspective of the local wildlife, as is the case with this six-day Pre-Adventure.
“You get to be one with nature on cycles and on foot on the walking safari, both quite different experiences from a vehicle. When you walk or cycle in the countryside and tribal villages, you get the opportunity to meet villagers on equal footing. You’re no longer a tourist looking at them through a car window — you’re amongst them and more open to unexpected experiences.” – Kiki Paris, Royal Expeditions, Jungle Book Adventure – Safari, Cycling, Walking
A lot of these other experiences offer an under-the-radar opportunity for buyers interested in diversifying their portfolios in India. This five-day Pre-Adventure, for example, encompasses several experiences, but there’s one element about which the tour company is most excited.
“Madhya Pradesh offers an awesome variety of terrain, architecture, culture, wildlife — all of which can be experienced during a cycling trip. Lovely cycling trails with little to no traffic, access to remote villages and people untainted by the onslaught of tourism, gorgeous vistas along the way … these all make for unforgettable cycling experiences. India has, as yet, not been looked at seriously as a cycling destination. We hope to be able to make everyone see how cycling-friendly India and especially Madhya Pradesh are. Cycling will open up a whole other aspect of the country for the guests — the back roads — which will allow them to interact with and discover what is quintessentially India.” – Renu Sharma, RVentures, Temples & Tigers — Safari, Biking, Rafting
Off the Beaten Path
Though going on a wildlife safari is one of Madhya Pradesh’s major draws, there is certainly more to discover.
“Most travelers and explorers think wildlife safaris are the main USP of Madhya Pradesh. We wish to showcase the other glorious, often hidden, and unexplored facets of Madhya Pradesh — the forest trails, campsites, caves, hills, rock formations, tribes, waterfalls, rivers, and many other gems that this land hides beneath its green canopy. That is what this adventure is about — a trip to gauge the true potential of Madhya Pradesh, a chance to see this place as more than just a wildlife tourism hotspot, a way to experience all sorts of adventures! – Yog Chinmoy Dutt, Junoon Adventure, Bhopal — Treks, Tribes, and Thrills
Meeting the Locals
The Bharias and Gonds, local tribes in Madhya Pradesh who have inhabited the region for generations, have stories to share about their culture and history. This five-day Pre-Adventure gives delegates to hear from those who best know this land.
“A visit to the tribal villages of Patalkot with a trek down the gorges is something we are most excited to showcase. It is an eye-opening experience to visit these tribes in their villages and see how they are trying to retain their culture for more than 500 years.” – Ronny Gulati, Youreka Campouts Pvt. Ltd, Adventure in India’s Tribal Heartland
Narmada River: The Lifeblood of Madhya Pradesh
This part of India is also home to the Narmada River, a lifeline of Central India and an important holy site for thousands of years. This four-day Pre-Adventure explores how this river ties many aspects of the region together.
“We have tried to blend culture, history, and more from the Malwa region of Central India into one experience. The element which most excites us is the visit to the largest fort in India, Mandu, and the stay in the Ahilya fort.” – Rohan Jain, Renok Adventures, Narmada River Heritage Trail — Hike, Bike, Boat
Blast From the Past
And for all the “big” adventures that await, it’s the little details that offer a compelling story on this five-day Pre-Adventure, which offers an intimate look at what wildlife safaris were like when they all took place on foot.
“It recreates the old-world charm of the early explorers, where the large tents are pitched and we sleep on folding beds under canvas and wash our faces off with water in enamel basins … Having walked from the hills to the national park, we also stay at the tastefully done up eco-wildlife lodge, Reni Pani, where we also undertake a culinary experience, giving us a peek into the yesteryears of the royal lifestyles of the Nawabs of Bhopal, through the preparation of the meat kebabs and an interestingly potent cocktail from the marula flower equivalent in India called the mahua flower!” – Mandip Singh Soin, Ibex Expeditions, Satpura: Hiking the Pachmarhi Trail
For Nature Lovers
There’s no denying Madhya Pradesh is teeming with adventure experiences, and though it’s impossible to do it all, tour operators are packing in as much as possible to maximize this Pre-Adventure opportunity for those who want to share the area with their clients.
“The five-day itinerary packs quite a lot of adventure and nature. The tour promises a lot of fun to nature lovers, especially the ones who are keen to promote India as a wildlife destination. Our national parks are unique as they offer stunning topography and boutique eco-friendly lodges to stay in. We are excited about showcasing the Indian wildlife product, for it is quite unparalleled and unique.” – Prabhat Verma, PureQuest Adventures, On The Wildlife Trail: Heartland Culture & Safari
Carrying these first-hand experiences with them into AdventureNEXT India, delegates will have a chance to meet and discuss potential partnerships with these and other Pre-Adventure tour operators — as well as additional suppliers — during Marketplace, the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) signature networking event, and throughout the duration of the event.
In addition to experiencing Madhya Pradesh and forging professional partnerships, delegates will be treated to educational sessions focused specifically on relevant regional issues. The agenda, which is now available, features several subject-area experts and keynote speakers reflecting on the event’s theme, Pulse of Tomorrow. Sessions cover business-related topics such as understanding today’s adventure traveler, immersive technology, branding, and digital marketing while region-specific topics include an in-depth look at guide standards and training and the economics of wildlife tourism.
The ATTA is known for its innovative and immersive events, and AdventureNEXT India promises memorable features as well. Delegates interested in travel photography are encouraged to participate in a hands-on workshop offering tips and tricks. There will also be several cultural experiences woven into the agenda, including a film screening of “Tomorrow We Disappear,” an intimate look into the region’s Indigenous Gond art, and a presentation about Central India’s weaving traditions.
Like what you see? Outbound tour operators considering adding Indian itineraries are invited to apply to be hosted as an AdventureNEXT buyer. Delegate registration is open to all travel professionals. Learn more about AdventureNEXT India.