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Life Lessons From An 8,000 Kilometre Train Journey Around India

Earlier this year our Operations Executive, Mayur Parmar, had the opportunity to join Jagriti Yatra, a 15-day, 8,000 kilometre journey around India. The trip brings 450 young Indians together on a train to learn about our country. The journey is punctured by stops to learn from local leaders who are building India through innovative enterprise.

Last year, staff members of Jagritri Yatra came on a tour of Dharavi and Mayur met them and learned about their program. They encouraged him to apply and he did just that. When Mayur arrived on the train earlier this year, he quickly realized that coming from Dharavi and working for a social business made him unique among the 450 yatris, the majority of whom were studying to become engineers. Mayur took it upon himself to teach everyone about the unique community he is from and the company he works for. By the end of the journey he was a minor celebrity on the train and was selected by the Jagriti Yatra staff to address the group on the final day.

What follows is the speech that Mayur delivered to the 450 Jagriti Yatra participants and staff. (more…)

If Reality Tours Planned The Royal Visit To Mumbai

Will and Kate are in Mumbai, kicking off their whirlwind trip around India. In 2012, Prince Andrew visited Dharavi with the help of our founder, Krishna Pujari. For this royal visit, however, our services weren’t called upon. But that didn’t stop us from imagining the perfect one day Mumbai tour for the royal couple!

Our itinerary would be a mix of prominent sights tied with British colonial history, local experiences, and an introduction to Mumbai’s temples, markets, and slums. (more…)

[Interview] What Two Dharavi Youth Learned From An International Leadership Program In Rural India

Kaveri and Hasnain, two graduates from Reality Gives’ Youth Empowerment Program, recently joined youth from the French NGO Global Potential for a four day leadership course in our partner village, Chinchoti.

Global Potential is an 18 month leadership and entrepreneurship program for youth from underserved communities. A key aspect of their program is a 45 day service-learning project in a rural village. During the month and a half immersion, program participants learn from local youth and cultures, carry out internships, and support community projects in health, environment, education, and media.

This year, they came to India for the first time to explore potential partnerships and partner villages with our co-founder Krishna. They also took the opportunity to host an abbreviated version of their leadership course with their students, and invited Kaveri and Hasnain along too! (more…)

Celebrating One Year Of Chai Break: Our Top 5 Posts

1. Definitive Guide to Riding Mumbai Trains (With Pictures)

Mumbai’s local railway is aptly nicknamed the “lifeline of the city.” Mumbai is one of the densest cities in the world and the trains are its saving grace, transporting a staggering 6.9 million people per day. Trains can get so overcrowded during peak hours that it is common to have 14-16 people per square meter. If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry, after reading this guide you will have all the information to conquer the Mumbai local trains. (more…)

How Seneca Can Prepare You For India

India will not be what you expect. You will meet people that are friendlier and more generous than you ever thought possible. You will taste foods so delicious you’ll begin to wonder why Indian food isn’t everyone’s favourite. You will see sights so beautiful that they will remain embedded in your memory for the rest of your life. But you’ll also have to overcome challenges so great that many travellers write off India entirely. Logistically, you will face a myriad of transportation issues. Culturally, you will have some of your most basic assumptions about life and society come into question. And throughout your visit, a thousand and one things will threaten to make you sick. Your time in India will be uncomfortable in one way or another, but these challenges and the beautiful moments that inevitably follow are precisely why we travel: to get out of our comfort zone, challenge ourselves and broaden our worldview. Recognizing this goal and preparing yourself for the challenges that you will inevitably face can dramatically improve how much you enjoy your trip. The first century Stoic philosopher, Seneca, is the unlikely guide to the importance of mentally preparing for your trip. (more…)

Celebrating 10 Years in Dharavi

On January 4, 2016 Reality Tours and Travel celebrated 10 years of working in Dharavi. To mark the occasion, we’ve created a video that looks at the different ways in which we have impacted some of the lives of the tens of thousands of people who have been a part of our story.

(more…)

Essential Guide To North Indian Food (With Pictures)

Among the first of many realizations you’ll have when you arrive in India is that there is no such thing as “Indian food.” The Indian subcontinent packs in as much or more diversity than Europe and the food is no exception. To help you get your bearings, we’ve created a guide of our “must-try” foods in Northern India. (PS: You should also come on our Old Delhi street food tour and we’ll show you the best places to sample these dishes!)

Chole Bhature – छोले भटूरे

The quintessential Delhi street food, Chole Bhature is spicy chickpeas eaten with fried bread (bhature). Typically sold at street stalls or small restaurants, it can be a great snack or meal at any time of day. It can be easily identified by the puffed up bhature.

As with any street food, be sure to evaluate the cleanliness of the stall before ordering. Checking how busy the stand is and how they handle the money (ideally someone who isn’t handling the food!) are both good indicators. (more…)

[Interview] What Is Reality Tours’ First Guide Doing Today?

Please introduce yourself. Where did you grow up? What were you doing before joining Reality Tours?

My name is Ravi Mishra. I grew up in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh but I ran away from home when I was 13 because of issues at home. I picked a train at random and ended up in Navi Mumbai. It was my first time in a big city, everyone was rushing and it was only 4 or 5am! I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have any money but I managed to find a few odd jobs in Navi Mumbai because I was good at writing and math. Later I learned how to ride a motor bike, so then I could get a job as a delivery boy. I worked for a few restaurants and in a fashion store before I shifted to Colaba in South Mumbai. I worked for McDonald’s there and a courier service. At this time an NGO helped me get enrolled in secondary school and I was able to graduate a year later. (more…)

Dharavi: A Micro City Within A City

Suraj, one of our senior guides, recently wrote an article about Dharavi for the German magazine, Masala, a publication that aims to build an intercultural bridge from India to Germany.


What is a slum?

I have met many people from all around Mumbai and the world and when I ask them this question, 90 per cent of the time I hear something related to poverty, crime and drugs. I won’t say all of this is false. It may be true for slums in other places but not where I’m from. (more…)

Our Staff’s Recommended India Reading List (Non-Fiction)

India is a country where great wealth and prosperity sits side by side with incredible hardship and poverty and making sense of the great contradictions is a nigh on impossible task. But that hasn’t stopped people trying. Here are some of our favourite attempts to understand and explain this diverse, compelling and fascinating country that we call home.

(more…)

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