SHEWANDERS – PUNJAB’S TREKKING COMPANY
CATERS TO WOMEN, FAMILIES
SHEWANDERS is one of the very first trekking companies from Punjab. It was started in the year 2018, with the aim of providing a platform to women and families who want to step into the adventurous world of trekking.
Besides trekking, we offer fun road trips, yoga retreats, carefully curated experimental cultural trips to the lesser- known destinations as well.
We have group departures for beginners, intermediate and tough treks
throughout the year and we also customise itineraries for families and
friends who are looking to do something different.
HOW AND WHY DID THE CONCEPT COME ABOUT
I consider myself lucky to have been introduced to the world of trekking at a very young age as I studied from the prestigious Yadavindra Public School, Patiala where trekking was compulsory annual feature for its students.
As life takes its course with marriage and kids, life got busy in the mundane! I was a lecturer in English at Doaba College, Jalandhar for four years, and even studied and started my own interior designing firm as I was always inclined to creativity.
Restarting trekking gave me peace and confidence post the birth of my second son and the company was started because I wanted to do something different. I’ve always felt that Punjab for eg. is so close to Himachal, yet there are hardly any people in any of the treks. So, with the hope of having more women in the outdoors with the sole aim of giving them confidence and wings to fly, I started this company.
Eventually we did some treks for some schools in Punjab as well one of them being Vivek High School, Chandigarh and there has been no looking back and now we do trips and treks for mixed groups as well. Our summer camp for parents and kids is an annual hit.
Though I must add here that my main aim is to introduce trekking in every school in Punjab because no matter what we may call the new generation that they are stubborn, techies and non adjusting. Believe you me, I have witnessed the most spoilt teenagers having a splendid time out their camping in the mountains.
THERE ARE LOTS OF TREKKING COMPANIES, HOW ARE WE
Well to begin with our foremost aim is safety and service! Most of our clients are in the age group of 30 and above and their prime requirement is comfort. Although trekking is all about getting out of your comfort zone, we do our best to provide the best service with equipment, food and well- trained professional ground team who in case of any emergency due to change in weather are capable of handling the situation to the best of their ability.
Besides we have customised groups for different destinations across Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North-East, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka etc in India and outside India Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Turkey, Kyrgyztan, Bali to name a few.
Even on road trips we ensure that the clients engage themselves in an outdoor activity in some way or another be it a heritage walk, village walk, paragliding, day hike, jungle trail, yoga etc.
Our aim is to re-introduce nature to citizens of every age and gender, to connect with nature and go back to basic living for a few days in the mountains. It brings out the best in everyone as it brings out everyone’s potential to the fullest on the trail. Besides, we not only learn so much about our own weaknesses and strengths, we also learn that just like life we have an innate capacity as humans to adapt to every environment and challenge thrown in our way.
Life is just like climbing a mountain, the best view comes after the hardest climb. Post covid-19 we have big plans of going to offbeat international destinations like Vietnam, Turkey, Kyrgyztan etc.
THE CHALLENGES AND THE RESPONSE
As a sole proprietor, it’s been extremely challenging for me to run this company single-handedly! I’ve learnt everything along the way from designing the company logo, learning how to edit videos, taking out costing, taxes, ground team coordination, marketing, handling social media and being there on the ground on every single trip/ trek to ensure quality control.
My biggest strength has been my mother who has immensely supported me in every challenge and difficult situation. Whatever little I’ve achieved today could not have been without her support and love. But I would definitely say that there are few women in this field and as a woman the work is always double compared to a man and so are the challenges.
But the toughest part is leaving my children behind, so although I’m not so much away from them whenever I’m there with my kids I make sure every single minute is for them as in I don’t socialise or go out locally other than for my work reqt. But yes the school work comes in tonnes ..lol.
The response has been great so far, clients who have trekked or toured with us always comes back to us. Covid-19 did hit the busines hard in the year 2020 but we still managed keeping the company afloat somehow and had a good response in Sept and October inspite of being based out of Himachal!
A FEW NAMES OF TREKS UNDERTAKEN SO FAR
Other than customised groups we have undertaken more than 25 fixed group departures in less than 1.5 years including treks for all age groups from beginners, intermediate to difficult levels.
Naming a few here: Kareri lake trek, Lambri peak, Rakhundi top trek, Pin Bhabha pass, Tarsar marsar trek, Kashmir Rani Suitaal trek, Kedarkantha trek, Sar pass trek, Beas kund trek, Bhrigu lake trek, Hampta Pass, Birbilling Rajgundha, Churdhaar trek. Almost all big andsmall trails in Kasol Shali tibba, Tigers Nest and Paro, Bhutan.
MY FAVOURITE TREK EVER
Hands down my favourite will be friendship peak expedition (5400 mtrs) Manali! It was my first expedition and a life altering experience hiking up a mountain at 3 a.m. in minus 20 degrees all
THE FUTURE OF SHEWANDERS AMIDST COVID
I personally feel that the safest travel one can undertake is a hike up the mountains in these covid stuck times. Ofcourse the market has been hit hard, tourism the most I would say. but we are hoping that the moment the world will be covid free it’s the domestic tourism that will be a big boom. Also, why shouldn’t it be? we may not have the infrastructure like other foreign countries but our hospitality is unmatched.
Also, more and more people would want to go in for an experience that’s soul enriching and befitting than sight hopping like they normally do!
Though we do have ongoing group departures to different destinations, we ensure we follow all covid-19 regulations and try and take smaller groups to distant locations to ensure safety of the clients as well as the locals.