Known for its use of highly skilled specialist guides and naturalists, as well as authentic local experiences focused on the natural and cultural highlights of South Asia, &Beyond has become the travel expert of choice for a number of top documentaries filmed in India and Sri Lanka over the past few years.
The latest of these was a National Geographic magazine story entitled In The Footsteps of Gandhi, for which the &Beyond team planned and executed an itinerary that criss-crossed India, documenting the many varied places where Mahatma Gandhi travelled during his struggle for Indian independence. Supporting photographer Rena Effendi, the &Beyond team tirelessly arranged experiences as diverse as recreating the route of the famous Dandi Salt March, during which Gandhi walked from Ahmedabad to Dandi to collect salt in defiance of a colonial tax and visiting an ashram established by the great man at the precise geographical centre of India’s pre-colonial boundaries.
This was not &Beyond’s only cooperation with National Geographic and the team has worked with the magazine on a number of stories including Snow Leopards, Kaziranga National Park and Tiger.
&Beyond South Asia Managing Director Suhail Gupta and colleague Toby Sinclair have handled numerous film projects. These include major series such as Land of the Tiger (BBC / PBS) and sequences for Life of Mammals (BBC) and Planet Earth (BBC / Discovery), as well as numerous films on iconic species such as tigers, leopards, elephants, the Indian wolf and Indian wild dogs. It is not always South Asia’s wildlife that is in focus and other recent projects include films on Buddhist archaeology for PBS, National Geographic and the BBC, as well as a three-part series on the Ganges River for the BBC and Discovery and the Indian sequences on BBC’s History of the World, among others. A one-hour film on the Buddha for which the &Beyond team handled the logistics, permissions and planning is being broadcast on BBC 4 in August as the first of a three-part series named Genius of the Ancient World, which examines the great minds that shaped our world.
The &Beyond team also put their extensive experience to work on the Wonders of the Monsoon, a BBC documentary series that examines the effects of the monsoon rains on the wildlife and cultures of South Asia. This project made good use of &Beyond’s reach throughout the region, calling for the coordination of itineraries in both India and Sri Lanka.
&Beyond’s knowledge of the culture and wildlife of Sri Lanka was also put to test in preparations for the filming of two other documentaries on the island. Considering its size, Sri Lanka is one of the most biologically diverse places on the earth, a fact that was highlighted in the three-part National Geographic series Wild Sri Lanka. The series, which the &Beyond team worked on over two years, tracks the wildlife found in the island’s interior and off its coasts. More recently, &Beyond was also responsible for travel arrangements and extensive logistical support during the three-year filming of the Disney feature film Monkey Kingdom, which follows a family of macaque monkeys living within the ancient ruined city of Polonnaruwa.
The handling of such specialised itineraries is a testament to the local knowledge, infrastructure and proven track record that &Beyond boasts in South Asia. With fully staffed and equipped regional offices in India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, the company offers a full range of travel services, combined with personalised hands-on assistance on the ground.
Although few travellers are likely to have requirements as complicated as a documentary filming crew, all &Beyond’s South Asia tours are carefully personalised and include authentic experiences such as a starlit dinner on the ramparts of an ancient fort in Jodhpur, an after-hours tour of a museum accompanied by the curator, a meeting with a member of the royal family of Bhutan or an evening with a wildlife expert in Sri Lanka.
For help creating your own tailor-made South Asia adventure filled with authentic local moments, contact your preferred travel provider or visit www.andBeyond.com.