One of India’s leading travel specialists, Jamshyd Sethna, founded Banyan Tours a little over twenty years ago to guide travellers in search of authentic experiences all over India. In 2004, he opened his first dedicated mountain getaway, Shakti Kumaon Village Walk, in the foothills of the western Himalayas. The second walk was established in Sikkim in 2006, granting access to the awe-inspiring landscape and Buddhist culture of the east.
Shakti has continued to grow. Impeccably serviced by local staff, each village house has retained its local character — from Shakti 360° in Leti to the stunning new river house in Nimmoo, marking the completion of a decade-long project, and Shakti’s latest foray: Shakti Ladakh, in the country’s remotest north.
A Parsi from Mumbai, Sethna discovered his love of the mountains at the prestigious St Paul’s School in Darjeeling and as a young tea planter in Upper Assam. Perspicacious and soft-spoken, he points to his travel experience — and his love of food, art and the mountains — as the inspiration behind Shakti: ‘I wanted to show people just how beautiful the Indian Himalaya is, without necessarily the same kind of effort we had to go through when we were kids but in far more comfort,’ he says. Shakti even offers five-star food. It’s a long way from the austere cuisine typically associated with the moonscapes of the Himalayas: ‘I’m really satisfied with where we are right now. It can only get better from here.’