Avijit Sarkhel has been guiding wildlife tours in India for many years. He is from Kolkata (Calcutta), but now lives in New Delhi. Avi considers himself “a naturalist by choice”: he has weaved his great love for nature into a satisfying career after earning degrees in economics, travel and tourism management, and ornithology. He is a widely knowledgeable and passionate birder, naturalist, and guide with more than fifteen years’ experience. Between his extensive travels throughout all of the provinces and his enthusiasm for birds and other wildlife, Avi is one of the most insightful and qualified naturalist guides in the country. While leading South India’s first birding tours, he personally uncovered the route that most other tours use today. His expertise ranges from the general (tuned into all of India) to the local (well-versed about each of the places we visit, down to the specific rare birds, tigers, and other animals, that are to be spotted in each place).
Our experience with Avi is not only that he is an expert guide, but also that he is an avid and inquisitive learner. He even joined Will on another trip of ours to Bhutan for the sake of his own learning and curiosity—not only about other landscapes, but also to see how other Journeys trips run. He is just as eager to teach and share as he is to learn.
Journeys travelers’ experiences with Avi also testify to this. One alumna says, “Your description of the tour leader, Avi, was one of the factors that led us to choose the Great Tiger Safari. We were definitely not disappointed. Avi was an exceptionally fine tour leader. He is a skilled naturalist, enthusiastic about every area of nature and so good at sharing that knowledge and interest.” (Nancy & Don Eager, Great Tiger Safari, March 2009)
Always ready at an early hour and prepared to talk into the night about Indian conservation and wildlife, he combines authority and decisiveness with a listener’s ear. He shows empathy and sensitivity to the concerns and needs of each traveler. His ability to individualize the trip to each group’s needs and desires is one of our clients’ favorite aspects of traveling with Avi. One Journeys traveler says, “Avi was careful to meet each person’s agenda, and he insured that the trip was satisfying to every one of us. He planned an excellent itinerary; it was very well paced, with sufficient “down” time for those of us in our 70s. Avi was constantly looking out for our comfort and safety in many little ways. We rate him 110% great!” (Nancy & Don Eager, Great Tiger Safari, March 2009)
Journeys travelers have also told us, “We cannot say enough good things about our tour hosts, Pemba & Avi. Both were exceptional men. They were the best we’ve ever had and we have traveled to more than 70 countries. You’re fortunate to be associated with these travel hosts: exceptionally knowledgeable, great senses of humor, and engaging personalities. Words cannot express our gratitude for everything they did for our group. We thank you for putting our family group in their very capable hands.” (Chuck & Janice Watson, Great India & Nepal Tiger Safari, March 2008)
Some of our most savvy and widely-traveled clients sing Avi’s praises – and we agree! He ranks with the very best of the best guides that we’ve had for Journeys.