Neeraj Mathur, National Manager India
What makes you a local?
I was born and raised in Delhi and my first memory is travelling with my father on a two-wheeler Lambretta scooter to visit the Qutab Minar, an ASI monument in Delhi and one of the tallest minarets in the world.
I am a total Local; I travel by Metro and in Tuk-Tuks, eat at street restaurants – only a true local knows the best vendors – and completely embrace the local culture in Delhi, which is famed throughout India for being a fun-loving city and known by the people here as “Delhi Dil Walo kee”, meaning “Delhi people are of great heart”.
Describe how India affects your senses?
India is full of colors, smells, sounds and sights that will completely infatuate your senses and cruise guests will notice that each Indian port affects your senses in a different way; be it the smell of freshly caught fish, the sight of Goa’s golden sands, the sounds of crashing waves on Marina Beach in Chennai, or the the twinkling lights on the Diamond’s Necklace in Mumbai, which is the lights of the city in a semicircle around the bay.
What do you love about India?
I love my country and exploring this mighty subcontinent’s many secrets – for example not many people explore or know the hidden Architectural Gems of Meahrauli Archeological Park, great for History and Picnics. I also love the diversity of India and even each port is truly unique and has its own culture and language dialect. Finally I love the exciting time we live in right now – India has a young population and the near future should be interesting for everyone and a proud moment for India.
What would you recommend to others?
Obviously you must visit Agra to see the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but there is also so much more to discover and no way for me to express it all here – let’s look at a few places in detail:
- Mumbai: Go to Elephanta, an island with caves that have had statues sculpted into the walls; see the colours of Lalbagh and Crawford markets; if you have a chance enjoy the nightlife – both the music and food is superb. If you have more time, perhaps travel to Varanasi, a sacred city on the River Ganges.
- Cochin: Visit Kumbalangi Village to spend a day living like the locals, or perhaps catch a Tuk-Tuk to see the sights like a local and if possible stay for the spectacular sunsets, ideally aboard a small motorboat during a sunset cruise round the harbor
- Goa: I would go see the temples, perhaps join some local fishermen to go crabbing on the river, or maybe head into the nature to visit local farms that provide the colorful spices to the markets, such as the Margao city market.
With even more time you could visit Hampi, Chennai, the Himalayas, Jaipur and of course Delhi, my home.
Why do you like working for Intercruises?
I have worked in the tourism industry for over 25 years and always try to promote my country in the best possible way, providing an authentic experience and hoping that visitors return with amazing memories of our beautiful country. Everyday at Intercruises there is something new and this is very motivating, but what is most satisfying is happy guests and crew, which becomes even more rewarding during challenging situations, such as a storm we had last year in which we had to negotiate traffic jams and fallen trees without mobile phones due to the networks being down – teamwork and coordination meant that we came out with everyone safe and happy.
In your opinion, how will India change in the next 5, 10 and 20 years?
Cruise is growing and the Government authorities are supporting this, including modern port facilities and planned VISA on arrival for cruise ships. Couple that with the fact that India has one of the youngest populations in the world and India is set to take centre stage in the future.
For more information on Intercruises operations in India, contact Neraaj: firstname.lastname@example.org