Amar Chitra Katha inspires Great Indian Journeys for SOTC & Thomas Cook

Connecting historical comic characters with travel


September 19, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

India’s iconic comic book publisher Amar Chitra Katha has tied up with leading travel firms Thomas Cook & SOTC to launch an innovative product that is bound to be a hit with Indian children and adults alike.

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The itinerary built along the fabled tale of Maharana Pratap, one of the most well-known warriors of India, is bound to prove a hit with children and adults alike

How would you like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj or Maharana Pratap to accompany you the next time you head to the iconic Sindhudurg Fort set in the Arabian Sea off the Konkan coast or the famous Chittorgarh Fort in Mewar? That’s no longer a fantasy, as the famous Amar Chitra Katha has inspired Great Indian Journeys that have been packaged by SOTC and Thomas Cook (India), the country’s leading travel firms.

For over five decades, to most Indian children, the first exposure, and the most memorable one, to India’s rich history and mythology and its numerous heroes has been through the colourful and beautifully illustrated Amar Chitra Katha comic books that have recreated practically every major event and hero or heroine of India’s rich past. Preeti Vyas, CEO of Amar Chitra Katha, says it was time to take the books and provide a new form of infotainment to today’s children.

‘‘At Amar Chitra Katha, our mission is to connect Indian families and specially children with their culture and heritage- we take pride in our stories being a route to their roots. We are constantly looking for ways to provide them with more immersive experiences to learn about India. So, while our books are 2D and our apps, videos and podcasts make it 3D, we thought a live travel experience would make that engagement 5D. The added quotient being the engaging of all five senses along with the feelings of pride and awe in our glorious past. We decided to partner with the best and most trusted names in the travel business for this exciting idea- SOTC and Thomas Cook,’’ Vyas tells Media India Group.

Currently, four itineraries have been launched under the brand Great Indian Journeys. ‘‘Each itinerary has elements like personalised storytelling sessions, narrated from the perspective of a single character and illustrated in Amar Chitra Katha comics style, as well as spectacular sound & light shows, local culinary experiences,’’ Daniel D’souza, president & country head, Leisure, SOTC Travel, tells Media India Group.

The itineraries currently feature Maharana Pratap & the Ranas of Mewar (Chetak) with visits to Chittorgarh, Kumbhalgarh and Udaipur. Another is Krishna Trails (Sudama) with a visit to Mathura. Covering Delhi and Agra is The Mughals & their Magnificent Monuments (Birbal) and a trip down south to Hampi in Karnataka is assured with Krishnadevaraya and Hampi (Tenali Raman).

Sri Krishnadevaraya

Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara kingdom was one of the most renowned kings to have ruled over India and his capital Hampi continues to attract tourists from the world over

Vyas says that children are at the centre of these journeys. ‘‘Children of this generation are already used to immersive multimedia experiences. The way they are being educated, even the new education policy, is geared towards learning and application versus just remembering facts. We believe that today’s generation of smart, aware children will thoroughly enjoy learning about India’s glorious past through this live, multi-sensory experiences. Travel, after all opens your mind, informs and educates you in a way that nothing else can!’’ she adds.

‘‘Children are key decision makers and form the key target segment along with parents and history enthusiasts. In the absence of a summer vacation this year, and with the festive season around the corner, we expect an uptick in demand for this unique offering in the months to come. Great Indian Journeys is available from October onwards and given customer focus on health & safety, our partnership with Apollo Clinics, ensures safety at every step of the journey. We have also tied up with ICMR-accredited labs to offer contactless COVID-negative certification across India,” Rajeev Kale, president & country head, Holidays, MICE, Visa, at Thomas Cook (India) tells Media India Group.

Amar Chitra Katha as well as the travel companies are certain that the itineraries would be big hits with travellers. ‘‘Judging by the initial responses and reactions, we believe this is going to be a super successful IP not just with individual families but also with school and institutional groups, looking to engage young learners in a more holistic manner. We have launched with only four itineraries, but have about 400 more stories, waiting in the wings, ready to be experienced in 5D!’’ says Vyas.

‘‘Indian consumers are displaying increasing appetite for getaways at drivable distances. Seeing an uptick in enquiries for quick escapes, drivecations are a popular first choice. There has been a paradigm shift in the mindset of consumers today, with more travellers actively seeking out less crowded trips. Exposed to the power of choice, customers seek excitement, convenience and the best deals, all at once, when planning a journey,’’ says D’souza.

Vyas goes ahead and sticks her neck out to predict which of the initial itineraries may prove to be a hit. ‘‘Fans of religion and mythology are bound to gravitate towards Krishna Trails, with the adorable Sudama guiding you through the experience, coupled with some delicious freshly churned butter in Mathura. Fans of history, are sure to make a beeline for the valour of Maharana Pratap, told by his trusted steed Chetak, along with the lip-smacking royal thalis which the SOTC team has planned in the Maharana Pratap and the Ranas of Mewar experience,’’ concludes Vyas.

A professional with 25-year-long career as a retailer, publisher, editor, author and entrepreneur, Preeti Vyas joined Amar Chitra Katha as president and chief operating officer in August 2019. Exactly a year later, she was promoted to the position of chief executive officer. Besides the iconic Amar Chitra Katha comics, the company also publishes Tinkle magazine and National Geographic India. A seasoned bibliophile who believes the solution to any problem in life can be found within the pages of a book somewhere, Vyas lists some travel trails in India that rank amongst her favourite ones, a combination of journeys she has already undertaken and those that remain on top of her bucket list. 1. Dharamsala-Manali- Spiti- Leh 2. Maratha Forts- Shivaji circuit 3. Varanasi-Sarnath-Bodh Gaya 4. The Maharana Pratap (Ranas of Mewar) circuit 5. Pondicherry-Madurai-Kanyakumari



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