Looking for a camping holiday? Check out this Eicher VE-20.16 modified into a caravan

Luxury on wheels: A passionate photographer, this Indian Army veteran knew the challenges photographers face while travelling to remote locations. He came up with Taurus, by modifying his Eicher VE-20.16 into a caravan that offers them the road trip of a lifetime

taurus at night River Indus, Ladakh: Taurus was parked on the banks of the famous River. It’s an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate while enjoying the music played by gushing water of the river. You can just sit and gaze the stars and indulge in astrophotography. This picture was taken after an elaborate preparation for lights that took almost four hours

Taurus gives Capt Suresh Sharma complete freedom and flexibility to satisfy his wanderlust and spread the message about nature conservation

taurus at indus river Village Phey, on the banks of river Indus: Located on the banks of the river, a secluded place to enjoy quiet time . It has tiny beaches and a cluster of trees where it is just about possible to hang a hammock. A great place to walk hand in hand with your partner and sip on hot tea with fresh snacks from the caravan's kitchen

Tell us something about Taurus? 

Taurus is a new concept in the tourism industry. The bull represents strength and fortitude. A self-contained custom-designed vehicle for onboard camping with state-of-the-art amenities, this is a platform for soft adventure. We bought a bare Eicher VE-20.16 chassis in 2013 and modified it into a caravan over a period of 18 months at a cost of Rs 87 lakh. 

croquet game in ladakh River Raavi: Another quiet location, ideal for spending some 'alone' time with nature. Sit back and read a book, or play games

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How did the idea take germ? 

I wanted to blend my love for the outdoors with my passion for wildlife photography. Getting to exotic locales was an operational challenge. Our family holidays were spent touring the country in a caravan. This eventually became the basis for Taurus. My motivation was the single-minded belief that a niche platform would ignite the passions of adventurers in an eco-friendly way. 

taurus at tanot Close to the Indo-Pak border, 100km from Jaisalmer: This tiny village with mud houses where you might be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported back 150 years, was a rare find. These are the less seen treasures that I discover which coincide with both my love for travel and photography

How do you ensure attention and comfort for travellers?  

There's a crew of three and we don't take more than eight. It can also be enjoyed by just  one or two people. Most guests love to participate in camping chores.

taurus breakfast Madhopur, River Raai: I had to catch up with a friend at Madhopur near Pathankot, who got busy and was unable to meet me immediately. Instead of waiting aimlessly outside the cantonment, I drove around and chanced upon this location. Navigating down the 200 meter stretch to the riverbed was a tricky effort. An eight day camp included a smokeless Diwali when not even a candle was lit

Something new for travellers this year? 

A set of tailor-made options — we are introducing holidays for couples to romance in the wilderness and to strengthen bonding. There’s something for every one — the itinerant photographer, the angler, cyclist, bird-watcher, wild life enthusiast. Each moment is unique: a herd of goats leaving their tiny footprints in the sands of Rajasthan against the setting sun will never be the same again.

taurus breakfast Indus River, Ladakh: We are always looking for moments, ideas and locations to make guests feel special and offer unforgettable experiences. When they return from rafting on the river they're treated to lunch on this island, a heap of stones when the water recedes

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How do you manage power supply, food, clean wash-rooms, etc.? 

In a gadget driven world there is a constant need for power. Taurus has built-in power back-up with easily accessible sockets and a silent generator for supply during halts. Our kitchen is clean and we serve fresh food at every meal. Our washrooms are well supplied with water and state-of-the-art chemical toilets are user-friendly and clean. 

taurus at rajasthan lake Bera, Rajasthan: A place for wildlife lovers where if you’re lucky, you might spot leopards and gigantic crocodiles while camping. The leopards of Bera have been living in harmony with humans for decades. You could also enjoy birds watching
taurus Kutch: A secluded beach on the Arabian Sea with not a single person in sight for miles other than us. The perfect getaway for some peace and quiet, and a barbecue that continued late into the night with the full moon for company
taurus on river drass Drass at Dras: Tea and meals on the bank of the river, with views of the gigantic mountains and the famous Tiger Hill, and sightings of wild bears. And of course, a visit to the Kargil War Memorial

How do you prevent environmental degradation? 

We respect and preserve nature, and believe in ‘responsible tourism’. Our photo opportunities exist because those who have gone before us left no footprints, and it is our endeavour that those who come after us will find the same pristine environment. 

What about night accommodation?  

We have blister tents on the roof and on the side panniers of Taurus with sleeping bags and linen. Each participant gets his or her sleeping berth in safety and comfort. We have 6 tents (4 single occupancy and 2 for double) and two extra dome tents that can be pitched away from the truck.

taurus at spiti valley Attargo Bridge, Spiti Valley: A riverbed where there are no camps. The locals of Lingti village, a couple of kilometres away, were the experts about the behaviour of the river and the water flow. It took several visits to ascertain that the river wouldn't swell suddenly, that the ground was solid, and that the truck wouldn't sink in. It was indeed a bold decision to drive Taurus on the riverbed. For most tourist groups, this turned out to be the most loved location

How do you deal with emergencies?

I am an Army combat veteran who knows how to deal with emergencies. We have two decades of caravan experience and four decades of living in the wild. We are prepared for any eventuality. Our medical kit is always well equipped and safety equipment includes axes and fire extinguishers.

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taurus kitchen Capt Suresh in chef's role in the kitchen of TAURUS

How is this unique?

Often, the destination is not the aim. With Taurus, the journey is the destination. We encourage participation where each ‘Tauronaut’ contributes to a more fulfilling experience. 

For more info, visit https://greendotexpeditions.com/

(Interview by Eshita Bhargava)

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