The Gurudongma Experience
Retired Indian Army General, “Jimmy Singh”, together with Catherine Pradhan, founded our company, Gurudongma Tours & Treks in 1992. The idea was to provide a “total experience”. We believe that this must involve an understanding of the people, their lifestyles, and their interaction with nature. We are convinced that nature and ethnic culture, must be preserved. We started with operations in Sikkim Himalayas and North East India. Today we have crafted exciting tours to all the interesting parts of India.
Gurudongma is a micro company with a big footprint. It provides unique holiday experiences in India, covering the Himalayas, deserts, forests, beaches and backwaters. Our concept is dynamic with a constant seeking for the unusual – off the beaten track. We are “hands on” operators and believe that tours must be personalized. Operating in most parts of India, we offer quality, high altitude treks, jeep safaris, eco tours, tribal tours, bird watching, desert & wildlife safaris, angling, nature & culture tours, back- water cruising, and home-stay.
We operate on the basis of “small is beautiful”. We like to cater for individuals, couples, and manageable groups, so that we tread softly on the environment. It also helps us in building a rapport with our guests. Conversations, varied cuisine, carefully chosen accommodation, knowledgeable and caring escorts, interesting itineraries, local involvement, efficiency and reliability, are the basis of our personalized service. We strive to offer Nature & Culture in comfort and Adventure in style. We offer quality and reliable operations at reasonable prices.
The Gurudongma Team
Retired General “Jimmy” Singh, has spent most of his Indian Army service, in the Eastern Himalayas, having commanded a Mountain Brigade in Sikkim, a Mountain Division in Arunachal Pradesh, and a Mountain Corps responsible for the defense of Sikkim and Bhutan. He has walked to almost every pass on the Himalayan Watershed, and was responsible for deploying large bodies of troops in virgin terrain up to altitudes of 18000 feet. Whilst in command of the counter Insurgency School in the tribal state of Mizoram, he extensively interacted with the tribal population in Manipur, Nagaland, and Mizoram, and learned the values of living in harmony with nature. He has an abiding interest in history, geopolitics, ecology, culture, religion and
lifestyles of people living in the remote regions of India. He is dedicated to introducing people to the Indian heritage.
All the tours have been designed and are updated by the General, based on his experience, ground reconnaissance, and interaction with people. The General acts as advisor, sets standards, evolves concepts and itineraries, and coordinates all operations He personally answers all e-mails, and offers his expertise to tailor itineraries to fit individual needs. He offers two properties around Kalimpong – Gurudongma House, and Samthar Farmhouse, for use by his guests on the concept of home stay, ( Both are listed in Alistiar Sawdays Special places and Trip Advisor) He has initiated Project Awake and Shine -a philanthropic Integrated Village tourism project at Samthar, in 2007. Income from samthar Farm House and Gurudongma House support the Awake & Shine School at Samthar.
Catherine Pradhan Lobo, of Gorkhali origin, was born and bred at Kalimpong. She was the co-founder of Gurudongma Tours & Treks along with General Singh. Over 20 years she has build up invaluable ground experience. Dynamic, charming and a “hands on” worker, she loves to interact with people. Her concern for her guests, efficient management of tours and hospitality, and the ability to perform a wide variety of functions, encompassing tour operations, and hospitality, and has been instrumental in building our reputation, leading to many repeat guests.
Catherine has done extensive research in local recipes, and recipes, and created a special range of
interactive cuisine, which makes dining at the Samthar Farmhouse, an experience to remember. Catherine manages hospitality and operates our tours and treks. She is also responsible for training local village folks as our house staff and has trained our cultural guides.An active Rotarian, Catherine is also involved in many other social activities.
Sudesh Pradhan is interested in outdoors, and fascinated with mountains, He took to altitude trekking several years ago. For the last 10 years he has been working and learning the “ropes”, with General “Jimmy” Singh, and Catherine. He has been guiding high altitude treks, wildlife safaris, tribal tours and a lot of other “off the beaten track” adventures to all parts of India. He prepared himself for a career as a birding guide by exploring birding sites in India and Bhutan, over five years. He is now free lancing as a birding guide. Sudesh guides our birding tours, selected high altitude treks, and other tours in North East India, Sikkim and Darjeeling.
Sawan Tamang: With 06 years experience and an abiding interest in Buddhism, local culture and traditions, Sawan, is an ideal guide and friend for our personalized tours. He, has been guiding our Buddhist tours, high altitude treks, and other tours in Sikkim and Darjeeling.
We have satisfied clients, all over the world and many repeaters. We can provide references on request.