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Young and Inspiring – Naturalist Sajith Ponnappa, The Taj Group of Hotels

In our new series ‘Young and Inspiring’, we feature young talent from the events and travel domain whose job involves helping couples plan their celebrations of love. Here, Naturalist Sajith Ponnappa who works with The Taj Group of Hotels shares his story and tips for couples planning their honeymoon travels.

Naturalist Sajith Ponnappa
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to pursue a career as a Naturalist?
I was born and raised in the heart of pristine Western Ghats, Coorg. I completed my graduation majoring in finance so I took up a job in finance, but after dabbling in financial planning for two years I realized I didn’t want to pursue it. An opportunity knocked to become a Naturalist with a Corporate House (Taj Safaris). My longing to work outdoors and pursue photography urged me to listen to my heart. As easy as it may sound getting selected for the job was probably the most grueling and intense process I have ever faced (five weeks of interview cum training). Five years on, I still love what I do as a Naturalist & have found my calling. Travelling is my other passion and I hope to see all of India someday.

Q. Which Taj properties have you worked at?
I earlier worked at Baghvan, a Taj Safari Lodge on the edge of Pench National Park, near Nagpur and since the last three months, I am at The Vivanta by Taj Madikeri, Coorg. One of the best things about my job is that I get to meet a lot of travelers, couples who want to get away from their busy city lives and spend time with nature. At Taj Baghvan, many couples come to commemorate a special occasion like an anniversary. The Vivanta Coorg where I am currently based has a whole different romance aspect to it so a lot of honeymooners come here. This profile of guests like their privacy a lot more (obvious) but they love the extra touch of romance i.e. private dinners, candle-lit meals, romantic rooms and surprise sundowners.

Naturalist Sajith Ponnappa

Q. Do you see more intimate Destination Weddings taking place at Nature Resorts like Coorg or at Safari Lodges like Baghvan?
Yes, Destination Weddings is a concept that is fast catching on; Today’s generation from a well-heeled background are looking for newer destinations to celebrate life’s special moments. They want to have a fun, chilled-out time than to be busy with formalities. And couples who are having a hometown wedding but who can afford a celebration in more than one city think of how they can have a pre or post-wedding celebration in a cool or tranquil setting. Or even in the wild, rich with its verdant flora and fauna, Taj Safaris is now an idyllic venue for any kind of destination wedding.

A wedding at the Taj Safaris Pashan Garh Resort
A wedding at the Taj Safaris Pashan Garh Resort

Q. What would be your holiday tip or advice to WeddingSutra readers who are getting married and planning their honeymoon.
My top travel tips would include
– Plan travels to boutique hotels with smaller inventory/rooms, that way there isn’t a big crowd & more privacy
– Check the weather & pack accordingly
– On a holiday be ready to be spontaneous

Q. Would you like to share some insights on travel and relationships? How travel helps you understand yourself and improves your ties with your loved ones
Travel has been universal with self-discovery. So when you travel with your loved one, they get to see more sides to you than ever before. On a journey together, you share the experience, bringing you closer. Get out and explore the world, and before you know it you will know much more about yourselves. Dream, Discover, Explore.

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