About Fernweh

Our Story

How It Started

In 2005, Bachan Charitable Trust opened a women shelter for underprivileged women in remote villages of the Indian Himalayas. However, we soon realized (2007) that providing shelter was not enough to truly make a lasting impact on the livelihoods of these women. After researching the region, our founder found out an alarming number of young widows and victims of domestic violence. 

Most women are young widows aged 19 - 25 with children to overlook without the possibility of marrying again because of the social prejudice.
Poonam decided to teach them how to fish rather than giving them the fish.
These women needed a sustainable income to support their families more than housing.

Sustainable Tourism

Through consultations with the women and other underprivileged tribes and communities in the area to devise a solution, our founder Poonam decided to put both her passion for traveling and social good to create Fernweh Fair Travel. 

These unforgettable travel experiences utilize the values of sustainable tourism.

Working With Local Communities

Since Fernweh’s inception, we’ve worked with local communities to help train and develop their skills as artisans, tour guides, homestay hosts, and more. 

Our purpose is to uplift rural communities in the Indian Himalayas and help guests leave transformed with a deep understanding of local culture and knowledge.

Our Objectives

  • To provide livelihood to women by training them as travel guides and in other fields of our travel programs
  • To introduce the world to our beautiful nature and heritage while protecting it
  • To keep the local culture and customs alive
  • To revive local handicraft by providing livelihood to the untouchable handicraft tribes
  • To educate the locals about saving the environment by waste management and preserving our fauna & flora
  • To educate locals and guests about the responsible travel
  • To support youth and women by generating employment opportunities
  • To support organic farming and provide livelihood to the farmers by buying their produce for our programs
  • To create a community where everyone is equal and is respected, by creating equal opportunities
  • To support the local schools and students to have decent education and advice youth on their career decisions

Community Involvement

  • Fernweh Fair Travel is registered under an NGO, Bachan Charitable Trust Simiti (BCTS).100% of our income goes directly to the local communities and participating villages
  • Our women work as home-stay care takers, village guides, village program meal providers, managers and village representatives
  • Handcraft villages participating in our handicraft programs for which they are paid participation fee plus they sell their handicrafts directly to the visitorsTo revive local handicraft by providing livelihood to the untouchable handicraft tribes
  • Local drivers from the participating villages are hired for the trip
  • Organic food is sourced from the local farmers besides our own gardens which is looked after by the shelter ladies
  • We follow environmental practices which we teach in various villages to promote sustainability and take care of our planet
  • School children are taught environmental practices and our long term guests are able to teach English, crafts, dancing and other skills to our children

Our Team

Our Team is Consisting of our Whole Community.


Poonam was born an explorer and has lived, travelled, and worked in many countries to feel the country's soul, aka slow travel. After working for the corporate world for many years, she decided to put her passion for travel and social help together to create Fernweh. She has a deep understanding of the power of travel.

Poonam is a consultant for community, adventure, and responsible tourism development. Her expertise is in product development, strategy planning, eco-accommodation, and transformational travel designing while positively impacting the communities and environment.

Poonam has a strong passion for adventure, people, nature, spirituality, culture, and permaculture. In addition, she is a volunteer firefighter in Germany. She lives between India and Germany.


Mrs. Tulsi is a wife of a retired army officer, an amazing cook and gracious cook. She has lived in many different places and has traveled nationally and internationally to various destinations. She has experienced beautiful cozy accommodation worldwide.

Tulsi is using her traveling knowledge to support and promote our locals. She overlooks all the groundwork. She loves gardening, spending time with her family, and cooking.


Laxmi a very strong lady who started her life in very humble conditions and is now supporting locals along with her sister Tulsi.

She will be your guide to the rural life of Garwhal (our village and handicraft programs) She is an amazing story teller and full of local wisdom.

Sumanto Aka Pluto

Born in the coal-mining town of Jharkhand, India, the climate crisis was a childhood reality for Sumanto. He moved around to different parts of India to pursue education, work in art-related fields, and travel. Disillusioned with the modern greed for a shiny but unsustainable lifestyle, he found himself in the laps of the Himalayas.

He began his journey of connecting with an ecologically viable life.
Now he is an essential element of our permacultural project.

Ankit & Bella 

Ankit, a young man from the Himalayan Bhotia tribe, has done his hotel management and civil engineering. But unlike others, he does not want to migrate from the mountains.

We have taken him under our wings to fine-tune his capabilities in different aspects of operating our eco-retreat. He loves cooking, traveling, and spending time in nature.

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