Payal’s life journey has taken her from a typical urban childhood in Mumbai to a career as a naturalist guide. Though she grew up in one of India’s largest metropolises, Payal loved the outdoors from the first exposure she had to the world beyond the city’s reach. As a teenager, Payal trained as a mountaineer. Fascinated with the natural world, she then majored in geology at university. And while she loved learning about the physical world of nature, she also began to nurture a fascination with the living things that inhabit it, prompting her to escape the corporate office she found herself in after graduation. After a year passed in this setting, Payal knew she had to return to an outdoor environment and quench her growing curiosity about the natural world. She joined an elite naturalist training program for Indian safari guides, which only fueled her passion further for this gratifying career choice. After she completed her course, Payal worked as a naturalist guide in India’s Kanha National Park – one of the world’s best places to see wild tigers – for three years. Her stint at Kanha was followed by three more years spent traveling across the wild regions of India as a freelance guide and naturalist guide trainer.
Upcoming Adventures with Payal:
Natural Jewels of Bhutan & Nepal
Praise from Natural Habitat travelers:
"I'm sure there's nothing I can say about Payal that you haven't already heard. She's just fantastic in every way. I especially appreciated her willingness to get up early with me for some extra birding, re-arranging our schedule to give us time to see an ibisbill and take photos--in the sun--of Tiger's Nest on our departure date. But most of all, I am eternally grateful to her and Dorji for making the hike to Tiger's Nest on a rainy and snowy morning. I will always cherish this memory."
"I thought Payal was amazing, very will prepared and very professional as well as caring and personable."
"Payal was an excellent expedition leader and all of the travelers were happy to have her on this adventure. I can't imagine this experience without her. She was incredibly thoughtful, caring and professional."
"Payal is an exceptional leader who strives to provide her guests with everything that they seek and then some."
"Payal was phenomenal - she knew most everything about the ecology of the area, if she didn't know she was quick to look up information that evening and inform travelers the next day. She was also phenomenal at birding! She is a great asset to NHA."