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Overseas strip: Nudist nirvana lures Gujarati (Indian) tourists



Ahmedabad: After experiencing Europe, the United States, and Australia, the well-heeled Gujarati who is seized by wanderlust is searching for variety and has zeroed in on clothing-optional and nudist beaches.

No inhibitions: Nudist beaches are the hot new destination for the well-heeled Gujarati travellerMany a candid query is driving tour organisers to offer tailormade plans or sell visits to such beaches in South Africa and Australia as add-ons.

The decision of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to shift its second season to South Africa has given many Gujaratis the perfect cover to go to the country to party all night and spend the day lazing in the sun in the buff.

Not many of their relations and acquaintances know of these tourists' 'naturist' inclinations. But many a shocked tour organiser has found that vacation spots where the peripatetic Gujarati can cast off his inhibitions along with his clothes are in these days.

Kiran Tanki, a personalised tour coordinator, said, "We have a batch of eight 25-year-olds going to South Africa during the IPL -- to watch cricket, party at night, and to laze around on the sandy beach of Cape Town, which is a semi-legal nude beach. The boys were clear what exactly they wanted to do, so it was easier to plan the trip for them."

Another youth who is going to South Africa, ostensibly for the IPL, said on condition of anonymity that part of the beach is for nudists only. "Of course, the beach is one reason why I am going," he said with a chuckle. "Only part of the beach is for nudists. The rest of it is out of bounds, but if you are sufficiently discreet, you can swim in the nude even along this part of the beach."

In faraway Australia, there are some islands and beaches where going naked is an option. "There is Fitzroy Island off the Australian coast where clothing is optional," said another leadingtour operator. The operator learnt of the island from Gujarati youths who have been there.

"It is a small, private island which can be reached by ferry," he said. "The island is a favourite haunt of backpackers and youths who party until the wee hours. Its owners call it a 'nudist beach where clothing is optional'."

Deval Surti (not her real name), a graphic designer, has been to Australia. She said the etiquette for 'clothing optional' beaches is the same as for 'nudists only' spots. Ogling is strictly forbidden, whether you are dressed or stark naked.

"If you are not sure if you are sufficiently uninhibited, you should stick to 'clothing optional' beaches," Surti said. "It is difficult for an Indian to accept and feel relaxed in the primitive atmosphere of nudist beaches. I am an open-minded person, but when I went to Point Impossible in Australia, I had to use all my willpower to let my guard down. Once you are comfortable with the 'no clothes' idea, it is great fun!"

Travel consultant Anil Mulchandani says the idea of nude beaches has been around for a long time now. "It is just that Amdavadis are becoming familiar with it now," he said.

Wow that's great that they are openly asking tour operators to factor nude beaches in their itineraries and they are being listened to and accommodated.


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