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Startups put safety first for Indian women travelers

Female-led tours encourage the wary to explore

Sumitra Senapaty, the founder of WOW Club travel agency, wants to convince women that they need their "me time."  (Courtesy of WOW Club)

SILIGURI, India -- By the time the Ranchi Kamakhya Express trundled into Siliguri station, running over 10 hours late, it was almost midnight.

Siliguri is the nearest train terminal for the Himalayan state of Sikkim, where a group of nine teenage girls from Jharkhand were headed. Despite having already traveled on the train for 24 hours and exhausted, they decided to press on to their hotel in West Sikkim, a six-hour drive away. The arduous journey was preferable to compromising their safety.

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