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Rural Tourism - The Projection of Local Community of India

India and its simplicity

India’s simplicity lies in the age-old spiritual traditions and religious thinking. Stretching back to antiquity the traditions of simple living in India can be found in the way of life of the great gurus and saints. The culture developed in India in resonance with the philosophies propagated by the eminent saints who propounded the theory of simple life that was a necessary virtue for one and all. Simple living in India has kept moral values to the fore. One can easily see in India that simple life encompasses the human activities that preserve the environment and people have a protective attitude towards all the living forms. 

Simplicity has specifically made the Indians tolerant towards other religions and has developed a secular outlook. Simple living involves different lifestyles and habits that are sound and satisfying as regards the environment and the fellow being. The simplicity propagates the character of the minimalist mindset which is truly valuable and sets India apart in the world.  

Rural India and Urban India

Urban and Rural India are areas where we find a distinct way of life, the density of population, infrastructure, connectivity, commerce, and jobs that bring out the difference between the two. Usually, rural areas may be considered as the countryside that is located outside the areas of towns and cities. Thus rural areas are the geographic areas which are generally referred to as villages. These areas are without adequate infrastructure and have lots of vacant lands. 

On the contrary urban areas are the areas that are referred to as cities, towns, and suburbs. These have access to infrastructure but the land is not much available. India is developing very fast in various spheres yet the rural and urban divide is still prominent. Studies reveal that the majority of the total population of India lives in its villages. A mere glance at the cities and the villages will reveal the difference in the rural and urban sectors. Today one can easily witness the gradual diminishing of the features dividing urban and rural India.

The economic gap between the Indian cities and Indian villages surely keeps them apart as reflected in their standards of living. Villages and that too remote ones have no access to civic amenities due to the lack of the proper infrastructure. Urban India has better facilities. They have access to better education due to good educational institutions and universities resulting in high literacy rates. Availability of electricity and digitalization are advantageous parts of urban India. The healthcare and employment opportunities make Urban India distinct from rural India. 

Why Rural India is better  

As we think of the importance of Rural India we come across their contribution to the economic growth of India. Economic growth coming from rural India is in the form of food production. Rural areas cater to the agricultural produce that feeds the millions. Apart from the economic front, we find villages as places in India where one can escape from the chaos confronting the cities, towns, and suburbs. 

The environment in the villages is serene and salubrious. One finds a large expanse of cultivated land. Villages have a lower density of population and higher density of fauna which makes the rural picture so relaxing and thrilling. The colour the fragrance and the sound are so natural and soothing. One finds the narrow swirling stream of water, the dusty paths, and the rustling of leaves that is quite alluring. The chirping of birds instantly catches one's attention which is quite hard to find in cities. The sights of cows, and buffalo herds are so interesting. The simple way of life points towards a simple and serene existence. Enjoy the roti from Chulaas, fresh Makhan and unadulterated milk. It is a life, one finds, living without embellishments. Social volunteering can be seen due to the helpful attitudes prevalent among the villagers.  

What is Rural tourism?

Rural tourism is essentially an activity that takes place in the countryside. it helps boost the local performing arts helps conserve the local culture and prevents rural migration. Rural tourism showcases the rural life, art, culture and heritage in the rural locations, thereby benefitting the local community economically and socially. It also enables interaction between the travellers and the locals to enrich the tourism experience. Rural tourism primarily focuses on actively participating in a rural lifestyle. 

The famous States for Rural Tourism.

1. Gujarat

The Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat is an artisan village and is known for its salt desert. Get an insight into the village life here. Get a chance to stay here in mud huts that have attached western bathrooms or in tents at Hodka’s village resort. It is owned and operated by the village tourism committee of the locals of Hodka village. 

2. Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh is home to Spiti Valley which is renowned for holding Buddhist monasteries. Enjoy Yak safaris here and trek to villages. Enjoy staying in village homestays and enjoy the cultural performances here. The Ecosphere Spiti is an award-winning non-profit organisation here focused on conservation and responsible tourism. Head towards the Gunehar village located in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh.

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This village has an art gallery, an ecological boutique guesthouse in a restored 70-year-old house, a camping site in the fields and also a fusion restaurant. The villagers here are mostly Gaddis and Bara Bhangalis who are semi-nomadic sheepherders. One can stay in the middle of the village and learn about their lifestyle and also go on walks and treks. Gunehar village is very close to Bir-Billing, a very popular paragliding destination that is about an hour's drive from Chandigarh airport. 

3. West Bengal

The Sundarbans in the state of West Bengal is a UNESCO World Heritage site that renowned for being the largest mangrove jungle in the world. Village life here is challenging. Locals here live in homes built from mud and straw. 35 per cent of Sundarbans lies in India and this part of it is made up of 102 islands. The travellers can go on village walks and participate in village activities. 

4. Jodhpur

Bishnoi village is situated at a distance of around 40 minutes South of Jodhpur and provides an authentic experience of rural Rajasthan. The locals of Bishnoi people revere nature and live in harmony with it so much so that they bury their dead to preserve trees as wood is used in cremation. Travellers can make their stay at Chhotaram Prajapat’s Homestay which was established in the year 2009. 

Grab a chance to stay here in the traditional yet contemporary dwelling with a family of weavers. Enjoy the Rajasthani hospitality that is provided here along with delicious home-cooked food. Enjoy folk dances, camel safaris, village trekking and jeep safaris to Bishnoi village.

5. Uttarakhand

Partway up the trekking route that is 20 minutes to Nag Tibba, Goat village in Uttarakhand state has 10 attractive earthen Garhwali cottages with mountain views that attract visitors. It was set up to provide a livelihood to locals to stop them from leaving the area and enable the visitors to experience the local way of life. Witness organic farming and agriculture here. Enjoy the local delicacies that are prepared with freshly grown ingredients. 

6. Odisha

Pottery village in Odisha. The guest house here Chandoori Sai Guesthouse in Goudaguda Pottery Village, in Odisha’s far South Koraput district, is a remarkable labour of love for its Australian owner, Leon. He conceptualized and constructed the guesthouse himself with the help of the local potters whom he recruited to make the terracotta floor tiles, roof tiles, and ornamental urns. The tribal village women here are also employed to help run the property. The visitors can explore the village at leisure. Grab a chance to visit the potter’s colony and learn pottery. Go on nature walks in the surrounding hills and spend some time with the tribal women. Hire a local guide from the village that will take you from the village to the village to explore. Visit the tribal markets here and grab some wonderful items here. 

7. Arunachal Pradesh

Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh is located between Guwahati and Tawang is truly a delightful place to explore. The Monpa tribal villages are warm and welcoming. Visitors can learn the traditional dances here and can also learn to make momos, and churn yak butter. Explore the ancient Dirang fort-jail. Go on nature walks here that is in itself a memorable experience. Visit Buddhist monasteries here and witness the monks praying at sunrise. Meet the local farmers and their flocks and watch weaving. 

8. Sikkim

The lofty mountains and lush green meadows of Sikkim have villages with a humble lifestyle that largely depends upon the products from natural resources. It was only a few years back that India opened the Sikkim state to village tourism. The village tourism of Sikkim provides opportunities for travellers to experience and appreciate the beliefs, the festivals, and the culture of the village people here.  The rustic life of the villagers is a lifetime experience. The warmth and the hospitality of the villagers of Sikkim are seen to be believed. Rough and rugged trekking trails further bring a tourist close to the hard and industrious lives of the Sikkim villagers.

9. Rajasthan

the State of Rajasthan offers rural tourism that takes a tourist to the villages where the tribals are routed to their culture, traditions and customs. The art and cultural traditions prevalent in rural Rajasthan are a prominent attraction for travellers who are awed by the glimpses of village life. Experiencing the religious faiths among villagers and their hospitality is something that takes one to a world so different for a tourist from advanced city life. The opportunity to stay and interact with the villagers of rural Rajasthan is an experience in itself. A tourist is also exposed to folk dances, traditional music, food and handicrafts which revitalises him. 

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10. Kerala

The villages in Kerala are set in pristine nature that is serene and peaceful and that makes village tourism in Kerala so captivating and enthralling. Kerala rural tourism offers opportunities to experience the sight of rich wildlife, scenic backwaters, lush green hills, coir manufacturing activities, coconut leaf weaving and the opportunity to meet the oldest tribes. The tourists are exposed to the traditional lifestyle that is quite awesome and invigorating.  

11. Puttar, Andhra Pradesh

Puttur a small hamlet in the state of Andhra Pradesh is renowned for its agriculture, mangroves and prominent silk business. The locals of this village are involved in numerous facets of silk saree weaving. Do not miss taking a grand tour of the silk saree-making process. The hospitality of the locals here and the temples here make this place a must-visit. Just explore the surrounding regions for a picnic or trek.

12. Anegundi, Karnataka 

Anegundi is in the Koppal district of Karnataka and is nestled on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Anegundi is believed to have been the kingdom of monkeys or Kishkintha and is older than Hampi. This rocky plateau has several historic sites marvellous temples, tanks and pristine beauty that need to be explored. Just take a memorable tour and get an insight into the village by listening to the local tales that will surely attract you to come here again and again. 

13. Theerthamalai, Tamil Nadu

Theerthamalai is located in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu and is an emerging destination for rural tourism in the country. Theerthamalai is known as the Hill of holy Water and has a temple that dates back to the 7th century. The Theerthamalai temple has derived its name from the springs originating here along the waterfalls called Rama Theertha, and Hanuman Theertha places here worth visiting. Take a tour of this village and enjoy the calm and quiet atmosphere of this place. 

14. Shyam Gaon, Jorhat, Assam

Shyam Gaon is a small Buddhist locality in the Jorhat district. This Shyam Gaon is one village where the local Khamyang tribals are the followers of Theravada Buddhism. Just head towards this place and get an insight into their culture and way of life in this peaceful village. 

15. Chitrakote, Chattisgarh

Chitrakote is a village situated in the Bastar district of Chhatisgarh. This village is renowned for the folk arts and handicrafts that are made in this village. This village is also famed for holding the stunning Chitrakoot waterfalls. Apart from scenic surroundings, this village is renowned for celebrating the festival, Gonch. Pay a visit to Jagdalpur Palace and Danteshwari temple which is located here.

16. Hodka, Gujarat

Hodka village is located in the Kutch or Kachchh district of Gujarat and is a very pretty place that has a mix of both the desert of clay and sand that makes the region so unique. This village has a diverse ecosystem with the wetlands providing a home to over 100 species of birds during the winter months. Stay here with options like the rural resort- Shaam-e-Sarhad which is operated by the Hodka community. Take part in the celebrations of Sharad Utsav that is celebrated during the Navratri. 

17. Pipli, Odisha

Pipli is located in the Puri district of Odisha. This village is a small area that supports nearly 230 families. This village is famed for the artistic rendition of Applique. The art here perfected in Pipli involves the process of cutting a variety of cloth materials in the shapes of birds, mythological characters, nature and decorative motifs and sewing these shapes onto a cloth. The products range from home décor to clothing and are made available even in the tourist place Bhubaneshwar which is located just 20kms away. 

18. Lachen, Sikkim

Lachen is nestled in the North district of Sikkim. Lachen is a small village that is set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and conifer trees. This village is pristine and unexplored. Get an insight into the simple life of the village folk and visit the Lachen Gompa and enjoy trekking here and walking in the surrounding regions. The locals here are friendly and social. 

19. Ballabhpur Danga, West Bengal

Ballabhpur Danga is a rural destination located around 220 km from Kolkata in West Bengal. This village holds the Santhal Adivasi tribal community that is lying close to the Sonajhuri forests. The village is renowned for its arts and crafts like Batik, Carpentry, leatherwork, and mat weaving. Just head towards this village and enjoy tribal music and dance that are wonderful to observe here. Attend the Saturday Haat or market at Sonajhuri. 

20. Kumbalangi Island Village, Kerala

Kumbalangi is an eco-tourism destination. This small island village is the first rural tourism initiative that was taken by the Kerala state. The place has many picturesque vistas, including the popular Chinese nets that can be enjoyed by visitors travelling the region. Visit this place spend some time here and make your trip memorable. 

Highlights of Rural Tourism

For once abandon the tech cloud and the electronic gadgets for these and hit the village trails one acquaints oneself with the promising rural tourism in India. Rural tourism in India takes one far from the hustle and bustle of city life and acquaints one with the paradise of rural India. The traveller is awed to realize that real India resides in its rural life. Rural tourism is an opportunity for the rural masses to prosper on every visit. 

Village tourism certainly will register a travel euphoria among the city masses that come as tourists. The sight of ploughing fields, biogas plants, and the expanse of crop-laden fields is something that will revitalise one’s life. One can, as a tourist, learn the survival techniques essential for countryside living. These villages are so gorgeous a place that is nearer to nature and life here is so raw. The tourist can spend days in rural India and can take part in the day-to-day activities that make a village life only when one comes out of his comfort zone. What a win-win situation for all. On one side the tourist gain by experiencing peace and getting revitalized and on the other side the village gains by prospering from the tourism economy. 

Rural Tourism and Rural Empowerment

Rural tourism in India has promising prospects and will flourish if tourism aims at participation in the rural lifestyle. The villagers are quite hospitable and always eager to welcome the visitors. The scenario in many villages around India has taken to mechanise farming which has caused economic pressure on young village people. The initiation of rural tourism will certainly create a replacement income source in the non-agriculture sector for these young rural dwellers. 

It will certainly empower the villagers to develop and contribute towards the revival of lost folk, art, and unique handicrafts. There are many villagers in rural India where the farmland has become fragmented due to small landholdings caused by the increase in population. Rural tourism will provide much-needed wealth to poor households so that it brings prosperity to their life and results in the development of the village as a whole.  

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