Slowly, Indian villages are witnessing a nascent change. Embracing their culture, tradition, natural resources and artisanship, rural tourism is escalating how much importance India bestows on its rustic spirit. Starting from skill generation and subsistence to highlighting the traditional interplay of myriad of communities, rural tourism is silently creating miracles, triumphantly.
As India braces up to new endeavors, rural tourism has also advanced silently, turning into a major economical benefactor for communities, cultures and traditions. The storytelling of rural tourism in India is nuanced with rich cultural experiences, oral history, linguistic traditions, years-old rituals, biodiversity and empowering interplay of historical narratives. With the advancement in rural tourism, Indian villages which for long had been persistently dependent of paltry agricultural income have attained limelight, bestowing them with identity, infrastructure and development capacity. In fact, rural tourism, which is still being experimented in India, has the capability to lower down the burgeoning gap between urban and rural India. The Ministry of Tourism has also started developing and financing in villages on the basis of their USPs like culture and bamboo craft, eco-tourism, spiritual life, Himachal heritage, Gurukul structure, folk dance, historical and tribal culture, mirror work, embroidery, and other essential talents.
Rural tourism in India has started to play a very empowering role as it has started to build up the weakening economies by injecting financial investment, infrastructural growth, job retention and even conservation of bio-diversity. Few of the emerging and well-established start-ups that have been playing a significant role in rural tourism include Grassroutes, Pahadi House, Ecologin, India Untraveled and Travel Another India. By creating innovative business models, these start-ups have started promoting the potential of rural communities and the emerging youth by harnessing their zeal and projecting their adventurous, eco-friendly and rustic beauty. Instead of opting for discovering the famous historical sites, even the domestic market is witnessing a switch, people are now more interested in experiencing the rustic rural lifestyle, spending their weekends in the unknown virgin terrains of India, away from the hue-and-cry of the bustling city life. After all, India which has more than 5,00,000 villages is known for its transforming dialect, history and heritage from one village to another.
The lifestyle and existence of various communities in Maharashtra, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Bihar have started witnessing the slow change. The positive impact has become visible as these communities, which in spite of their traditional and rustic richness were initially being ignored. Today, the villages have their own identity, apart from agriculture and the women have also started harnessing their talent by indulging in various handicrafts and other vocations that have taken them from the morass of anonymity. The concept of ‘responsible tourism’ is also connected with rural tourism, which further adds on to the aspect of respecting the culture, tradition and sanctity of the communities, therefore giving them protection, empowerment and financial security.
With more government policies and private funding, rural tourism is amassing the limelight that it deserves. The villages and their beauty is now garnering attention, projecting the panache of villagers who have the power to make change happen.
By- Shubhda Chaudhary