Should Tourism Be Introduced To The Villages?
Having joined in a lengthy discussion with leaders of Udaipur's Chamber of Commerce &
Industry and on another occasion, a concerned local individual, I have decided to touch on
a subject that will no doubt be somewhat controversial. The theme was whether or not
tourism should be introduced into the rural areas, and if so, how should it be done.
Rural Tourism & What It Could Have To Offer
Rural Rajasthan has a very prominent community lifestyle. All villagers are bound by their
customs, homes, attire, cuisine and ritual gatherings. Customs are prominent all over
India, but nowhere are they more apparent than in the rigidly traditional rural areas of
Rajasthan. Of paramount importance to a traditionally minded Rajasthani is that he obeys a
strong moral code; keeping his promises, respecting his elders, revering nature and
upholding his honour. Firm religious beliefs & values are interwoven deeply within
their day-to-day lives.
The clothing of the Rajasthanis is of a brilliance that contrasts sharply with the hues of
Rajasthan's countryside. Vivid bandanas, laheria, dhurries, block prints, intricate mirror
work embroidery on string cholis, colourful turbans, heavy silver & kundan jewellery
are stunning to behold. Even their footwear is embroidered, sequined and tasseled!
For the more prosperous Rajasthanis, the same colourful flair is employed when they
decorate their homes. Their walls are painted inlaid with mirrors and stones, domestic
furniture is carved and every door, window, screen and balcony is fretted &
The entire countryside of Rajasthan sways to its distinct folk dance and music. The
various hill tribes such as the Bhils, Meenas, Banjaras, Saharias and Garasias in the
vicinity of Udaipur are rich in community entertainment, notably the extraordinary &
complex ger-ghoomer, kachhi ghodi, terah taal & kathputli dances and their haunting
Every village has craftsmen, practicing ancient skills, passed on, along with many of the
traditional tools, from generation to generation.Rajasthan's sparsely populated character
has led to the need for villagers to have regular gatherings. There is a market, fair or
festival somewhere every month. The gathering may be merely for the purchasing or
bartering of goods, or perhaps for some sort of celebration during which acrobats perform
and men hold competitions or sing and dance, the women can buy multi-coloured ornaments
and all can enjoy spicy snacks.
The concept of rural tourism is a challenge and is undoubtedly open to criticism. At a
social level there are bound to be inhibitions. For one thing, trust has to be built up
slowly and communication is very necessary. A general concern is that in no way should the
be exploited. The introduction of tourists is more than likely to bring an increased
social awareness which could be frowned upon by some members of the rural community.
Therefore it would be preferable to orientate potential rural visitors towards the need
sensitivity in respect of the local values, beliefs and need of privacy.
In the longer term at an economic level, there are other problems to tackle, such as envy
due to an imbalance of new wealth, & ensuring that the tourists' requirements of
water, electricity & food, & possible price increases of the latter will not cause
a strain & ill-feeling
amongst the wider community, particularly in times of scarcity.
Despite the problems, these rural areas and their tribal villagers have a lot to commend
them, and a sensitive type of tourism could benefit them as well as being of great
interest to visitors. The UCCI see rural tourism as one way to achieve for the villagers
an increase in income, employment & economic stability whilst revitalizing the
community's traditional resources. Strategic factors include:
- The direct financial benifits to the villagers.
- The need to sustain fast vanishing rural culture.
- Sensitive & respectful social integration & equity between tourists and the
rural community ,
- An addition and alternative avenue of tourism.
Amongst visitors to these regions there would be a variety of reasons for
interest. A few of us may see it as "going back to our roots". Many others will
choose it as a way of getting away from urban pressure. Some will find it the only true
method of experiencing authentic cuisine, culture & heritage and there will be those
who just wish for a more balanced "grass roots" view of Indian life.
The effect of tourism on local culture cannot be fully assessed beforeit is tried, but the
general opinion is that there are likely to be plus and minus points. On the plus side,
there should be much needed economic benefits to the local population which would provide
incentive for the preservation of culture. Perversely, the very same tourism could also
make a casualty of culture by accelerating the pace of urbanization. Everyone agrees that
it is only right that the final decision must come from the village elders, and if the
pro-tourism then a large part proportion of the methods used, the level of tourism and the
supervision must also come from the villagers to ensure that they retain their control and
the visitor sees rural life unadulterated by outside agencies. This way the villagers can
go along the road of tourism only as far as they wish and they, rather than the outside
agencies will reap the profits.
There are a handful of villagers who are ready to put into practice a basic form of
tourism for a very few people. The experience will be totally novel to the villagers and
the pioneering visitors.
If anyone is interested in finding out further details, please send an
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with your contact
No.. It will take 2 -3 days to make the arrangements so give the necessary time.