Author Archives: Babit Gurung

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Host and travellers love

How and when does your host fall in love with you ?

Many young travelers have revealed their experiences of falling in love with their hosts abroad. Such stories can too come under the category of meaningful journeys. There are different perceptions of different travelers whether it was a good or bad experience for them. But, there is another way round too. There are times you shall never even realize that your host is deeply in love with you. Well, love doesn’t always end up with the dreams of marriage and having a family. There are certainly different categories of love you may experience from your hosts. There are different scenarios where a mother of a family falls into a deep motherly love with you and likewise a father, brother and a sister. You can easily feel such affection and even exchange in the same way you build with your own family while traveling.

Talking about India, such things are more common as Indians are considered to be more emotional and caring. Travelling around the third world countries you may have encountered many such situations, but in India, every state and every village is a different country.You can never build a common perception of an Indian for all the Indians because every Indian represents a different India.

Talking about the kind of love between a young traveler and a young host, there are times that fuels the bondage appalling you to break your own traveling rules.

If you’re too generous to share your knowledgeable experiences:

You see their tough lives, hear their unfulfilled dreams, taste their simple food and then share your own experiences about more extreme conditions you have lived through. It makes them feel about your true understanding of their world. It gives them a message of your acceptability of their culture and tradition. You no longer become a foreigner for them but a stranger who is so caring and adaptable in spite of the vast differences both of you hold for each other.

When you aren’t scared of traveling alone with your host :

That shows your belief on your host. Well, keeping someone’s belief is a tough job and this very act of keeping it safe sometimes gives a new name to the relationship that is more than just friendship. Your host may start building the cozy feeling inside his or heart for you. The moments of riding or driving together in some of the most naturally blessed beautiful places will fuel it together to burn the feeling of love in his or her heart.

If you are a motivational speaker:

No matter how harder the life hits upon you, you always motivate people. Nothing can stop you to look out for the greener pastures even in the most dreary times of life. With such fire in your belly, you make your world around you spreading the positiveness to every person you meet. If you are such a traveler, you certainly drag many of your young hosts to dream about you. Just the feeling of your nearness may have built in them a strength of happiness that they may have never felt.

You don’t hunt for luxuries:

“Boat sails on rivers and ship sails on seas but clouds that sail across the sky are far better than these”. If this poem inspires you then you surely understand the true meaning of hunting for Luxuries and meaningful Journeys. The jacuzzi and expensive spas are the things that could not lure you, but a natural lagoon under a waterfall is something you would really trade for your hard earned money. This true love of nature is something that makes you adorable and your hosts’ cant help themselves to fall in love with you.

Your motto of traveling:

If you are someone who comes into the category of Meaningful travelers, who don’t just travel for themselves but also to volunteer for nature and mankind, you are certainly the person to fall in love with for all responsible hosts. Your kind heart for people and nature will be appreciated by your host so deeply that the appreciation can later turn into affection.

In the end, you may leave with your sweet memories by burying the stone in your chest, also you may be travel to different places, they’ll always remember you in every place for your meaningful journeys.

Also check our <<Meaningful Travel Plans>>

 

 


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Meaningful Journeys through Lepchakha

Meaningful Journey through Lepchakha

Territories divide nations, cultural influence, constitutions and nationalism, but when it comes to live with nature, do you really care for such things? Today, as revealing the inside story of a developing nation, where you always hear the proclaiming public demands of Infrastructural development like energy, drinking water and advanced communication, it is quite unusual and strange to hear the people say ” We want no Roads  and we are happy without electricity.” This meaningful journey through lepchakha is where all the so called spiritual meaning of true nature begins with the end of all the materialistic lust. Not so far from the sonorous and hustling crowd of Kalchini town in North Bengal, India, lies a small or the smallest village of Dukhpa community who still have their incontrovertible relation with the forest named Buxa Tiger Reserve and the name of the village is Lepchakha. The feeling of nature’s own home starts right from the beautiful and small railway station of Rajabhatkhawa, perhaps the smallest area you have ever seen being inhabited by so many diverse ethnic tribes. To be more clear, don’t just think about a different town or village, but you can feel a different world of culture, language and tradition just after every lane in the village. Some of the tribal communities for your information are Rabha, Koch, Mech, Tamangs, Totos and last but not the least Dukhpas.  The last point where you can get dropped by a vehicle is Santalabarie, and then the real journey towards the so called” heaven of doors “- Lepchakha begins.

Meaningful Journey through the  Historical Glimpses of the ruins of Buxa Fort20150307_183029[1]

The steep road carpeted with the dry leaves of Buxa forest may initially seem tiring, but as you approach nearer towards the ruins of Buxa fort and the Buxa village, the same tiredness will turn into curiosity. The haunted stories recited by the villagers about the abandoned fort will certainly create a picture in your mind once you visit the abandoned congested walls of once the prison guarded by three mountains. The fort is said to be a prison once during the British rule in India. The three hills that surround the fort still have the hidden watch towers that were once made for the guards to watch over the activities of the prisoners inside the fort. The claustrophobic ghostly stone walls and the chambers gives make you feel more of a prisoner rather than that of a guard. After having enough of different experiences and swinging moods, you can then start you last trek towards the Dukhpa village -Lepchakha.

The ruins of Buxa fort

The ruins of Buxa Fort

When you finally reach the Heaven of Doors…

Once you start seeing the traditional dukhpa houses with windows almost as big as doors without any glasses to shield, you can feel those interrogating stares of little children perhaps scared of strangers. Their innocent eyes peeping through the wedge cracks of the big wooden windows will suddenly give you a feeling of an intruder in their reign of playfulness. The sloping landscapes providing you the greenish view of vast Buxa Tiger reserve forest will be a true experience of being isolated from the modern world.

The meaningful journeys is not always to seek for unexplored beauties of the world but also to 20150307_183222[1]understand the happiness attached to it through the lives of the people residing in such areas. My experience was of a different kind. After a night’s stay and being able to get a bit closer to the people sharing their lovely smiles, I was quite fortunate to finally hear them speak about their daily life. Early in the morning I found my host relaxing on a chair in his balcony. He eyes were upon the trail that reached people to his village. A radio was playing some meaningless sound that lay beside him on a wooden railing. Perhaps because of low frequency the radio was not able to catch the proper signal. As the village has no electricity, the whole village uses solar energy for lights and other energy purposes. Our host seemed like no interest to what the radio was playing but his attention was on something else. When I asked him what was it? I asked my host, ” Wouldn’t you ever want your village to demand for electricity, roads and hospitals to the government?” He replied ” We want no roads, and electricity and talking about hospitals, people in the cities are more sick than us because they are near to the hospitals,” It was a strange answer for me so I again asked ” But Why?”. At this he smiled and pointed his finger towards the trail that came from Santalabarie that was far down. I saw few travellers climbing up the train with wooden sticks in their hand that they used as walking sticks. Their steps seemed like too tired and I was sure their body was fully wet because of sweat. I stared at my host who was so relaxed and his face was bright with some sort of inner happiness. I looked around the village, no electricity, no roads, no shopping malls, no luxurious dreams, though the happiness in his face was far more intense than any richest man in this world. ” He has no targets, no plans , but still the people from far countries, cities and towns travel through such tiresome journey, just to reach him and pay him for his smiles, for the nature he protects every day and for the modern luxuries he has abandoned that any urban person would not live without.


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Rural Tourism in India

The new definition of four S’s under Rural Tourism

Gone are the days when tourism was a part of leisurely products with more focus on pre-determined factors that together made a prescribed format of hospitality services. Today the word “tourism” travels way beyond the anticipated understandings about the so-called tourist’s interests, and meaninglessly it has no boundaries at all and perhaps will never have. In this context, Rural Tourism exceeds all the existing definition of tourism products.

Today you hardly see the travelers following the guided tours that otherwise made them live in a world of illusion that showcased only the polished part of life. India in this context had much to achieve because of its uncontrolled mechanism that could not get the whole tourism industry into a single window care like Bhutan does for its foreign tourists. Now the same incapability has quite become a unique selling point that adds itself as a major point of attraction for the travelers from all around the world.

The True Four S’s of Tourism Does Not Imply In Rural Tourism

Traditionally following the concept of travel and tourism on the basis of its several definitions, the four S’s were the major points of attraction that matched with the common interest of tourists from all around the world. The four S’s of tourism were Sun, sea, sand, and sex.  It clearly pointed that the tourism destinations could only be named for such areas that had the liabilities of four S’s.

As Mahatma Gandhi said “India lives in its rural areas”, so the true India is yet to be explored as hardly there were any such rural places that have its name in the list of India Tourism. After a span of time, the concept of being a traveler changed with the huge expansion in the areas of tourist interests. The travelers now less cared about the artificial luxuries and wanted to explore the reality that existed in its natural form.  Today it has taken quite a big shape and is often called Rural Tourism in India.

Rural Tourism in India:

The concept of Rural tourism has many numbers of factors than the common understanding of the other word that curved its picture that is Eco –Tourism in India. Rural Tourism in India possibly can become the most effective face of India Tourism as in terms of cultural diversity India is Incompetent. The cultural diversity, the traditional and historical richness, and with one of the rarest geographical feature, India is definitely the only attraction for such Travellers.

So, now the definition and the abbreviation’s meaning probably should change that will match the concept of Rural Tourism in India. The definition can have many opinionated additions and variations but to cover the basics let’s give it the following names:

Social/ Socialism:

Separating the political point of defining the word Socialism, it refers defining a theory that has its developmental approach in a collective form involving not individuals but the whole of a community or a society.  Rural Tourism has exactly the same theoretical concept where without the involvement of community it can’t even exist. One can measure the community development in many areas that are the resulting factors of Rural Tourism. The proper and efficient implementation of the concept of Rural tourism can achieve the main areas of Community Development. The main areas of the community development are – Economy, Ecology, and sociology.

Economic:

Economic Development through rural tourism can again have many sectors that specifically are viable for Rural Development aspects. Agriculture, skill development, self-employment, entrepreneurship, etc. are some of such aspects that collectively come as products that promote the efficient implementation of Rural Tourism.

Ecology:

Ecology development is again another major thing in rural tourism. Here the community get the encouragement to take their participation as owners of their ecology richness. This realization not only helps the community to protect their natural resources but also helps them to utilize them in a more economical way enhancing their livelihood options.

Sociology:

As rural tourism is more into promoting the differences of individual roles ( Ex-Farmers, local artisans, home-stay owners, transport owners and drivers, educated youths, ethnic groups) by making them inter-linked, it also builds a harmony between the community further building a healthy and peaceful society.  

In all of the above-mentioned developments, the travelers play the prominent role by encouraging the community in many ways, for example –Travel Expenses, food, guides, transport hiring, community work, social awareness campaigns etc..

Sobriety:

The 2nd S referes as sobriety, where it means to be natural than in any other modified form. Under the concept of rural tourism, every beauty should remain as it was born naturally without any alteration or modification. This also means to preserve the rural culture without aiming for urbanization for the sake of Development. Under the concept of rural tourism, everything that’s natural has its own right to remain as it was born and there is no such thing called the commercialization. The travelers can see the real face and existence of whatever interest they hold about a particular rural destination.  This also includes traditions and customs of different cultures that gives them a unique identity.

Solitude:

With the advancement of the technology, it is obvious that mankind has grown a society that is more intelligent and hard-working, but it also has surrounded the mankind with greater social responsibilities. Due to this now the world needs some break to get out of all those responsibilities for some time and be more close to nature with no targets, assessments, and regulations. Rural tourism aims for such ambiances that are quite unexplored and rural in nature. This provides a solitude environment to the travelers due to which they now opt for rural tourism.

Serene:

This is the last word that fits the concept of rural tourism. Tourism may have its commercial definition but under the concept of rural tourism, the extravagant promotion of any rural destination is harmful because then it exploits the chastity of its rural environment. This is one major option that promotes the concept of rural tourism for meaningful travelers who look out for meaningful journeys under the concept of rural tourism.

 


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Travelling the whole world vs. rebuilding a small village.

What is there that drives you insane every time to pack your backpack and get out for your unplanned, unexpected route of journey with a motto of just travelling the whole world ? Is there a reason? Well, perhaps you want a newer day everyday with just not a new day but things that make it a new day. New smiles, new reasons to live, new songs and serenades, new colours, new food, and above all a new ” You” amidst the new world. It is quite unbelievable that even after you’ve travelled far too many numbers of places than you’d listed, your urge remains the same with not even a bit satisfaction of what you’d expected. Then you travel, travel and travel with no time bounds, no particular destinations and your journey itself starts becoming the milestones of your achievements, the achievements of your life that pours in you the natural sedation of happiness seducing you to even go deeper to find its tiniest particles rather than aiming for bigger and proclaimed shapes of happiness.

The above sentences defines a traveller, but what can be the other way round for people who aim for the same without travelling as not all get this privilege of being a traveler? This was an appalling situation few years back. So, then the things just came around in my mind to re-create a place where we as hosts can too meet new people with ideas everyday, heralding their traveler’s soul to reach our place gradually converting the village into a meaningful travel destination. A destination that might not have all those materialistic luxuries that are conventionally defined under the concept of viable tourism, but definitely it will have the simplest and the most chastened perspective of nature in its own make-up. It was more a learning experience than following the scripted points, tutorials and references from various books on creating a rural destination because the tutorials nowhere matched the remoteness of different that have today turned into meaningful Rural Tourism Destinations. Milestones after milestones, the least cared things became the most effective factors because under the concept of Rural Tourism we believe the most important word is ” Rural” which is inevitable. There are many more to come but few things are there that can be brought together both with the perspective of travelling the whole world and rebuilding a small village:

Letting out or letting in :

When you are travelling the whole world you plan your days to let yourself out as far as possible in terms of the kind of a world you are habituated to, leaving the place as far as possible where you belong. Well, the same happens when you aren’t travel ling the whole world but stay in the same place planning your days through the perspective of a traveler to promote such things that drives your conscience from a stranger to get attracted to simple things you know but they don’t. A garden of all those expensive bouquet flowers may seem to be the best way to decorate your rural accommodation, but when you think as a traveler coming to your rural destination, those least cared, unwanted and unnoticed weeds and wild flowers are more attractive for the travelers, and that’s so abundant and natural.

Discovery or Self-Discovery:

As Aristotle said , “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. As a traveler you can be travelling the whole world discovering many things that may be new to you, but amidst all those it is always ” You” within those discovered things that you truly discover. This self-discovery is so real even when you build a small place without travelling much to the outer world. You would be so surprised to find that a neglected and illiterate old drunk man in the village has more knowledge than any Doctorate in Botanical science when it comes to identify the number of medicinal plants in the forest and its medicinal uses in different types of sicknesses. A traditional hunter will be far better guide to escort the animal census team than any zoologist. So, both as a traveler and a host, it will be a self discovery travelling to places or rebuilding the small village as a rural tourism Destination.

Expenses or contributions:

It’s obvious that you cannot always travel the whole world for free. If as a traveler you use your travel expenses to different service providers, as a host the same travel expenses you pay becomes a contribution and is distributed evenly to develop the livelihood schemes of the rural areas. For example an accommodation owner is buying naturally grown vegetables from the farmer, fish and chicken from the chicken rearer, availing transportation from a local transporter, hiring local youths as guides, selling local handicrafts e.t.c all with the expenses incurred by a traveler.

So, as already stated in the above paragraphs, there is certainly a lot more similarity in between what a traveler looks out for and a what a host does to turn a small and a remote village into a well conceptualised form of rural tourism destination. Now, you know travelling the whole world vs rebuilding a small village has more or less the same concept.


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Inspiration travellers

How a traveller becomes an wandering inspiration for people?

How many times you’ve borne this feeling in your mind that says, ” They’re so weird!” ? Remember it’s not only you, your hosts will have this feeling more intense then you. It’s because the way you look at things so keenly are their base of life, their routine and their days and nights. So what’s the relevance? The thing is that as you acquire inspiration from your journeys regarding people and nature as your source, you leave it the same way on them to acquire inspiration from you that you perhaps may not even realise. The changes can be relevant to any things from culture, tradition, custom, perception, expectation, views and opinions to things like environment, social issues and economic conditions of the community.  So how these changes happen can truly sound strange to you but precisely it depends upon many factors and the kind of traveller you are.

If you are a solo Traveller.

Specially in countries like India where women are bound to live a conservative life and where the male dominant society have their own views and opinions about women, a female solo traveller can really be a shocking surprise for the whole host society. They may take it as an example for their own society, and few may consider it as taboo but any way the inspiration rises from both the sides. You may not know but there will be gossips around where a parent would be talking to his or her small daughter saying, ” Look at her how brave she is, she is travelling through the whole world and you are scared to even go out to bring groceries for your mother”. Well, that would be from a parent who’s quite open to adapt the changes in the society, but any ways your boldness would certainly help him or her out to create examples and inspire the society.

If you are a Pilgrimage Traveller.

How many times has it happened that you are welcomed by your hosts in a more religious way with garlands and different types of Tilak ( A mark worn on forehead by many religions in India ) ? You visit different religious places and happily accept their offerings in whatever way they serve you with. Your acceptance to every religious customs inspires them to be secular and respect every religion. If you are a Christian ( Most of  your hosts would expect you to be Christian in the rural areas) or from any other religion you would never know a secular person would be giving out an example about you saying, ” Look at them they’re so happily accepting all the offering of every type of religions and we are so orthodox to accept any offerings from other religions. We should learn from them “. So now you know how a small act of yours can truly be an inspiration for your hosts.

If you’re a serious photographer.

It’s always true that the things you see can never be seen by the common people and in the case of the host community they would perhaps never be knowing the beauty hidden in such things that they neglect everyday. This really inspires them to feel great on what they have and understand its value. When you take the photographs of the wild flowers that are abundantly grown in the fences and fields leaving all the fashionable flowers that they would be decorating outside their houses, they realise that naturally they more blessed than you and feel great about it. This can really inspire them and encourage them for conservation activities promoting their important role in saving ecology.

Your hygienic habits.

Littering plastic rappers and garbage everywhere may something like putting on your socks in your hands instead of legs, but for the villagers and rural people they may not even know the harmfulness of using plastic and throwing garbage everywhere.  A simple act of yours showing how you carry your garbage with you when you don’t get a proper place to dump it inspires them to clean their locality . It will surely be difficult for the adults to follow this habit stringently but at least you can inspire the children to build this habit in them. So, as a traveller you can surely help the current governments  praiseworthy campaign named Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

How a hunter changes into a Eco Guide due to your inspiration?

Next time when you pay your eco- guide that little amount, you can ask whether he or she is a local person because that amount can really change the way they think. There are many places where you will find the poor hunters turned into eco-guides The slogan became so simple for them ” You are paid once if you kill it, but you can be paid as many times till it’s alive”. Besides who can be a better wildlife guide than a hunter ?

There are many such meaningful journeys you travel to inspire people, this way you are not just a simple traveller for them but a source of inspiration as well.


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