Category Archives: How to create a rural tourism destination?

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Rural Tourism in India

Is “Tourism” promoting Colonisation?

How and why?

It is more than just a hypothetical theory to say that the word “Tourist” has a wider definition than the whole concept of Tourism. The word was commonly in use way before the word “Tourism” came into existence. So, the concept of tourism is merely an amendment of how people define “Tourists”.

The common proverb in India ” Atithi Devo Bhava”, that has become the sanctum of Tourism in India nowhere defines Tourism. The concept of Tourism has more realistic existence in terms of market fundamentalism of today’s neo-liberal era. Today it has become a symbol of the dominance of one’s culture upon the other. It has become a source of spreading colonization all over the world indirectly inspiring and influencing the extinction of cultural diversity. Tourism as a social phenomenon is not shaping with the changing culture, social practices, and globalized economy but in fact, is adversely implementing the change. It is the colonization of western culture gradually pushing the other culture into the category of ethnic, primitive and reserved. As a result, most of those cultures have turned into tourism products and are now reserved only for the events, stages, and showcases.

Places you will never find the Definition of Tourism in India.

Tourism in India is more like an uncontrolled flow of religious people visiting Ghats, Mandirs, and Masjids. Here the concept of Atithi-Devo Bhava is and was nowhere applicable. A sense of equality is seen among the crowd that doesn’t differentiate people according to their culture and class. No one is Athithi but a disciple or a follower in the crowd. The definition of Tourism products and Services in terms of the international and market standards does not match in such type of tourism in India. The rooms with only basic needs with no western style toilets, fetch the travelers whose only purpose of the visit will be religious and spiritual. There is merely any significance of categorizing domestic and international tourists here. This type of Tourism, to define in today’s terms, is more primitive without any change, it stands out of the topic.

Tourism is a leisurely social practice since it rarely engages any earning activity. It is the true form of expenditure that does not build up any visible assets and liabilities in exchange. It is a business of anticipated experiences that should be delivered through all the five senses of Human nature. Beautiful view of nature and architecture, good food, different types of languages and music, unpolluted and fresh air to breathe and the feeling of cold in the Himalayas, the wetness of sea, and the warmth of Desert are all the products of Tourism. The question now remains is how Tourism is pushing the primitive cultures into a mere stage show? Well, it all starts with the arrival of ” Alternative Tourists”.

Who are “Alternative Tourists”?

The story begins with a remote village. The tradition and culture are nowhere in such a state that they need an up-gradation. People are still happy. The consumption of resources has not crossed the danger line. No one has ever matched their standard of living comparatively with any other standards. The standards that are always on a quest of delivering more and more. Then a traveler arrives who is like a fugitive hiding from the fear of imprisonment of modernity. He or she loves to travel back to the time where there are no targets, less competition, over-eating is a word that does not exist and yet more to arise every day.

The traveler who is more like an alien inspires them and opens a window of fantasy. The window shows things to the villagers they had never dreamt of. They realize that they live a hard and unhappy life, away from the basic health care facilities, uneducated, uncivilized, unhygienic, underpaid and many more things.

Then comes the realization that their culture and tradition is something they can sell in exchange to acquire that life of fantasy. The warm family rug converts into an elegant dining, that cozy room starts seeming congested and the traditional and cultural practices become outdated and vague.

What Happens then?

Following the traveler, who was a true Atithi ( Guest), an alternative tourist, a commercial crowd make their way. They bring their world of modernity along with them. So, now the villagers adopt the life of fantasy and keep their own under the curtains and hide them.  Their earlier life now becomes a product to sell, a drama for the theatre, all exclusive product for the money. Above all, you establish an Industry – Tourism.

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The wine tours of Darjeeling and Sikkim

5 Sedative Local Drinks you shouldn’t Skip While Traveling Bengal

Traveling Bengal is a little different experience than traveling to other states of India. The vast number of communities you will find after every 5 km is certainly a thrilling experience for every traveler. Not only do they differ in the way they look, but also their culture, tradition, language, and lifestyle. So, when it comes to exploring the diversity of the colors, you should never miss the taste. Keeping aside the types and tastes of different traditional cuisines, this post will help you more on the wet flavors that quench the thirst of your throat. Now, as just wetting the throat will not give any flavor,  there is a little addition of sedation as well.

As there are many communities, this post gives you the information on the tribe as well. The method of distillation may match with all the communities but the taste and flavor are what make them different.

Rhododendron Wine –  Darjeeling’s Delight and Sikkim’s Sedation.

Traveling Bengal

Rhododendron wine

Locally named as ” Gurans ko Raksi”,  it is a traditionally distilled brewage of Darjeeling and Sikkim region. It is made from none other than the beautiful Rhododendron flowers that blossom during early March to Late July. The Hill people drink it as a medicinal drink. The charming Red Color of this brewage may look similar to a red wine, but the taste is surprisingly different. With little sour and leafy flavor containing the aroma of the petals of Rhododendron Flower, this drink will insulate you amidst the chilling weather of Darjeeling and Sikkim.



Raksi – A brewage made of Millet and Rice.

This Brewage is the most common drink and you can have it anytime traveling Bengal. The crystal clear color may seem like a Vodka, but the taste is somewhat similar to Nepal’s traditional Drink “Ayla”. The only difference is that Raksi is made of Millet and Ayla is made of different grains mixed together. Raksi has three qualities depending on its alcoholic percentage.

Locally classified into three category – 

Traveling Bengal - The local Drinks of Bengal

Raksi- the local drink of Hills of Bengal

  1. Ek Paaney ( The first level distillation)  – The alcoholic content is very strong. So all the whiskey and Vodka lovers can try this.
  2. Dui Paaney ( The second ) – The alcoholic content is moderate.
  3.  Tin Paaney – This is the most common because locals mostly consume this.

Normally, you would certainly prefer the first one because it has all the strong flavors that you can enjoy. The locals may charge you a little higher for this drink.


Tongba – The Bamboo Drink

Served in a beautifully crafted Bamboo Vessel along with a thick Bamboo Straw, Tongba is

Offbeat travel Bengal

Tongba- a local drink of Bengal

a common drink among most of the indigenous Himalayan tribes like Lepchas, Tamangs and Tibetans. The drink is made of fermented millet grain that you need to directly sip after pouring the hot water in the Bamboo Vessel. Often served with


Barbecued pork, Tongba is also served traditionally during festivals. Nowadays, you may even find Tongba Bars on the streets of Sikkim and Darjeeling. So if you are traveling Bengal, this is the only drink that you can enjoy even at the busy Marketplaces, unlike the above-mentioned drinks.

Jaand or Chhaang – The Millet Beer

The local Drinks of Darjeeling and Sikkim

Chaang or Jaand – The Millet Beer of Darjeeling of Sikkim

This drink is made in the same way Tongba is made. The only difference is the presentation and drinking style. Chang or Jaand is the juice of millet prepared after squeezing the fermented millet. This drink is quite heavy as it is

nothing but the flour of Millet mixed with hot water. You may have a filled stomach after drinking Chang. You can even take this as an alternative to carb drinks.


Handiya – The Rice Beer

This drink is more common in the Plain areas. This drink is more common amongst the tribes of plain areas like Urao, Sautal, Rabha, Toto, Mechiyas etc. Made of fermented rice this drink too is similar to chhaang, but has a different taste and flavor because it is made of Rice.

The other form of Rice beer is Nigar. It is not the squeezed rice but the wine. The distillation of rice wine happens naturally during it fermenting stage.

Indian Local Wines

Nigar – The Rice Wine


Dooars drink

Handiya – The rice beer


Now that you have known all about the local drinks of Bengal, you need to plan a route that will take you to this less traveled routes of Bengal. Traveling Bengal with Meaningful Travel India is fun and adventurous because here you will hear the voice assistance of Hosts and not the travel agents. Get your travel plan customised and travel through a local’s perspective. So call us, hear us and reach us anytime, every time for the offbeat travel plans of Bengal.

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Incredible Rural India

The Veiled Truth of Incredible Rural India

The word “incredible rural India” has quite become a keyword that attracts many foreigners in the common tourist places of India. The story has not much changed since the decades in such places. You would still find the same environmental bubble impressing the travellers with the same glimpses, fed in their memories in the form of stories, videos, books and articles. The only change that has been closely observed is the growing crowd, growth in the number of bargaining touts, congested hotel rooms and fraudulent advertisements. As a result more number of travellers opt for special interest tours avoiding the mainstream form of conventional tourism. The Rural India, in this context, has today grown into a lucrative product of Tourism and is now showcased as one of the primary attractions for the special interest tourists.

The Rural India may develop a glimpse of a different world in your mind. A world, where money is not the factor to buy all the materialistic happiness and where the roots of Indian culture can be reached. India is a country where every village will have different culture, tradition and altogether a different world. Precisely it also means that not all the rural places of India can be truly termed as ” Rural” by its true definition. For instance the outskirt areas , slum areas and even the true villages of Northern India can hardly be termed as Rural. In contrary to what “Rural” defines, such areas are not the roots of Indian culture but the results of exploitation of Modern Culture. It’s the time for you to know the different between the true Rural India and the ones that are just the results of prodigal urbanisation, and are often named as one form of Rural Tourism :

The Farm Houses of Incredible Rural India :

Do not get overwhelmed when you come across one of such properties that are sold under the concept of  farm stays. Such accommodations are just made to meet the extravagant needs of lavishly lifestyle of Urban riches. Measuring the demands of rural tourism , a new trend has now developed where the external investors from urban areas convince the innocent villagers to sell their only property – Land. This way they develop a two-way profit source, both for their needs of riotous lifestyle and to earn some extra black money. The remote locations of rural areas are hardly under any surveillance that can create the problem of taxes. This opens the opportunity for such rich owners to utilise the innocence of rural people. In contrary to the true ethics of rural tourism that speak about ecological balance and the cultural authenticity of Rural India, a full fledged commercial unit gets established that further again ruins all the social benefits of Rural tourism. In the name of farm stay a luxurious villa fulfilling the luxurious demands of urban culture then takes place with  value additions of organic and purely natural ambience of Rural culture, overall delivering merely an illusion of Incredible Rural India.

Not Home stays of Incredible Rural India, but Leased hotels :

 When you hear about Home-stays what is the picture that comes in your mind? Probably a beautiful and cozy home built by a lovely family with bricks of love, concrete relationships and doors of cultural Hospitality. Where the smoke coming out from the kitchen would be filled with the aroma of inherent culture and tradition, and where the smiles would not let you miss your family whom you’ve left all the way back home. Your mind is prepared to encounter such an ambience, but alas!, even here the dreams and illusions are converted into a sample of product of tourism Business. A new trend has now set up where the travel business owners explore the offbeat rural destinations and convince the innocent villagers to lease out one or two rooms of their house to be used as Homestay accommodations. This way a commercial ambience of hotel industry travels from the urban areas to the rural areas exploiting the culture and tradition of Rural areas, as for them such things have least value in comparison to fetch back their investment along with profit. This way you may initially see it as a homestay but in real picture you will be staying in a hotel following the commercial trend of business.

Above all, the major role is also played by the type of tourists who have such demands that can never be fulfilled under the rural environment. As a result, to meet their urban demands, the villagers too become reliable to their urban counterparts becoming their accomplice in exploiting their own destination. So, the picture that may be shown to you with flowery description may not truly hold the truth behind it. In this context , if you are one of such meaningful travellers who really care for the people and the nature then there are few things that can help you to identify the true units of ” Incredible Rural India”.

The Visibility :

The destinations that are owned by commercial units have more visibility in media & publication. They are easily found and approachable. This is because the marketing part is done not by the villagers who hardly have any access to media, but by those for who are expert in business entrepreneurship.

The Occupancy:

This is one major identifier for the true rural destinations of India. For the villagers a  rural tourism unit is not their main source of income, but just an alternative. The home -stay accommodation is not primarily a commercial tourist accommodation , but a home for their family. So if the home-stay has higher number of occupancy available for the tourists then there is a high chance that the home-stay may be a leased out  commercial tourist accommodation.

The Host:

If the host you are communicating belongs to a commercial travel business background, then there are high chances that the destination is just another unit of commercial urban tourism. The way of communication, the presentation, also determine the authenticity of Rural destination. A meaningful rural host will always lack the professionalism. In contrary there may also be few social organisations and volunteers of rural tourism involved who would be doing the work on their behalf but may not truly be professional tourism business owners. In such cases there may not be any doubt that you will find the true essence of Incredible rural India.


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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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