Children from a village in Himachal

Heritage Tourism in Indian Villages

Heritage tourism is an excellent way of  preservation of old historical monuments, sights, arts and crafts commercially viable as well as making them more accessible and popular among the masses. As travelers look for something more than just sightseeing heritage tourism is fast gaining popularity all over the world.  There are various types of heritage tourism which can include activities such as stays in old traditional villages and towns, spending some time with local artisans learning their crafts, visits to historical monuments and so on.

Life in Indian villages
Life in Indian villages

As this is a huge topic with a number of possibilities, we will keep it limited to one topic this time and cover a few later on. In this blog post, we will be discussing heritage tourism in Indian villages.  As a very large portion of Indian population still lives in villages, village heritage tourism is one of the most authentic way of discovering India and it’s real culture, heritage, people and legendary hospitality which originates from Atithi Devo Bhav (अतिथिदेवो भव; Guest is god). Unlike normal touristy things, heritage tourism in villages concentrates more on people, their art and lifestyle rather than sights, though the latter can be an important part of the journey.

As most villages in India don’t have fancy hotels, the stays are mostly done in homestays or small guest houses operated by local families.   The facilities offered in such accommodations are rather basic with running water and electricity being exception rather than the norm in many places. Although things are changing fast, but if you think that you absolutely need such things during your stay, it’s best to confirm in advance.

Children from a village in Himachal
Children from a village in Himachal

Moving on, such a tour package helps the travelers connect with the locals and get to know them and their lives better than anything else. These are also an excellent way to work as a volunteer, do some charitable work, learn some new form of art and so on. Following are certain things to do in a village heritage tour in India:

  • Learn Yoga: As mentioned in one of our posts about Yoga, a lot of Yoga ashrams are situated outside cities in small villages or in wilderness. A lot of people prefer to live in small rented accommodations or homestays during their Yoga course. This is particularly popular in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • Learn art: India is home to thousands of different art forms in dance, music, pottery, woodwork, painting, clothes,  martial arts, cooking and others. Each region in India has it’s own culture and specialised art forms. For example, music in a small village in Himachal will be completely different from that one in Rajasthan. A fair number of travelers are interested in learning different art forms in their authentic form and  this option is a very relaxing and best way of learning.
  • Relaxing vacation: This type of village tourism is also the best way to relax and detoxify yourselves away from noises, pollution and bustle of big cities. For travelers looking for a break from their hectic lifestyles, it’s a perfect way to get rid of worries, take life one day at a time and just relax. Travelers can also choose to learn some art or skill as mentioned above.
  • Sightseeing and adventure: As a number of Indian villages are situated near to natural attractions like beaches, mountains, forests etc., staying there is a good idea if you want to have the most authentic experience.

This ends our first post on heritage travel in India. If you have more ideas, suggestions or information about interested places and events, please share it with us.

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