Raj Sunani, Assistant Regional Director, India Tourism, said: “Rural Tourism is a unique concept that we launched 10 years ago to provide holidaymakers with the opportunity to explore and experience the real India. The UK & Ireland is one of our most important markets and we are very excited to now provide holidaymakers with the opportunity to explore India away from the conventional tourist trail. To see the real India, you need to see rural India.”
Via the scheme, travellers are encouraged to explore rural villages and stay with local families, receiving a first-hand experience of local cultural traditions such as cuisine, textiles, crafts and the natural rural environment.
The concept has been launched by Culture Aangan, a social enterprise dedicated to promoting sustainable rural tourism and supporting the development of grass-roots projects. The project aims to share village life culture and also generate a vital livelihood for people living in rural India by offering them the opportunity to renovate their farmhouses with sustainable features such as working water wells while learning new skills, including how to host their guests.
Rashmi Sawant, Culture Aangan Holidays, said: “We launched Culture Aangan in 2005 with our first project taking place in Sindhudurg, where we worked with local villages who had never hosted tourists before. For centuries, Indian villages have been self-sufficient and rich in local heritage, and we wanted to ensure travellers to India could access these traditional cultures in an easy and personal way.
“Our home stays now range from the Sindhdurgh region on the Konkan Coast in Maharashtra to the Pali district in the Rajasthan desert and we tailor-make the itineraries, ensuring travellers receive a once-in-a-lifetime trip.”
The destinations included in the itineraries have been hand-picked by Culture Aangan, ensuring a range of products are available to travellers including home stays, farm stays, school tours and rural getaways. From exploring the villages of Rajasthan and spending the day with the camel herding community to bathing with buffalos and learning the art of block printing from the Rabaaddi Tribes, there is something to suit every traveller’s holiday wish list.