Rural Tourism is a fairly new (but rapidly growing) concept in India.
For people who are hearing this for the first time, the idea is that the traveler stays in a village, enjoys the hospitality of the locals and participate in their daily routines to exchange knowledge & make new friends.
Recently, the ToRoots team took one of such experiences via GrassRoutes Journeys in a distant village in Maharashtra & below is the capture of the same.
Located in Akole block of District Ahmednagar, Village Purushwadi is situated 220 km from both Mumbai & Pune en route to Nasik. This tribal village is inhabited by the ‘Hindu Mahadeo Koli’ tribe, renowned as rice cultivators and skilled animal herdsmen.
We reached there in the evening and were greeted by smiling villagers who were speaking fluent English. Later we learnt that they were fluent just not in English but Hindi & Marathi too.
Most of us only knew two languages.
When inquired, they told that that they learnt it simply by interacting with the wide ethnicity of travelers, who visit their village.
The impact was just not restricted to language. The locals were well aware of the importance of education, the equality of men & women, and that the right age of marriage is post 20.
What stood out : When you take a Rural travel, you expose locals to a wider culture and have a deeper impact.
Our stay was arranged on a mountain top & the accommodation arrangements were in canvas tents.
Being an urban animal, we all are somehow habitual to have our evenings filled with car honks, notification sounds & many other artificial noises.
Here, the devices were of no use as there were no signals. No cars were to be seen here & the evenings were filled with the sound of water of a flowing river in a nearby valley, the chirping of the birds & the sound of cool air.
What stood out : The real magic of evenings, where nature fill in the settings with all kind of soothing sounds.
Our dinner was at a local house. We walked some 500 mts to reach our dinner host’s home and with just one light and a shy smile, she welcomed us in. Right into the heart of her house.
The food was getting prepared in clay pots over charcoal. Our dinner was in the kitchen, right by the ‘chula’ where our host had just cooked. We chatted with her as she doled out the food. under one solitary light. The meal was simple, wholesome but it was special.
What stood out: Sitting on a mat, we forgot all those fancy restaurants because of the warm hospitality of our host who was keen to serve us hot ‘just prepared’ food.
Our night started sitting around a camp fire with chai & laughs all around. The moon was providing the ambiance lighting while we interacted with the locals, making new friends & understanding their way of living.
We learnt that their main occupation is farming & they grow the crops not to sell but to feed the family. The food that we ate as dinner was all organic and required some months efforts to grow in a nearby field.
What stood out : Once you meet the creator of your daily staple, there is an overwhelming feeling to hug them, once you learn their efforts of harvesting.
The morning was spectacular! The moon was setting down behind a mountain and at the same time the orange fireball was coming up from the back of another mountain. The villagers were already up and were greeting us with genuine smiles.
No usual stale ‘good mornings’ , no half nods. Just bright smiles & beaming faces.
Before we left in the afternoon, some of us tried hands in ploughing fields and that’s the first for all of us. Using the dated tools we worked with the local farmer , with a hope that after few months, the harvest will inspire a new traveler.
What stood out: The simple life holds so much in it that one can’t understand it unless they are in it.
Do connect to us for unique rural experiences across India.
Few Photo Courtesy : Grassroutes Journeys