Rural Tourism In India
When you get exhausted by the hectic schedules of city life and want to break free, you could visit the untraveled and unseen parts of India; the rural India where Nature is still worshipped, delectable local cuisines are still prepared in mud utensils and visitors are ushered in with hitherto unknown hospitality. The taste of the earthy ways of life, the simple joys and the vibrant cultures of the Indian villages would rejuvenate your spirit and sway your heart in the rhythm of folk music as you visit the different villages, each with its unique characteristics.
If you are keen to experience a stay in the conventional rural huts, live an organic way of life and enjoy the heritage stays, you could choose from the villages discussed below for your next few destinations back to back!
Kumbalangi, a small and beautiful island village off Kochi
in Kerala, is the first Model Tourism Village in India. You would be amazed to see how an underdeveloped fishing village can be transformed into a model fishing village and eco-tourism hotspot. You could experience the different homestays all of which are famous for the sumptuous coastal delicacies. The abundance of natural resources make this village offer a veritable treat to its visitors. Along with the famous Chinese fishing nets there are many other sights to enjoy. The age-old cultural heritage of the people and the simple livelihood would fascinate you apart from the indigenous fishing experiences, country boat cruises and crab farming experiences. The cage culture type of fish farming practised here is surely an added attraction for all the tourists. If you are looking for some adventures, then you would thoroughly enjoy the crab farming and “I catch, you fry” style of backwater cruises here. You would also enjoy walking along the lush green paddy fields of the village where the renowned ‘pokkali’ organic rice is cultivated. The nearest station from Kumbalangi is at Ernakulam, about 25 kilometres. Cochin International Airport, about 46 kilometres away is the nearest airport.
Jyotisar, Kurukshetra district, Haryana
Jyotisar village is about 12 kilometres from the city of Kurukshetra on Pehowa Road in Haryana
. Combining the two words 'Jyoti' meaning light and 'sar' meaning tank, this village is birth place of the holy book of the Hindus called Bhagwad Gita. Tourists from all over the world visit this holy village, especially during the lunar and the solar eclipses when holy dips are very common here. Not just the pious people, but also the ones who love adventure would enjoy staying in this village where the main attraction is the marble image of the Lord Krishna and Arjuna of the Hindu epic Mahabharat. The village has a rich heritage of art and crafts. Dari making with the use of conventional colourful patters, traditional pottery, wood carving and folk painting mark the heritage of this place. You could buy the different kinds of handicrafts such as paper baskets, hand embroidered garments and take back a piece of this village on your way back home. The best time to visit this small spiritual haven is between October and February.
Pochampally, Andhra Pradesh
50 kilometres away from Hyderabad, Pochampally, known as the ‘weavers’ town’ is one of the interesting rural tourism destinations of India. If you are an ardent fan of silk ‘Ikat’, this place is a must-visit site for you. The amazing ways of marking, dying and drying of silk threads before the ikats are woven would leave you delighted. This place looks beautiful being set amidst the lush paddy plantations. Spending time here learning about the intricacies of art would surely make your stay worthwhile. You should also not miss out watching the Sri Markandeshwara temple situated in Pochampally, which is famous for being the home to the historical ‘Bhudaan Movement’ which was initiated by Vinobha Bhave. One of the most unique experiences would be sipping the local farmers’ drink, the freshly extracted toddy.Also Read: Rural Tourism in Andhra Pradesh
Hodka in Kutch district, Gujarat
The capital of the Kachchh or Kutch region of Gujarat
known as Hodka, is a village that is located 63 kilometres away from Bhuj. The famous embroidery out of mirror works that Kutch is renowned for can be one of the main reasons behind your visit to this place. Additionally, you could also enjoy the appliqué work, mud-mirror decorations and leather-craft. Let alone the art work, the attraction of natural wonders would also beckon you to this place where more than 100 species of migratory birds are found during the winter season in the Banni grasslands. While the exhilarating experience of staying in the ‘Bhunga’ or the local designed huts with mud and thatched roof would compel you to stay back, the attraction of the local crafts, textiles and mirror work too would not let you leave the place.
The sumptuous local cuisines consisting of Roti with butter and molasses followed by Khichdi-karhi is a must-have. You can relax during the evenings and as the night grows darker, the brightness of the bonfires and the rhythm of Kachchhi folk music make your experience all the more memorable. If you are eager to be a part of the festivities of this region, you could catch Sharad Utsav, the Dhrang fair and the Hajipir fair. In case you want to travel via the airways, Bhuj is the airport nearest to this village.
Pipili in Puri District, Orissa
36 kilometres away from Puri
, where the Konark road is seen to branch to Puri Road from Bhubaneshwar there lies the world-famous appliqué work hub called Pipili or Pipli. Pipli is the name used for the Pipli Sasan and Darji Sahi villages. The handicrafts of this town serve as the means of its income. The gorgeous appliqué technique that travels worldwide can be the sole reason for your visit to this place. You would be amused to see how clothes are cut into shapes of flowers, birds, decorative motifs, Gods and Goddesses and then stitched to give the final look. Lampshades, handbags, cushion covers, canopies, garden umbrellas can be some of the items you could shop from here. And when it comes to digging into the delicious local cuisines, you have ample options since the state of Orissa is renowned for its culinary excellence. Although being deeply religious-minded, many people practice vegetarianism, but you would also find many who relish fish and other sea food delicacies such as crabs, prawns and lobsters found plentifully at the vast coastline of the state.
Bastar District, Chhattisgarh
The Chitrakoot waterfalls, better known as the Niagara of India is the main attraction of the Bastar district, Chhattisgarh
. Jagdalpur, a municipal corporation in the district of Bastar has a historical significance ever since its mention in Valmiki's epic Ramayana. When you visit Chhattisgarh, you would have more to enjoy in addition to the magnificent waterfalls. The mountains, the valleys, the forests the greenery, the caves and the streams would amuse you at every step of exploring this tribal area. The pivot of folk arts and handicrafts, this place would give you the taste of tribal life through the festivals of Goncha
and the traditional tribal dance called Raut Nacha
. You could get some ornaments made of mixed metals, shells, cowries, bones, copper and bronze which the tribal women of this area wear. You would love to pamper your taste buds with the delicious Chhattisgarhi cuisines Pakhal Bhat, Angakar Roti, Kosra and Rice Flour Chapati. One thing that you should never miss is the extremely popular native delicacy brew called Mahuwa which is made of the tiny creamy white fruit by the same name. The best time to visit this place is between October and March. The closest airport to Bastar is Raipur
which is 300 kilometres from Jagdalpur.
Ballabhpur Danga in Birbhum District, West Bengal
The spirit of the Santhal Adivasi tribal community living amidst the rustic rural beauty of Bengal
can be experienced if you visit Ballabhpur Danga in Birbhum District, just 3 kilometres from Shantiniketan. You could get carried away in the natural beauty and greenery here since the Avayaranya forest area and bird sanctuary is to the south of Ballabhpur Danga and the Sonajhuri forest to its east. While you mingle with the local tribes, you could know more about their art and crafts and the culture that they embrace. The spectacular terracotta works, the ‘batik’ works, mat weaving, carpentry, broom binding and designing ornaments out of various types of seeds, date palm, leaves would leave you astonished. You could unwind watching the tribal dance in the open air around a fire against the rhythms of the instrument called madal that the tribal people play. The songs and recitations of the tribal community speak about their myths and history. You could visit many places and enjoy your trip if you go there between October and April. Apart from being a part of the festivals like Chhabish Prahar, Badna and Charak Puja, you could also shop some authentic tribal things from their local market or haat
at Sonajhuri. You would remain fresh and rejuvenated during your stay as you relish the traditional Birbhum meal that consists of rice, leafy vegetables, lentils and all kinds of fresh ingredients. Ballavpur Danga is 160 kilometres away from the Howrah railway junction. The closest airport is Kolkata.
Aranmula, Pathanamthitta District, Kerala
The earliest river boat celebration in Kerala called the Aranmula Boat Race which has been one of the prime attractions of week-long Onam festival, has its home in the unique heritage village of Aranmula, located on the banks of river Pampa. The famous snake boat race is what beckons thousands of spectators every year and you could be a part of it living every bit of the spirit. In order to enjoy the place and its essence, you could go for homestays. You could enjoy the palatable staple food of Kerala which includes rice, accompanied by lots of vegetables and a variety of pulses. 'Sambar'
are the most enjoyed dishes. Fish is common fair in the Malayalam cuisine. Relaxation knows no bound here where you can spend hours watching the artisans engaged in making Aranmula metal mirror, the mural paintings or boats that are used for the annual boat race. The nearest railways station is Chengannur which is about 10 kilometres away from Aranmula. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the closest airport that is 117 kilometres away.
Lachen in North District, Sikkim
Lachen is a tribal Village in North Sikkim, 129 kilometres from Gangtok
. This 8500 feet high village with the rock cliffs, the snow-capped peaks and the conifers and rhododendrons at its backdrop gives the perfect essence of freshness and purity and is hence a favourite rural tourism destination of many. Comprised of 200 houses, this village provides awesome homestay facilities. While you could purge your soul of all impurities being in the lap of Nature, the holy chants from the famous Lachen Monastery would add to the attraction. Staying amidst the Lachenpas who are the happy-go-lucky people and precipitating with them as they celebrate in sporting, socialising and feasting occasions round the year would refresh you and bring out the child inside you. Some of the festivals that you could enjoy with the Lachenpas are Drukpa Tse-shi, Lossong, Phang Lhabsol,Lhabab Dhuchen, Chaam, Drukpa and Saga Dawa. You could join the villagers of Lachen and relish their staple food which includes rice, potato and pork. Rice often gets supplemented by local breads, noodles and other local dishes like corn and Sikkimese momos. Your trip could be the most enjoyable if you visit either from March to July or from October to mid December.
Karaikudi in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu
If you want to experience the authentic taste of hot and spicy Chettinad cuisine served on banana leaf with a huge number of courses and enjoy the hospitality of the simple people, then you must visit Karaikudi or Chettinad village in Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu. Apart from the sumptuous meal, you could visit the famous old Chettiar mansions and witness the art and architecture, the rich heritage and the affluence of the Chettiar community that is still reflected in the doors and frames made of carved teak, the granite pillars, the marble floors, the Italian tiles, the Belgian mirrors and the magnificence of the architecture. If you visit this place between the months of November and February you could enjoy your trip and visit the Karpaka Vinayakar Temple and Sri Sowmiyanarayana Perumal Kovil in Thirukoshtiyurattracts. The nearest airport to this place is the Madurai Airport which is 80 kilometres away.
Banavasi, Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka
The rain forests of the Western Ghats have given shelter to Banavasi or Konkanapura that lies deep within flanked by Varada River on its three sides. Developed around the Madhukeshwara Temple that was constructed in the 9th century, this is one of the oldest places of this Indian state that is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It is famous for growing sugarcane, rice, spices, areca nuts and pineapple. This culturally rich place would let you participate in the famous cultural festival known as Kadambothsava that is organized in December of every year which features classical music, folk dances, drama, art exhibitions and literary works contributed by many talented artistes from South India. The famous Yakshagana masks which are used in the Yakshagana dance celebrated along Northa Karnataka are made in this place. The nearest airport to Banavasi is Bangalore which is 326 kilometres away.
Nepura, Nalanda District, Bihar
10 kilometres away from Rajgir and 4 kilometres from Nalanda
, Nepura has earned its historical significance because of the widespread belief that Lord Gautam Buddha had given his first preaching in this place. One of the three famous mango groves of the Nalanda University was situated here where both Gautam Buddha and Mahavira stayed. This small village between the towns of Rajgir and Nalanda is famous for the weaving of the celebrated Tussar silk. About 50 out of 250 villages are into silk weaving. If you are eager to experience a stay in the village resorts, you can enjoy the most if you visit this place during the winter months. While your stay, you would meet the local people who love to cook, eat and feed guests. The staple food of this region consists of rice, pulses and different types of vegetables. One of the major attractions of Bihar is the Chhat Puja, which is celebrated twice a year with great fervour. Nalanda is the nearest railway station to Nepura and Patna which is 72kilometres away is the nearest airport.
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh
Enriched with its rural charms, culture and heritage, Mandu is located around 100 kilometres from Indore
in Madhya Pradesh
. It is a hub of palaces, forts, mosques, Jain temples and tombs. Apart from being an awesome tourism destination Mandu is famous for its Jahazi Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Taveli haveli, Ashrafi Mahal, Palace of Baz Bahadur and Pavilion of Rani Roopmati. The fragrance of the romantic tales of Rani Roopmati and Baz Bahadur is there in the air of this place and monsoon is the best season to enjoy the spirit of this amorous destination. While you get lost amidst the royal tales and historical charms, when your fantasy gets broken by pangs of hunger, you can devour the palatable delicacies served here. You would enjoy a wide variety of cuisines, some of the dishes being kusli, jalebi, baflas, pilaf with peas, lavang lata, indori puri palak ki, biryani and kebabs. You can also pamper your sweet tooth with chakki ki shaak made of wheat, butte ki kees made of milk and corn, , mawa-bati and malpua. If you are adamant not to miss watching sunset from the Pavilion of Rani Roopmati, then you must visit this place. The nearest airport is Indore (100 kilometres) and the most convenient Railhead is Ratlam (105 kilometres) on the Mumbai-Delhi Highway.
Shekhawati, named after its ruler Rao Shekha, meaning the garden of Shekha, is a semi desert region in northern Rajasthan. Dotted with innumerable palaces or havelis, this place is considered to tbe the "open art gallery of Rajasthan". The plethora of painted havelis noted for the fresco paintings exhibiting mythological themes, the forts, the mosques, the castles and the magnificent paintings together contribute to the richness of this place so much so that perhaps no other region of Rajasthan is as artistically as appealing and rich as Shekhawati. As a tourist you would not only enjoy such rich heritage, but you would also thoroughly enjoy shopping for numerous handicrafts like decorated chests, tie-dye fabrics, metal utensils, bangles and brass and iron scissors. The spirit of Rajasthani delights would charm you and compel you to stay back for a few more days. The best way to access Shekhawati by road is from Jaipur or from Bikaner. The nearest Airport is Sanganer Airport in Jaipur.
Also Read: Rural Tourism in Rajasthan
Naggar, Himachal Pradesh
22 kilometres away from Manali
, in Himachal Pradesh, there is a small village renowned for its valuable heritage, by the name Naggar 5750 feet above sea level, on a sleepy hill, this village is located near the left bank of the Beas River. If you want to take a break and spend some quality tie in a Himalayan village, then Naggar would be your ideal destination. The peasant weather, the magnificent beauty, the pristine purity and the historical remains of the past in the forms of the Naggar Castle constructed by King Sidh Singh in the 16th century can make it the ideal rural tourism hotspot. Apart from the famous Naggar castle, you could also visit the Gowri Shankar Temple, the Dagpo Shedrupling Monastery, the Chamunda Bhagwati temple and the Muralidhar temple. If you want o be a part of the Naggar people, then you could taste the authentic cuisines which include red rice, rajma, karhi, pulses and siddu. For the best kind of homestay experience in this Himalayan village, you should visit either between March and June or between August and October.
Pushkar, a small holy town of pilgrimage and hermitage, lies 135 kilometres down south of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The local guides narrate a tale of this place where it is said that during the times when gods and Goddesses roamed the planet of earth, Lord Brahma was looking for a place to conduct the Mahayagna and a swan was given a lotus to carry and look for the place. The place where the lotus fell was to be the Mahayagna site. It is believed that the lotus had fallen in Pushkar and the Pushkar Lake was formed. You are sure to be awed by the majestic temples of Pushkar and be influenced by the religious lifestyle of the people here. The food is very basic where. The best time to visit Pushkar is during the winter. If you are looking for a fresh start, you must visit this place and take back a whole world of peace and tranquillity along with you.
Orchha, Madhya Pradesh
Tired and exhausted, if you ever wish to lose the track of time, you must visit Orchha
, which is nothing less than a dreamland. A small town in the district of Tikamgarh in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Orchha, in the local Bundelkhandi language means ‘hidden’. The remains of the glorious capital of the Bundela Rajput kings make this place all the more exciting and popular. The rich and captivating culture which Orchha embraces reflects the era of the Bundelkhand emperors. You could enjoy the major festivals along with the locals which include Dussehra, Ram Navami and Diwali. If you are a food connoisseur, then Orchha is again the perfect rural tourism destination for you offering you a wide array of vegetarian, non vegetarian and lip smacking desserts. Since Orchha does not have an airport, you would have to fly to the Gwalior airport and then travel to Orchha which is around 120 kilometres away.
Thavanampalle Puttur, Andhra Pradesh
539 kilometres away from Hyderabad, Thavanampalle Puttur is a small village popular for its agriculture, silk and mangroves in Thavanampalle Mandal in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. The prominent silk business conducted here has made this small village even more prominent. You would like to experience the traditional homes and the pleasant stays. The healthy and simple lifestyle of the villagers would open a new horizon in front of you letting you visualise a new dimension of life. The villagers engaged in weaving silk sarees would let you have a memorable experience of making a grand tour of the silk saree making process. You would be delighted to see the warm hospitality of the local people and the simplicity of life that prevails there. Chittoor is the nearest town to Thavanampalle Puttur which has no railway station nearby.
With such interesting village tourism destinations at your disposal, you are sure to enjoy staying away from the madding crowd and unwinding amidst Nature in a safe and peaceful environment!