The Full Guide To Rural Tourism in India
By: Tiasha Chatterjee
This article will discuss Rural tourism in India, showcasing the country's rural communities and traditional lifestyles, and the opportunity to experience local customs, arts, and crafts.
Tourism in India has always been focused on the country's urban centers, which are famous for their historical landmarks, vibrant nightlife, and bustling markets. However, India's rural areas offer an entirely different experience that is rich in culture, heritage, and natural beauty.
Rural tourism is a form of travel that is focused on rural destinations, offering visitors the opportunity to experience local customs, arts, and crafts, as well as traditional lifestyles. Rural tourism in India has immense potential, not just in terms of generating economic activity, but also in showcasing the country's rural communities and their unique way of life.
You require India e-Tourist Visa (eVisa India or Indian Visa Online) to witness the amazing places and experiences as a foreign tourist in India. Alternatively, you could be visiting India on an India e-Business Visa and want to do some recreation and sightseeing in northern India and the foothills of the Himalayas. The Indian Immigration Authority encourages visitors to India to apply for Indian Visa Online (India e-Visa) rather than visiting Indian Consulate or Indian Embassy.
Why Choose Rural Tourism In India?
Rural tourism offers numerous benefits to both tourists and local communities. For tourists, it offers an escape from the fast-paced urban life, allowing them to experience a more relaxed pace of life and get closer to nature. It also provides an opportunity to learn about local customs, traditions, and cultures, and to interact with the local community, which can be a rewarding experience. Rural tourism also helps to promote sustainable tourism practices, supporting local economies and reducing the impact of mass tourism on the environment.
For local communities, rural tourism can be a source of income, creating jobs and supporting local businesses. It can also help to preserve traditional skills and crafts that might otherwise be lost as younger generations migrate to cities. Additionally, it can help to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the environment and traditional cultures, promoting sustainable development.
There are already several successful examples of rural tourism in India, such as the village of Chandelao in Rajasthan, which has become famous for its homestay programs, allowing visitors to experience local customs, food, and culture. Another example is the village of Kumarakom in Kerala, which has developed a successful eco-tourism program that supports local communities while promoting sustainable tourism practices.
Here are some examples of destinations for rural tourism in India:
Chandelao Village, Rajasthan
Chandelao village is located about 40 km from Jodhpur and is known for its homestay programs. Visitors can stay with local families, experience local customs, food, and culture, and participate in activities like traditional cooking classes, camel safaris, and village walks.
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Kumarakom is a village located on the banks of Vembanad Lake in Kerala. The village has developed a successful eco-tourism program that supports local communities while promoting sustainable tourism practices. Visitors can enjoy activities like bird-watching, boating, and fishing, as well as experiencing local customs and culture.
Khonoma Village, Nagaland
Khonoma village is located in the northeastern state of Nagaland and is known for its rich cultural heritage and traditional customs. The village is surrounded by scenic mountains and forests, making it an ideal destination for nature-based tourism. Visitors can participate in activities like trekking, bird-watching, and visiting local handicrafts workshops.
Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the southern state of Karnataka. The village is known for its stunning ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire, as well as its picturesque landscapes and traditional rural life. Visitors can participate in activities like exploring the ruins, taking a coracle ride on the Tungabhadra River, and visiting local handicrafts workshops.
Kutch is a district located in the western state of Gujarat and is known for its vibrant cultural heritage and unique landscapes. Visitors can experience local customs and culture, including traditional dance forms like Garba and Dandiya, as well as exploring the famous Rann of Kutch, a salt desert that stretches for miles. Other activities include visiting local handicrafts workshops and taking camel safaris.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh:
Spiti Valley is located in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and is known for its breathtaking landscapes and unique cultural heritage. The valley is home to several Buddhist monasteries, as well as traditional villages where visitors can experience local customs and culture. Activities include trekking, visiting monasteries, and experiencing local festivals like Losar.
Majuli Island, Assam:
Majuli Island is located in the northeastern state of Assam and is the largest river island in the world. The island is known for its natural beauty, traditional culture, and unique art forms. Visitors can participate in activities like boat rides, exploring traditional villages, and visiting the famous Satras, which are monasteries that preserve the ancient art of Satriya dance and music.
Marwar region, Rajasthan:
The Marwar region in Rajasthan is known for its desert landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and traditional lifestyle. Visitors can experience local customs and culture, including traditional music and dance forms like Kalbelia and Ghoomar, as well as explore the famous desert forts and palaces. Other activities include taking camel safaris and visiting local handicraft workshops.
Wayanad is a rural district located in the southern state of Kerala and is known for its natural beauty and traditional lifestyle. The district is home to several indigenous communities, each with its own unique culture and customs. Visitors can experience local cuisine, participate in traditional farming practices, and explore the famous Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to several endangered species.
Mandu, Madhya Pradesh:
Mandu is a small town located in the central state of Madhya Pradesh and is known for its stunning medieval architecture and scenic landscapes. Visitors can explore the famous Mandu fort, which is home to several ancient monuments and palaces, as well as experience local customs and culture. Other activities include visiting local handicraft workshops and exploring the nearby scenic landscapes.
Cherrapunji is a small village located in the northeastern state of Meghalaya and is known for its stunning natural beauty and unique cultural heritage. The village is famous for receiving the highest rainfall in the world, which has resulted in lush green forests and scenic waterfalls. Visitors can participate in activities like trekking, exploring traditional villages, and experiencing local customs and culture.
Malana Village, Himachal Pradesh:
Malana Village is located in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh and is known for its unique culture and customs. The village is home to the Malana people, who have their own language and customs. Visitors can experience local cuisine, participate in traditional farming practices, and explore the famous Malana cream, which is a famous strain of cannabis grown in the region.
These are some more examples of destinations for rural tourism in India. Each destination offers a unique experience, showcasing the country's diverse cultural heritage and natural beauty. Rural tourism in India is a great way to experience the authentic and traditional lifestyle of rural communities while supporting local economies and preserving local cultures.It has immense potential, not just in terms of generating economic activity, but also in preserving traditional cultures and promoting sustainable tourism practices.
India Immigration Authority has suspended issuance of 1 year and 5 years e-Tourist Visa from 2020 with advent of COVID19 pandemic. At the moment, India Immigration Authority only issues 30-day tourist India Visa Online. Read more to learn about durations of different visas and how to extend your stay in India. Learn more at Indian Visa Extension Options.
Why Must Foreigners Visit Rural India?
Foreigners must visit rural India to experience the authentic, vibrant, and diverse culture of the country. Rural India offers a unique opportunity to witness the traditional way of life, customs, arts, and crafts of India's rural communities, which are not as visible in urban areas. By visiting rural India, foreigners can gain a deeper understanding of India's cultural heritage and rich history.
Rural India is also home to some of India's most beautiful natural landscapes, such as the Himalayan mountains, the Western Ghats, and the Thar Desert. These landscapes offer breathtaking views and unique experiences such as trekking, bird-watching, and camping.
Furthermore, rural India is an excellent destination for sustainable and responsible tourism. Many rural communities in India are dependent on agriculture and handicrafts, and by promoting rural tourism, foreigners can support local livelihoods and contribute to the local economy. Additionally, rural tourism can promote environmental conservation and help preserve cultural heritage.
Overall, visiting rural India can be a life-changing experience for foreigners as it offers an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and explore a new way of life. It can broaden their perspective and understanding of India's diverse culture and heritage, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Benefits of Rural Tourism:
Rural tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on visiting and experiencing the countryside and rural areas. Rural tourism in India, in particular, offers visitors the opportunity to experience the country's rural communities and traditional lifestyles, and the chance to engage in local customs, arts, and crafts. Here are some benefits of rural tourism:
Preservation of traditional cultures:
Rural tourism promotes the preservation of traditional cultures by showcasing the customs, arts, and crafts of local communities. This helps to preserve the unique identities and heritage of these communities, which might otherwise be lost due to modernization and globalization.
Rural tourism can help to support local economies by providing opportunities for income generation, especially in areas where agriculture and other traditional livelihoods may not be sufficient. This can lead to the creation of new jobs, businesses, and infrastructure development in rural areas.
Promotes sustainable tourism:
Rural tourism is often associated with sustainable tourism practices that focus on environmental conservation, community development, and cultural preservation. By promoting sustainable tourism, rural communities can benefit from tourism while minimizing negative impacts on the environment and local cultures.
Rural tourism can lead to the development of basic infrastructure like roads, sanitation, and electricity in rural areas, which can improve the quality of life for local communities. This can lead to the development of more amenities and services that can attract tourists to rural areas.
Promotes cultural exchange:
Rural tourism offers visitors the opportunity to engage with local communities and experience their way of life. This exchange can promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, leading to greater respect for diversity and tolerance.
Enhances quality of life:
Rural tourism can improve the quality of life for local communities by providing access to new markets, creating opportunities for social and cultural exchange, and promoting environmental conservation. This can lead to greater social and economic empowerment for rural communities.
Rural tourism in India offers numerous benefits, including the preservation of traditional cultures, economic development, sustainable tourism, improved infrastructure, cultural exchange, and enhancement of quality of life for local communities. By promoting and supporting rural tourism, we can create a more sustainable and equitable tourism industry that benefits everyone involved.
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The Potential of Rural Tourism in India:
Rural tourism has the potential to be a major contributor to India's tourism industry, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience of the country's rural communities and traditional lifestyles. Here are some reasons why rural tourism in India has great potential:
Rich cultural heritage:
India has a rich cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in its rural communities. Rural tourism provides an opportunity to experience this culture first-hand, including traditional music, dance, food, handicrafts, and festivals.
Diverse natural beauty:
India's rural areas offer diverse natural beauty, from the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala. Rural tourism allows visitors to experience this natural beauty and engage in activities like trekking, camping, and wildlife watching.
Rural tourism is an emerging trend in India, and there is a growing interest among both domestic and international tourists to explore the country's rural areas. This presents an opportunity for rural communities to showcase their culture and attract tourism.
Supporting local communities:
Rural tourism can support local communities by creating employment opportunities, promoting local businesses and products, and contributing to infrastructure development. This can have a positive impact on the socio-economic conditions of rural areas.
Rural tourism has the potential to promote sustainable tourism practices by promoting environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and community development. This can lead to the creation of more sustainable and responsible tourism practices in India.
Many rural areas in India are located within easy reach of major cities, making them accessible to both domestic and international tourists. This accessibility can help to attract more visitors to rural areas and support the growth of rural tourism.
Rural tourism in India has great potential due to its rich cultural heritage, diverse natural beauty, emerging trend, support for local communities, promotion of sustainable tourism, and easy accessibility. By promoting and supporting rural tourism, India can create a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry that benefits both tourists and local communities.
Foreigners who must visit India on a crisis basis are granted an Emergency Indian Visa (eVisa for emergency). If you live outside of India and need to visit India for a crisis or urgent reason, such as the death of a family member or cherished one, coming to court for legal reasons, or your family member or a cherished one is suffering from a real illness, you can apply for an emergency India visa. Learn more at The Emergency Visa to Visit India.
Challenges to Rural Tourism in India:
While rural tourism has great potential in India, there are also several challenges that need to be addressed in order to fully realize its benefits. Here are some of the challenges to rural tourism in India:
Lack of infrastructure:
Many rural areas in India lack basic infrastructure like roads, electricity, and sanitation, making it difficult for tourists to access these areas. The lack of infrastructure also limits the development of tourism amenities and services in rural areas.
Rural areas often have limited connectivity to major cities, making it difficult for tourists to access these areas. This can also limit the flow of information and resources to rural communities.
Low awareness and promotion:
Rural tourism in India is still a relatively new concept, and many tourists may not be aware of the opportunities available in rural areas. There is also limited promotion of rural tourism by government and private organizations.
Rural tourism requires investment in infrastructure, tourism amenities, and marketing, which can be challenging in areas where there is limited private investment and government funding.
Many rural areas in India experience seasonal tourism, with most tourists visiting during peak seasons. This can lead to overcrowding during certain times of the year, while leaving rural communities with little tourism activity during other times.
Limited trained workforce:
Rural areas often lack trained personnel to provide quality tourism services, including tour guides, hospitality staff, and transportation providers. This can limit the quality of the tourism experience in rural areas.
While rural tourism in India has great potential, there are several challenges that need to be addressed to fully realize its benefits. These challenges include a lack of infrastructure, limited connectivity, low awareness and promotion, limited investment, seasonal tourism, and a limited trained workforce. Addressing these challenges will require collaboration between government, private sector, and local communities to ensure the sustainable development of rural tourism in India.
Opportunities for Rural Tourism in India:
Despite the challenges, there are also several opportunities for rural tourism in India. Here are some of the opportunities that can be leveraged to promote and develop rural tourism in India:
Community-based tourism can be a way to promote rural tourism while also supporting local communities. This approach involves the active involvement of local communities in the planning and management of tourism activities, which can lead to greater ownership, empowerment, and benefits for the communities.
India has a rich agricultural heritage, and agritourism can be a way to showcase this heritage while also promoting sustainable agriculture practices. Agritourism can include activities like farm tours, organic farming workshops, and food and wine tastings.
Rural homestays can be a way to provide visitors with an authentic experience of rural life, while also supporting local communities. Homestays can be managed by local families, providing a source of income and employment for them.
Cultural tourism can be a way to promote rural tourism by showcasing the rich cultural heritage of rural communities. This can include traditional music and dance performances, handicraft workshops, and cultural festivals.
Ecotourism can be a way to promote rural tourism while also promoting environmental conservation. This can include activities like bird watching, nature walks, and wildlife safaris.
Adventure tourism can be a way to attract visitors to rural areas by offering activities like trekking, camping, and rafting. This can be particularly appealing to younger tourists who are seeking adventure and new experiences.
There are several opportunities for rural tourism in India, including community-based tourism, agritourism, rural homestays, cultural tourism, ecotourism, and adventure tourism. By leveraging these opportunities, India can promote sustainable and responsible rural tourism that benefits both tourists and local communities.
What Are Some Tips For Foreigners Visiting Rural India?
If you are a foreigner planning to visit India for rural tourism, here are some tips that can help you:
Plan ahead: Before you embark on your rural tourism adventure in India, plan your itinerary carefully. Research the destinations you want to visit, the activities you want to do, and the accommodation options available. It's also important to check the weather conditions and pack accordingly.
Respect local customs and traditions: India is a country with diverse cultures and traditions, and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, remove your shoes before entering places of worship, and ask for permission before taking photographs.
Learn a few basic phrases in the local language: Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can go a long way in building relationships with locals and understanding their way of life.
Try local food: Indian cuisine is diverse and delicious, and trying local food is a must-do when visiting rural India. However, be careful about what you eat and drink and stick to bottled water.
Stay with local families: Staying with local families can be a great way to experience rural life in India. Homestays are a popular option in rural areas and offer an opportunity to interact with local people and learn about their customs and traditions.
Respect the environment: India's rural areas are home to rich biodiversity, and it's important to respect the environment. Avoid littering, conserve water, and minimize your use of plastic.
Be flexible and patient: India is a country that can be chaotic and unpredictable at times, and it's important to be flexible and patient. Expect delays, traffic, and crowds, and try to embrace the experience with an open mind.
By following these tips, you can have a safe, enjoyable, and authentic rural tourism experience in India.
The India Evisa For Rural Tourism
India eVisa is an electronic travel authorization that allows foreign nationals to visit India for various purposes, including tourism, business, medical treatment, and attending conferences or workshops. The eVisa system was introduced by the Indian government in 2014 to simplify the visa application process and encourage more tourists to visit India.
Here are some important things to know about India eVisa:
Eligibility: Citizens of over 150 countries are eligible to apply for an India eVisa, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and most European countries. The eVisa is issued for a maximum duration of 60 days for tourism and business purposes and 180 days for medical treatment.
Types of eVisa: India eVisa is available in three categories - eTourist Visa, eBusiness Visa, and eMedical Visa. The eTourist Visa is the most popular type of eVisa, and it allows tourists to visit India for sightseeing, recreational activities, and meeting friends and relatives.
Application process: The India eVisa application process is entirely online and can be completed from the comfort of your home or office. Applicants need to fill in their personal details, upload a scanned copy of their passport and a recent photograph, and pay the visa fee using a credit or debit card.
Processing time: The processing time for India eVisa is typically 2-3 business days. However, it is advisable to apply for the eVisa at least a week before your intended travel date to avoid any last-minute issues.
Visa validity: The India eVisa is valid for a maximum of 60 days from the date of entry into India. The visa is single-entry, which means that once you leave India, you cannot re-enter using the same visa.
Visa extension: It is possible to extend the India eVisa for a maximum of two times, for a period of up to 30 days each time. However, the visa extension is subject to approval by the Indian government.
The introduction of India eVisa has made it easier for tourists and business travelers from around the world to visit India. The eVisa system has simplified the visa application process, and applicants can complete the process entirely online, making it more convenient and hassle-free. With the India eVisa, travelers can experience the rich cultural heritage, historical landmarks, and natural beauty of India. Therefore, if you are planning a trip to India for tourism, business, or medical treatment, applying for India eVisa can be a smart and efficient way to obtain your visa.
To Sum It Up
In conclusion, rural tourism in India offers a unique and authentic experience for travelers who seek to explore the country's traditional lifestyles, customs, arts, and crafts. By promoting rural tourism, India can showcase the rich cultural heritage of its rural communities and generate economic opportunities for local people.
Despite the challenges facing rural tourism in India, including inadequate infrastructure, lack of marketing, and the need for community involvement, there are also opportunities to promote and develop this sector. Community-based tourism, agritourism, rural homestays, cultural tourism, ecotourism, and adventure tourism are some of the opportunities that can be leveraged to promote sustainable and responsible rural tourism.
Furthermore, with the introduction of India eVisa, the Indian government has made it easier for foreign nationals to visit India, which can further promote rural tourism in the country. Overall, the development of rural tourism in India can benefit both tourists and local communities by providing unique experiences, preserving cultural heritage, and creating economic opportunities.
Here are some frequently asked questions about rural tourism in India:
What is rural tourism in India?
Rural tourism in India refers to tourism activities that take place in rural areas, with a focus on experiencing traditional lifestyles, customs, arts, and crafts of rural communities.
Why is rural tourism in India important?
Rural tourism in India is important as it offers a unique opportunity to showcase the cultural heritage and natural beauty of rural areas, while also generating economic opportunities for local communities.
What are some popular destinations for rural tourism in India?
Some popular destinations for rural tourism in India include Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
What are some activities that can be done during rural tourism in India?
Some activities that can be done during rural tourism in India include visiting local villages, participating in cultural activities and festivals, trying local food, learning about traditional crafts and arts, trekking, camping, and wildlife safaris.
Is rural tourism in India safe for foreigners?
Rural tourism in India can be safe for foreigners if they take the necessary precautions, such as respecting local customs and traditions, being aware of their surroundings, and avoiding isolated areas at night.
What is the best time to visit rural India?
The best time to visit rural India varies depending on the destination and the activities planned. It's important to check the weather conditions and plan accordingly.
Do I need a visa to visit rural India?
Yes, foreign nationals require a visa to visit India, including for rural tourism. The Indian government has introduced the eVisa system, which has made the visa application process more convenient and hassle-free.
Can I stay with local families during rural tourism in India?
Yes, staying with local families is a popular option during rural tourism in India, and homestays are available in many rural areas. It's a great way to experience the local culture and way of life.
Citizens of many countries including United States, France, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy are eligible for India e-Visa(Indian Visa Online). You can apply for the Indian e-Visa Online Application right here.
Should you have any doubts or require assistance for your trip to India or India e-Visa,contact Indian Visa Help Desk for support and guidance.