Rajasthan is an incredible place to visit. It has a rich history, architectural brilliance, exceptional hospitality, intense desert landscapes and is home to the world-famous Ranthambore National Park. The state attracts a lot of visitors from all over the world who come to experience its royal charm. The government and people of Rajasthan are taking a number of initiatives to reduce the impact of tourism on the environment and introduce activities that help the local community earn their livelihood in a sustainable manner.
Here are destinations in Rajasthan where you can help the community, environment and people by indulging in responsible tourism.
Tordi village, a part of Malpura tehsil in Rajasthan's Tonk district, has a lot to capture a travellers attention. This village, 98km from the state capital of Jaipur is full of spectacular hillocks, sand dunes, ancient temples, traditional houses and a ruined fortress on the foothills of the Aravali Range. This village was relatively unknown in the tourist circuit till BH Hemendra Singh, the descendant of the founders of the 18th-century fort, Tordi Garh, restored it and converted the residential wing of the fort into a beautiful homestay.
This fort has a simple architecture and is constructed of lime and mortar. It has a series of turrets that were useful during wars in ancient times. It also has beautiful courtyards, terraces, and verandahs. Today, responsible tourism in Tordi village helps tourists experience the best of rural Rajasthan, leading to its sustainable growth.
How to practise responsible tourism in Tordi?
– Support the schools and medical centre for the welfare of the people in the village
– Stay at places that follow eco-tourism practices, which have a minimum negative impact on the environment, such as Tordi Garh
– Buy from local sellers, so your money goes where it is needed the most
Nimaj village is a part of Jaitaran tehsil in the district Pali of Rajasthan. It is 130km from the tourist hub of Jodhpur. This village is home to Nimaj Palace, which is now being run as a wonderful luxury hotel. The palace has towering gates and its facade is carved in red sandstone and is a marvel of Indian architecture. Nimaj is home to rich wildlife, temples, and mosques and offers a chance to explore tribal settlements such as those of Gujjars, Kalbelias, Dhanis and Bishnois, and hamlets in the village.
How can you be a responsible traveller in Nimaj?
– Take jeep safaris to the tribal settlements and take a peek into their life. This will also act as a sustainable source of income for them
– Be sensitive with your selfies and respect people no matter how poor or rich
– Take tours to these tribal settlements only with travel agencies such as Responsible Travel that follow sustainable travel practices
Nawalgarh, a town in the Jhunjhunu district, is one of the busiest in the Shekhawati region. Located about 100km from Jaipur, the town is recognised as the 'open art gallery of Rajasthan', as it has the largest concentration of frescoes in the world. It is also noted for its painted havelis, exquisite temples, palaces and the beautiful Nawalgarh Fort, where several movies such as Paheli, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and other. This place is famous for the Sheesh Mahal, Aath Haveli, Morarka Haveli, Saraogi Haveli, Sheksaria Haveli, Anandi Lal Poddar Haveli, Roop Niwas Palace. Most of these havelis have been converted into heritage hotels to give travellers a unique experience.
How can you be a responsible traveller in Nawalgarh?
– Attend workshops for bangle making run by the people of the village
– Learn the art of tie and dye
– Avoid taking elephant rides in the forts and other tourist places
Siana is a village in the Jalore district of Rajasthan, bordering the great Thar Desert. It is 125km from the famous Mount Abu. This shepherd village still retains its originality in terms of housing structures, attires, and social customs. The semi-desert countryside, dunes and ravine offshoots of the Aravalli Ranges, sandy plains and agricultural lands make up the interesting terrain of this region. Siana is ideal for travellers seeking to explore rural Rajasthan and for those interested in exploring the wildlife of its southwest region.
How can you be a responsible traveller in Siana?
– Go for a village walk and learn about the carpenter culture of Siana
– Visit a traditional carpenter's house to appreciate the pieces of work and buy local art pieces
– Meet the Rabari community, who are the traditional shepherds of this region
– Go on a panther safari with The Blue Yonder and other travel companies that support responsible tourism
Sawai Madhopur in western Rajasthan is home to the famous Ranthambhore National Park and is one of the best places in India to see tigers in the wild. This place is also home to animals such as jackal, mongoose, sloth bear, leopard, sambar, chital, nilgai, gazelle, boars, mongoose, Indian hare, monitor lizards, and about 272 species of birds. This national park also has abandoned fortresses and lakes. Ranthambhore Fort is also worth a visit. But this also the place that most needs responsible tourism.
How can you be a responsible traveller in Sawai Madhopur?
– Take a wildlife jeep safari with responsible travel company such as Ranthambore Jeep Safari
– Instead of using canters or mini buses for a jungle safari, go for a jeep as it minimises carbon emissions
– Don't buy any product that came from a wild animal
– Do not ask the jeep to go faster during the jungle safari as it disturbs the animals
Volunteering in Rajasthan
There is no better feeling in the world than helping people in need. It is also one of the best ways of practising responsible tourism. So if you have time in hand, make sure you explore these volunteering opportunities in Rajasthan:
Helping Hands – This project aims to help the community of the desert village of Dodasar close to Jaisalmer. Volunteers will have an opportunity to help teach the villagers English, build a school and get involved in ecotourism projects.
Marwar Medical & Relief Society – This place runs several educational, health, environmental and other projects in the villages of Jodhpur.
Sambhali Trust – This organisation aims to empower disadvantaged women of Rajasthan by helping them learn skills such as textile production, English-language etc. Volunteers can teach and help in organising workshops on topics such as health, women’s rights, and nutrition.
Seva Mandir - This NGO is committed several causes that include afforestation, water resources, health, education and empowerment of women and village institutions. Volunteers will have wide range of activities they can help with.
Disclaimer: This article has been developed by Tripoto based on information available as of October, 2017. Travellers are advised to recheck current weather conditions, timings, prices etc. while planning their trip.