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Mr. Gour Kanjilal - Professional being, Developing Tourism in India from Outside India
Discovering the lesser known destinations in India JULY 2010
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    Present Generation Tourists seem to have more and more interest in visiting lesser known places and it is all the more better if these are out of the way places and need a bit of challenging experience.

    India has many such destinations which are distantly located yet they hold interesting touristic experience where the offers include heritage buildings, unique festival, unique hand craft, ethnic food, costume, traditions, entertainment forms.

    Rajasthan state is dotted with Havelis and lesser known palaces located in desert cities Churu, Jhunjhunwela, outskirts of Bikaner, Bishnoi community, Kalbelia (who tame snakes) touring local textile printing places , Tie and Die, Block Printing, Mirror work on textile, Zari work, Leather work all such places can be incorporated in the itinerary as value additions.

    This holds true through out the state of Madhya Pradesh - Tribal areas, wildlife areas, Rural Centers in Palanpur, Maihari, Panna, Bandhavgarh, Amarkantak hill, Mandu, Orchcha, Gwalior - visit Chanderi, Maheshwar for traditional textile factory sampting local food, freshly made, visiting the area to see wildlife (Tiger, Bison, twelve horned antelopes, tribal festival local marriage or a temple festival.

    Chattisgarh - Newly added state in the Indian Republic has something new at all corner - at Sirpur area old Buddhist centre of Gupta period, Bastar tribal area, Chitrakoot Waterfalls - these centers are tribal heritage centers and have, caves of pre historic period. Bastar festival provides authentic tribal food, handicraft market, traditional dress, dance and art forms - Perfect for history & cultural tours. Visitors can also stop at Jagdalpur where one can see how local products are made specially silk, bamboo works at local arts & crafts centre. There are some points (approachable by Rope ways) as the locations are on hillocks offering breath taking landscape in Nandangaon area.

    Orissa- state has some interior areas where authentic paintings are made (Patachitra - Raghurajpur), authentic house hold items are made and work space where stone sculptures are made and tourists can learn from the villagers how native limestone are turned into unique sculpture and take them as Souvenirs. Berhampur Ganjam, Mayurbhanj districts offer tribal heritage experience. Visitors won't miss the city's others cultural elements and great way to enjoy them is to live with the local people. They have warmth and big sense of hospitality to visitors. Farming & agricultural places, local market, local festivals are must in the itinerary.

    Though Kerala is well-known tourist place in India but there are many lesser known areas specially at waynad region where one get authentic experience by visiting tea and spice gardens and home stay with locals martial art form in its original form and enjoy. Kerala's local festivals are very colorful and every religious faith can participate as Secularism is the cornerstone in Kerala.

    The state of West Bengal has many lesser known areas and places include Bankura, Purulia, Mukutmanipur, Birbhum complex with Baul community, Murshidabad, Malda-gaur-pandua tea gardens in the Darjeeling hills, Sunderbans, (Royal Bengal Tiger dane), Navadweap, where experience is totally different from what you get in the South North Easter Cities have different flavors. Visitors can stop at Darjeeling for Toy Train (Heritage Rail Experience), or visit Gangtok for Natural beauty and Buddhist heritage at back drop of Himalayan Trekking tours. The statue of Buddha in Gangtok is tribute to the regions Lama culture and city's most photographed landmark.

    India is such a vast country that every state has something to offer in lesser known areas But time is the main constraint for tourists. These areas are not well connected. Mobility is the prime concern and even basic infrastructure is lacking at many places. Though now Government of India, Ministry of Tourism is giving lot of financial assistance, airlines specially private sector airlines are giving connectivity to hinter land cities but lot more is needed to bring them in regular tourist itinerary. Ministry's tourism site - www.incredibleindia.org have over 100 Rural sites and these unknown off beaten areas have come up because of Government support and now have the opportunity to include in tourist itinerary specially which are located with in 2 to 3 hours drive from the metro cities like in Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka.

    We have seen an increased demand for information on these lesser known places and now working on suitable itineraries. IATO members have done special educational tours to have first hand experience and included some in the packages offered during visit India Year 2009, IATO also offered such packages as niche products & did well. These efforts created some positive awareness but that was a small beginning. Infact Government must give incentives (tax concessions) if such packages are promoted as these are not economically viable present at stage specially tourists who are habituated to basic standard of comfort. These are more for adventurous tourists who can take rough & smooth in the same spirit. But we are on the right track and this is real India to enjoy.

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