|Sonitpur to kick-start village home-stays |
GUWAHATI, April 21 - Three quaint ethnic villages nestled in the foothills of the Arunachal hills in the Eastern Himalayas are set to woo tourists into their sylvan, unspoilt surroundings.
The villages are Sengelimari Garo, Phuloguri Nyishi and Baligaon Mising in Sonitpur district.
The objective of the initiative – a joint venture between Balipara Foundation, Mahila Shakti Kendra (MASK) Balipara, Wild Mahseer and Assam Investment Advisory Society – is to foster rural-based tourism for gainful employment and sustaining Nature.
Under the arrangement, the locals would open up their homes to allow travellers to explore the biodiversity abundance and cultural heritage through home-stay experience in these villages.
“Driven by the philosophy of Mande agithalan isol meaning Atithi Devo Bhava (The Guest is God), the Garo, Nyishi and Mising communities are one of the most hospitable and polite people. Excited to showcase their traditions and culture, community elders and the youth come together to greet guests with a traditional Rimachaksowa (welcome),” Bobby Dutta Barua of Balipara Foundation told The Assam Tribune.
Trained in hospitality, culinary presentation and guided Nature walks by the team at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark, the concept of home-stays could bring inclusive benefits to rural Himalayan communities and is a great way to lessen one’s environmental impact.
The one-day explorative programme in these villages will be of seven hours duration with an option for overnight stay in a chang-ghar (tree-top house).
“With the objective to inculcate the values of conservation of our natural resources and integrate rural livelihood, the programme would enhance socio-economic development of these communities and protection of the environment,” he said.