Rural tourism allows travellers to discover a side of India that not many people have experienced before. In rural parts of India lie areas with untouched natural beauty, where hospitality comes innately to the people and a traditional, natural way of life can still be experienced.
As you set off the beaten path, get involved in the vibrant culture of India’s villages, indulge in delectable local cuisines, uncover ancient traditions, rejuvenate your spirit with the region’s folk music & dances, discuss local legends and stories around a bonfire, and explore century-old indigenous art forms.
Here are some of the best Indian rural destinations.
Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu
Steeped in marvelous heritage, the Chettinad region in south India eloquently illumines the past and its heart lies in the village of Karaikudi. Here visitors can behold specimens of architectural brilliance, each of them giving a cue into the vision, endeavor and character of a great civilization. The people of the Chettinad area, the Chettiars or Nagarathars, have a unique style of living infused with a spectacular sense of artistic perfection. They built palatial mansions in the 19th century, and embellished these home fortresses with an uncommon finesse. The mansions are a treasure trove offering visitors an insight to the multifarious elements of Chettiar lifestyle such as intricate wood carvings on doorways and furniture, Athangudi floor tiles, silk-smooth Chettinad egg plaster work, and fascinating pillars.
Restoration activities have been recently energized with focus on traditional skills, art forms and even festivals - like Kavadiattam and Karakattam and the traditional Jallikattu bullfight.
Anakkara is a magical parcel that presents fascinating people with a rich culture, and gorgeous landscapes that have an entrancing effect. This is an experience for those who yearn for the unusual. The village of Anakkara, situated in the evergreen forest belt of the Western Ghats, boasts mist-clad hills and valleys; lush tropical vegetation; fragrant coffee, tea, pepper, vanilla and cardamom plantations. This gives the area an exquisite and distinctive beauty. A guided walk in the spice and herbal gardens is a sensual experience. Witness the mixed farming practices of villagers, hitchhike on a bullock cart, pick up organic spices, sip some mature coffee in a village coffee shop, lunch at a tree house with a stunning view or try out Ayurvedic treatments and preparations. There are varying ways to have fun.
Ride a camel through Samode’s alleys, and marvel at the intricacies of craftsmanship – ornate windows and frescoes in addition to a grand assortment of colorful artifacts. Catch a glimpse of a boundless sweeping desert as you are captivated by the magic of Samode village, tucked around a low-lying outcrop of the Aravali hills on one of the gateways to Shekhawati region – lies in the exciting patterns of daily life where people are introduced to crafts and craftspeople. You can experience a farm stay on the outskirts of Samode, where the rural lifestyle encompasses agriculture and cattle rearing, all this backed by legendary Rajasthani hospitality and great meals.
The Lachen village that clings to the grassy mountain slopes of the eastern Himalayas in the state of Sikkim has many incredible attributes. Lachen radiates charm, life and color. Prayer flags fluttering in the chilly mountain breeze embody not only a strong Buddhist sentiment, but also stand testimony to the indomitable disposition of the Lachen community.
Lachen, which literally means 'Big Pass', is nested in a valley of mixed conifer and Rhododendron forests, against a backdrop of imposing snowcapped peaks, glaciers and rock cliffs.
Hot springs, lakes and celebrated trek routes dot the vicinity of Lachen, but the most incredible sight is the world's third highest mountain, Kangchendzonga that is part of India's high altitude National Park. The village is unique in more ways than one and a stay with the locals is the best way to be introduced to the novelties. Watch them make cheese called the Churpi and yak butter, and you can even try your hand at milking a yak. Unique to this region is also the mountain sheep called Byangluk, found in the upper reaches of Lachen, reared for meat, and also for wool used to weave traditional blankets and carpets.
Embark on a spiritual quest and be rewarded with the glorious heritage of sacred Indian thought. Jyotisar is the celebrated place where one of the most important scriptures of India, the Bhagawat Gita, was taught by Lord Krishna.
Devotees and tourists congregate at Jyotisar Temple through the year, especially during solar and lunar eclipses, the time considered auspicious for holy dips in the Brahma Sarovar. The sound and light show held near the Jyotisar Temple recreates episodes from the epic Mahabharta and is an event not to be missed. For a taste of the rustic, participate in the many proceedings at the village like paddy transplantation and wheat harvesting. The villagers are primarily engaged in agriculture and cattle rearing.
From Jyotisar, tourists can visit many interesting places of religious interest, including the Gurudwaras, Sthanesvara Mahadev Temple, Birla Gita Mandir, Sheikh Chehli's Tomb, Harsh-ka-Tila archaeological site, Bhishma Kund and Srikrishna Museum.
Shri Krishna Museum depicts stories of Lord Krishna through sculptures, paintings and bronze collections.