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Dhordo: A lighthouse of India’s cultural heritage

In the heart of Gujarat’s sprawling landscapes lies Dhordo, a village in the Great Rann of Kutch white desert region that serves as an embodiment of India’s rich cultural heritage and the sheer allure of natural beauty.

Recently, this secluded gem received international recognition, earning the prestigious title of the ‘Best Tourism Village’ by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Such a global commendation, while acknowledging the village’s charm, also puts India’s vast tourism potential into perspective.

Social media, abuzz with the news of the award, saw a surge in users sharing their Dhordo memories under the hashtag #AmazingDhordo. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for promoting India’s cultural diversity and tourism opportunities, in a post on social media platform X stated, “Absolutely thrilled to see Dhordo in Kutch being celebrated for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. This honour not only showcases the potential of Indian tourism but also the dedication of the people of Kutch in particular.”

Dhordo’s journey to this acclaim is steeped in stories of dedication and resilience. The locals, with their unyielding spirit, have toiled for years, preserving traditions, protecting the environment, and warmly welcoming every visitor with stories and smiles.

Beyond the scenic beauty, Dhordo’s essence lies in its community. A visitor stepping into Dhordo does not just see a village; they experience a culture. From traditional ‘bhungas’ (mud houses) adorned with mirrors reflecting the region’s artistry to the expansive White Desert shimmering under the moon, every corner tells a story.

One cannot mention Dhordo without highlighting the Rann Utsav, which is scheduled this time from November 2023 to February 2024. This annual festivity paints the desert with a riot of colors, sounds, and flavors. Tourists and locals alike dance to the beats of traditional Garba and Dandiya Raas, while the air is filled with the aroma of authentic Kutch cuisine.

Local communities are the foundation upon which the success of tourism initiatives is built, especially in regions rich with historical and cultural significance. Their deep-rooted connection to the land, traditions, and stories makes them indispensable in preserving the essence of these destinations. When we speak of sustainable tourism, these communities are not just participants but the primary drivers.

To harness this potential, the government identifies the crucial aspects of providing them with the tools, training, and support they need. By empowering them with essential skills, be it in management, hospitality, or conservation, and by arming them with the right knowledge about global best practices, we create an environment where they can flourish.

Furthermore, when they have access to the necessary resources, whether it is financial or infrastructural, they can transition from passive observers to active protectors and promoters of their cultural and natural heritage.

Their role extends beyond mere maintenance. They have the unique capability of weaving stories, traditions, and experiences in a way that’s authentic and engaging for visitors. As they take the reins of crafting these genuine experiences, they simultaneously elevate the standards of tourism in their region.

Moreover, their dedication to the environment and the legacy they have inherited means they lead conservation and preservation efforts with unmatched passion and integrity. This symbiotic relationship between the community and tourism not only enhances the visitor experience but also ensures its sustainability for the future.

In conclusion, Dhordo’s recognition as the ‘Best Tourism Village’ is not just an award; it is a testament to India’s untapped tourism potential. It is a clarion call to recognize, respect, and responsibly promote the myriad destinations that dot the vast nation and to be a part of and celebrate the unwavering spirit of local communities and their rich diversity and cultural tapestry.

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