Himachal makes ‘art of story telling’ a medium to promote tourism
The art of story telling may have faded with time, but tourism department of Himachal Pradesh is all set to make this a medium to woo tourists to the small hilly state. Under the scheme “Har Gaon Ki Kahani” (every village’s story) a village’s elderly would write the story of village’s origin, its deity, its ancestors and traditions and narrate them to tourists. Once the government prepares the literature, it will identify all places of historic importance mentioned in the stories, create and develop infrastructure at those sites with the help of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. This will not only ensure employment for the rural masses with in the village periphery but will promote rural tourism in the long term.
Legend has it that the small hilly state has more than 84000 local deities. In festivals like ‘Kullu Dussehra’ the cavalcade of these deities is the main attraction. Himachal Pradesh Tourism and Development Corporation director Arun Sharma, says, “we have clubbed NREG with our tourism promotion schemes. The draft on this is almost ready and we have written to all the deputy commissioners of the state asking its execution. We even intend to have competition among the story writers. This is way to know and hear the folktales through a villagers perspective. We believe by doing this we are reviving the art and adding value in our tourism initiatives,”.
However its not always that deities become the reason of development in the state. Immense blind faith of denizens in deities can be gauged from the fact that an ambitious $520 million ski village project planned by millionaire American industrialist Albert Ford, grandson of the legendary Henry Ford has been stuck into controversy and could not see the light of the day for last few years as oracles of local deities are opposed to it.
Recently with an aim of providing comfortable home stay facilities of standardized world class services to the tourists, and to supplement the availability of accommodation in the rural tourist destinations, Himachal has introduced ‘home stay facilities’ on the basis of ministry of tourism, Government of India “Incredible India Bed and Breakfast scheme.
The basic idea is to provide a clean and affordable place for foreigners and domestic tourists alike including an opportunity for foreign tourists to stay with Himachali families to experience Himachali customs and traditions and relish authentic Indian/Himachali cuisine.