Sprawling stud farms, camping sites and caravan parks in Rajasthan’s deserts and villages have become the go to destinations for tourists looking to explore the state’s rich rural culture and lifestyle. There are 35 such sites across Rajasthan and these offer a more traditional experience to people, tourism officials said. Rajasthan is not only about forts, palaces and wildlife reserves, but there is a lot to see in its desert and villages, they said.
The initiative is getting a good response from domestic visitors as well as foreigners since it started in November last year, Director Tourism Rashmi Sharma said. The official said within a short period, 35 rural tourism units — guesthouses, caravan parks, stud farms and camping sites — have been registered and they have started functioning. “Due to these rural tourism units, foreign guests are not only able to see and understand the rural life of Rajasthan closely, but also imbibe the rural lifestyle,” she said. (Also read: Tie the knot in style: Most stunning palaces in Rajasthan for your dream wedding )
The initiative was started under the Rajasthan Rural Tourism Scheme that was implemented last year with the objective of increasing tourism prospects in rural areas and creating employment opportunities, Sharma said. She added that the scheme will also promote local artistes as well as folk art and culture.
“This scheme is providing strength to farmers as well, and will prove to be very effective in preventing migration from villages to cities,” the tourism director said. Sharma said a piece of land can be used to develop tourism units without land conversion under the scheme which is directly benefiting villagers.
Devipal Singh, who opened Dera Ashwa Farm near Nevta in Jaipur sometime back, said that various activities like horse riding and polo matches are being offered on the farm which also has lodging facilities. Guests are provided traditional food made with vegetables grown organically on the farm, he said.
Through these, tourists will get an opportunity to experience rural life, culture and traditions of the state, said Devipal Singh, who has 30 horses of different breeds on the farm. Rooms at the lodging facilities there are named after famous heroic horses like Chetak of Maharana Pratap and Krishna of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Another rural tourism unit is a heritage farm in Bagwada village in Amber tehsil of Jaipur. Yogendra Singh Bagwada, who runs the Bagwada Heritage Resort, said a family from New Zealand stayed in the resort a few days back and experienced Rajasthan’s local culture. He said food is cooked in front of guests to give a rural touch.
Yogendra Singh said the lac workers and potters of the village are famous, and they showcased their skills to the tourists. The rural tourism units have been set up in districts such as Jaipur, Alwar and Udaipur. Under this scheme, people in rural areas can host tourists at their homes. One to five rooms can be operated as home stay and more than that as a guest house.
The scheme states that an approved unit can be set up on agricultural land in rural areas, which should be a minimum of 2,000 square meters and a maximum of two hectares, according to the scheme.
Ten per cent of the land can have a ground floor and one floor up to a height of nine metres in the built-up part for accommodation and food. The remaining 90 per cent has to be used for agriculture and horticulture work, as camel farms or horse farms, for birds and livestock, for crop sowing, for handicraft manufacturing or for gardening, it states. These activities will be done to give tourists a feel of the rural environment, the scheme states.
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