Extraordinary Indian Villages – Curious & Notable

Indian villages always have been carrying a unique nostalgic charm for fellow urban Indians, and treasure islands to discover for newcomers. स्वच्छ हवा (clean air), ধানের জমি (paddy fields), தேயிலை தோட்டத்தில் (tea gardens), કાદવ ઘર (mud house), നദിയുടെ മത്സ്യം(river fish), ਰਾਈ ਖੇਤਰ (mustard fields) – these are among the pretty and wonderful memories we associate with our villages. Unfortunately some of these feelings are waning off slowly, mostly because of bad and biased media paint.

But here is a little fact file. Some of the गाँव are way better than any metros. And these instances are to prove that.

Mawlynnong – Cleanest village in Asia

With 500 residents, literacy rate more than 90%, located around 90 kms from Shillong in the state of Meghalaya, Mawlynnong is famous for its cleanliness and sanitation. Visitors claim they haven’t seen a single plastic bag in the vicinity.
Mawlynnong

Dharnai – First fully solar powered village

With the aid of Greenpeace, Dharnai, a village in Bihar, declared itself an energy-independent village. With more than 2400 residents not at all dependent on regular electricity supply, Dharnai has been a role model for many of those high profile claimers.
Dharnai

Hiware Bazar – village with 50 millionaires

Statistics: in 1995, only a tenth of the village’s land was arable and 168 of its 182 families were below the poverty line. By 2010, the average income of the village had increased twenty-fold – 50 of the villagers had become millionaires (in Indian rupees), and only 3 families were below the poverty line. The grass harvest increased from 100 tonnes in 2000 to 6,000 tonnes in 2004, and the milk production rose from 150 litres a day in the mid-1990s to 4,000 in 2010. Meet Hiware Bazar, a village located in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
Hiware Bazar

Kokrebellur – village of bird lovers

The uniqueness in Kokkarebellur is the long established bonding between the spot-billed pelicans and the villagers who have adopted this bird as their heritage. The benefits derived by the villagers from these birds are basically in the form of phosphorus and potassium rich manure obtained from the bird droppings (also known as guano). Further, over the years, the popularity of this uniqueness has also attracted tourists to the village to watch the birds.
Kokrebellur

Shani Shingnapur – village with no locks

Touted as the safest village in India, this place is known for its lack of doors to houses, even some houses have doors, absolutely none of them are locked. Not just that, there is no police station in the village. And, no report of theft or burglary etc. Believe it or not, even the banks do not have locks in their premises! Pioneer!
Shani Shingnapur

Punsari – WiFi, CCTv, AC Classroom, and more…

Located around 80 kms from Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Punsari would put many metros to shame. With almost all the houses having private broadband internet connection, schools are all AC classrooms, CCTv put across all the roads & lanes; but still people are grounded and humble. Example of adopting modernization, but not urbanization.
Punsari

Pothanikkad – 100% literate

This village is Kerala has one hundred percent of literacy rate – it is the first village in India to achieve this feat.
Pothanikkad

Homestay – best way to experience the Place, People and the Culture

Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local resident of the place they are traveling. Homestays are becoming increasingly popular, allowing you to experience the place, people and the culture around, and too at a much affordable prices.

Here are a few reasons why you should choose homestays over Hotels.

Stay with local people

When you stay in a homestay you experience something that you won’t in other forms of accommodation. Not only do you meet the local people, you get to live with them too. It’s a way to live a destination, not just visit it.
homestay

savour home-cooked local delicacies

The best part about staying in a homestay is undoubtedly the delicious home-cooked food. It allows you to understand local cuisine and even learn what goes into the preparation as most hosts willing share secret recipes with you.

Homestays generates income for locals

Homestays are simple establishments run by local families to augment their family income. These families tend to open their homes to travelers for want of company or for the sheer passion for hospitality. By staying in these homestays, you contribute to their income.

Ease of moving into a new city

If you are moving to a new destination then it is both daunting and exciting. On arrival, you’re in unfamiliar surroundings, and it takes time to get used to the place. Stay in a homestay and straight away you’ll have met some local people, in their home, who will quickly help you to feel more comfortable, secure and generally at ease in your new destination.

Homestays are spacious

Homestay is just like a home away from your home. It is anytime more spacious as comparable to hotel rooms. Some Homestays have private gardens, lawns, drawing rooms too.
homestay

Listen to 100 stories of the place

You can sit with the family and talk with them for hours. They can tell you the stories associated with the destination and hence u can actually know more about the culture of the people. Besides this, if you are lucky, you will be able to attend any of their family functions and in turn experience their culture.

Homestay people are your local guide

Nobody knows a place better than someone who was born and raised there. Whether it be the contact number of a reliable auto driver, closing time of a local museum, good entertainmaint places or the info about the good places to buy local stuff, everything can be guided by the homestay people.

See beyond the tourist trail

It would be great to see the parts of a destination that only the locals know about. Stay in a homestay, and your hosts will be able to tell you about those hidden secrets.

Learn local language and local craft

If you want to stay a little longer at certain destination, It would be great to learn the local language to interact with the local communities. Homestay people will help you to do so.You will lso get an opportunity to learn some local craft of the place.
homestay

Best for solo traveler

If you are travelling alone, then this option works out the best . You will never feel lonely and as you are always with a family. You will feel more safer and warm.

Places to visit… Before they disappear from the face of the Earth

We may think over it or choose to ignore it completely, the Earth is in danger. Does not matter whether we blame it on global warming, uncontrollable blast of human population, air pollution, so-called modernization, rising sea levels, greenhouse affect, deforestation – the bottom line is the undeniable fact that our planet is getting hurt in many irreversible ways. Landscapes are changing, islands are shrinking, national parks are shriveling, glaciers are evaporating, rain-forests are dying out, hundreds of plants and animal species are getting extinct day by day. Here are some of those stunning places which you should visit before they disappear from the face of the Earth, and more importantly, do something about them.

Greenland

greenland
Greenland’s ice sheet is one of the largest contributors to sea level rise around the globe, and the country experienced its highest average summer temperature on record and an early melt last year. You can see calving glaciers, giant icebergs.

Rwanda

Rwanda
A study released this year shows that 75 percent of primate species have shrinking populations and 60 percent are threatened with extinction, with their decline being attributed to hunting, farming, ranching, logging, mining and oil drilling. Encounter some of the last remaining mountain gorillas, as well as chimpanzees and golden monkeys, on a trek in the forests of Rwanda.

Antarctica

Antarctica
Major ices shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula have broken apart, retreated or lost volume in recent decades, and the trend continues today with a crack in the Larsen C shelf growing this year. All the arctic species are in grave danger, and many of them are already extinct.

Venice, Italy

Venice
As the city of canals, gondolas and hundreds of bridges, Venice, one of the most beautiful places on the planet, is known for its waterways. But, as it turns out, the water could be exactly what is ruining the historic and one of the most romantic cities in the world. Venice has been sinking for centuries, but some evidence suggests the process is speeding up—possibly even sinking five times as fast as previously thought.

Galapagos Islands

galapagos-islands
In addition to global warming and air pollution, tourism and overuse is killing the beautiful biodiverse islands. With an extremely unique and diverse wildlife population, a dive into the waters of the Galapagos offers the chance to encounter several species of sharks. But the rise in ocean temperatures has caused loss of species, reef die-offs and algae blooms. Ecuador has been getting ready to build a “penguin condos” island and to impose restrictions on tourism.

The Alps

the-alps
The iconic European Alps are beloved by snow sports enthusiasts, but climate change is bringing challenges for the mountain range. Alpine glaciers are retreating and temperatures are increasing at an alarming rate, according to the European Environment Agency. The Alps are at a lower altitude than many other mountains which is why these changes are so worrying.

The Great Barrier Reef

great-barrier-reef
The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s natural wonder. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. It is set off Australia’s east coast and sprawls out over 133,000 square miles. The lavishness of the reef’s marine life is being hurt by climate change, according to theWorldWildlife.org. Sediment, nutrient and pesticide pollution have increased. Urban and industrial developments continue; illegal fishing is hurting the ecosystem. By some estimates the reef could be irreparably changed in the next 20 years.

Lake Baikal, Russia

lake-baikal
Russia’s Lake Baikal, one of the most spectacular on the planet, holds about 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen freshwater – making it the largest freshwater lake by volume – but it faces threats from pollution and hydroelectric projects.

Solomon Islands

solomon-islands
Research published last year showed that rising sea levels resulted in the disappearance of five of the Solomon Islands, while erosion on others has forced the relocation of beautiful villages.

The Dead Sea

dead-sea
The Dead Sea is famous for its salinity that makes swimmers especially buoyant. You should go on a trip there while you still can because it is on the verge of extinction. The sea that is said to have healing properties has been losing more than three feet per year, because neighboring countries are taking from the River Jordan, which is the Dead Sea’s only major water source. The sea has lost a third of its water already and there is no solution in sight.

The list of the places that are on the verge of extinction unfortunately does not end here. Few of others include Kiribati Islands, Glacier National Park Montana, Borneo rainforest, Tropical Andes, The Himalayas, Madagascar and many more.

You don’t have to be an environmentalist to appreciate the beauty and value of these places. Across the globe, changes in climate, human interaction, and other environmental factors are altering the natural habitats that created these havens of biodiversity and wonder. You should visit these places before they are just gone from the face of the planet. As after few years these will only survive in photographs and textbooks.

And do something about them, to help protect these endangered places and their inhabitants.