March - April 2008
Cultural exchange within India : TBY Facilitates Folk expressions
What happens when a folk puppeteer from a desert meets a storyteller from a river valley civilization? What happens when a traditional folk music group performs at Karaoke bar? Is there a common thread? The Blue yonder discovered the fortunate events that occurred through cross cultural exchange. It has always been about connections anyway.
Dayalji from Rajasthan adopted Puppetry from his ancestors, and seems to be going down at least for the next few generations. Puppetry in North India has been associated with stories of Ramayana, Mahabhartha, Mughals and Rajputs. During the Panchayati Raj elections in Rajasthan puppetry was employed as an educative tool to create awareness or to communicate to communities. He set up Kalakar Vikas Samiti through a fellowship programme. Since then his work revolves around- puppet making, Nukkad Natak, Kachhigodhi traditional folk dance.
Recently Dayali met Arun, the storyteller, the chief researcher and interpreter, the backbone of The Blue Yonder and Nila foundation. They met on the banks of River Nila. Some reflections after they met.
Resonate with Bijapur – Travelogue by Ekta Mittal
Places have a destination too - it’s up to people lead the journey of a place. Some get lucky and go places; some just remain forgotten and neglected. North of Karnataka has remained untouched, undiscovered and easily missed out - politically, socio-culturally and ecologically. While some of the districts in Karnataka have been glamorised for decades, some continue to find their way in the rat race while the others have decided to not be part of this rat race.
Bijapur is one of the – a quaint and dusty town where the frames are never clear. It was my first time there and many people were already questioning my venture – “why Bijapur of all places?” I didn’t want to say anything until I had seen the place. The bus to Bijapur was long and winding. The urbanscape slowly started disappearing and I could finally see a kilometre of unused land. Phew!
An amazingly rich immersion into the culture and ecology of this area – Guest Feedback
“I came with no expectations trusting in the reputation of The Blue yonder. The trip was a pure delight – an amazingly rich immersion into the culture and ecology of this area. The genuine warmth and expressive hospitality of all our hosts will be treasured for many years to come and will call me back.”
A truly unforgettable experience: Marius Kleiner
Theyyam“Thinking back, it actually seems incredible that the whole trip lasted just two days, so rich was the experience.
It included a concert with a unique one-stringed guitar, a potter who made beautiful vessels and vases in just a few minutes on a manual potter's wheel, a musical dance performance and fire dance in the moonlight, a relaxing river cruise, a visit to a coconut plantation, and a performance of an expert young drummer group.
During the whole trip we haven't encountered any tourists, other than another couple who had also booked through Blue Yonder. This allowed us to get a good impression of village life in this part of India, without any feeling of intrusion or of people adapting their traditional lifestyles to the tourist industry.”
"Opportunity to be more "responsible" tourists" : Kremena Diatchka
"If we had gone to Kerala as "regular" tourists we would never had had the opportunity to meet the people we did and learn as much from them as we did. So you provided us with an opportunity to be more "responsible" tourists, and we are grateful :-)"
“We’re had a really wonderful time.” Michael Ewing
The music and dance group was very exciting. It is great to see young people with so much enthusiasm for their traditional arts. The river trip was also great very beautiful, place very informative. The extra steps to see small industries and have tea were good and well timed.
“One of our best visits to India”: Ann Helen and Walter Unger
PotteryBack in Bangkok and finally out of our Theyam delirium, we like to express again in writing what we had told you already when we said Goodbye in Kerala.
Thanks to you this trip became one of our best visits to India. Not only did everything we had ask for work out as planned – thanks to your flexibility and willingness to help we could also add visits and experiences to the program spontaneously whenever such opportunities came up.
Based on your deep knowledge of the region, it’s peoples, history, and religion you made this visit to a unique and memorable one for us. For that we want to thank you very much.
We really enjoyed your guidance and your pleasant company! We hope to meet you again.
Kerala declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations:
The Incredible India 2nd International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was organised by Kerala Tourism and the ICRT India. The 2nd International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was attended by 503 delegates from 29 countries. The delegates came with a broad range of experience and expertise from diverse cultures, environments and backgrounds. There were delegates from international organisations, national and local government, local communities, airlines, hoteliers, tour operators, service providers, protected areas, NGOs, academia, architects and planners, the media and consultants.
We came with a wide range of experiences from different environments, cultures and tourism contexts and we have shared and discussed our different experiences and approaches over four days.
We recognise the commitments made by policymakers in Kerala who have committed to Responsible Tourism and pledged to take forward the concept of Responsible Tourism into practice, focusing on local economy, well being, local culture and environment. One of the purposes of responsible tourism is that the benefits of tourism are equitably accessed and distributed.
RTD KeralaRecognising that it takes time to achieve change through multi-stakeholder partnerships, particularly if local communities are to be empowered to participate in the process; and that due credit should be given for effort and progress.
We encourage all stakeholders to share our vision for Responsible Tourism, to recognise that the journey is worthwhile and that it is possible to consistently create a better approach to tourism where together, local communities, tourism enterprises, destinations, tourists, and governments can all benefit.
A note from Eco-storm workshop held in Dharamsala, India
Basecamp Explorer has over the last 10 years developed and operated ecotourism destinations in countries like Kenya, India, Russia, Svalbard and France. In collaboration with the Basecamp Foundation a practical concept of Sustainable Tourism Destination Development took shape in early 2008 and, as a response to this Eco Storm was developed. The very first international Eco Storm workshop was organised in Dharamsala, Northern India by Basecamp Foundation. The workshop brought together a group of 30 participants from a wide range of places; Russia, UK, Norway, Japan, Kenya, Sweden, Austria, Taiwan, South Africa, Tibet and India.
EcoStorm Group DiscussionIdentifying sustainable tourism as a tool for peaceful development, in solidarity, the workshop acknowledged the difficult and pressing situation in Tibet by supporting the local Tibetan community in Dharamsala by actively taking part in different events arranged by local Tibetan organisations.
The aim of the Eco Storm workshops is to create a local destination development model through a hands-on participatory methodology and lectures by invited internationally renowned ecotourism professionals. The first workshop, which took place on March 24-28, 2008, was successfully carried out with a development plan for an international ecotourism training centre located to Dharamsala as one of the main outputs.
The main presenters at the workshop included: Dr Martha Honey, ViewDirector of the Centre for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (CESD), Washington DC, USA, Arild Molstad, Writer, photo journalist, Norway, Judy Kepher Gona, Executive Director, Ecotourism Kenya (ESOK), Stefan Norris, International Conservationist , Basecamp Foundation, Norway, Dr Lars Lindkvist, CEO Basecamp Foundation, Kenya. Other international presenters were Les Carlisle and Claire Howse CC Africa, Masaru Takayama, Japan Ecolodge Association.
The workshop opening was honoured by His Holiness Karmapa’s presence and speech on responsible travel from a spiritual and practical perspective. The workshop ended with a private audience with His Holiness Karmapa and further discussions on the future of sustainable tourism in Northern India and Tibet.
The next Eco Storm takes place in the Masai Mara and on the island of Lamu, Kenya during mid November 2008. For more info, contact email@example.com. Registration opens by May 2008