Just a little while ago, Deepika, Priyanka, and Katrina’s wedding brought on a media storm to a small pahadi village. No, we are not talking about the actresses—in fact, Bollywood bears no connection at all. These are the names of the ‘bride’ goats who were married off in a glamorous Hindu-style wedding. Let us explain before confusion sets in.
The Green People is an organisation and community looking to improve and increase eco-tourism, agro-tourism, rural tourism, and an unlikely combination of the three. In a bid to do the same, the community has successfully accomplished two editions of the peculiar but aptly named “Bakri Swayamwar”. This event enables the broadening of gene pools in the goats, leading to increased genetic diversity in the goat populations. The female goats pick their own mates, and their breeding leads to gene pool improvisation and helps cultivate a pattern of positive traits in further generations.
This strange affair has not only helped educate livestock-dependent farmers of high-quality rearing, but also brought the quaint Himalayan valley of Pantwari on the map. What was earlier a trekking spot for merely 1200 people per year is now frequented by over 54,000 domestic and international tourists annually. The Pantwari region is the base camp of the Nagtibba trek, located approximately 95 kilometres from Dehradun. Many villages around this area were left deserted due to the lack of opportunity—these places have since seen the return of considerable population. The rise in tourism has further enabled the establishment of over 109 homestays run by the community. The homestays are eco-friendly, boasting a no plastic, no non-biodegradable material policy—a perfect accommodation choice for those conscious of their carbon footprint. ‘The Goat Village’ (TGV) in Nag Tibba, according to their website, is a traditionally curated and crafted heaven in the hills of Garhwal. Set in the middle of a well-known trek to Nagtibba, the homestays also offer various trekking and camping excursions. You can find many TGVs run by the organisation, and the locals across the state.
The cottages, constructed with only locally-sourced materials, have been decorated by resident artisans. A feast of Garhwali delicacies (made with fresh-grown ingredients, of course) is served at meals, for those seeking authentic flavours. An even better way to connect to the culture is to experience first-hand the basics of Life Sciences.
With the onset of revival of the local economy, traditional architecture and farming has also seen an upward trend. The Green People work with native farmers to boost their income and harbour sustainable practices in the valley.
The introduction of the brand ‘Bakri Chhap’ by the organisation also helped set up over 25 farm produce collection cum retail and distribution centers. The organisation has helped the farmers enhance agricultural output, who now also lend a hand in the packaging process. The brand consists of naturally-sourced and made products which have now been accepted by many luxury hotels and conscious individuals.
The signature event, the ‘Bakri Swayamvar’ has brought much fortune and fame to locals (and their animals), resulting in the accomplishment of free insurance and vaccination of over 5000 goats and sheep in the Jaunpur region of Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand. Additionally, over 300 mule owners were able to foreclose their loans as they provide transportation to those hiking and camping in the region.
The organisation’s efforts have won them the Indian Responsible Tourism Awards (IRTA) in 2019. We look forward to what more the upcoming season of the event brings along.
Bakri Swayamvar Season 3 will see the marriage of Malti, Meena, and Manju on April 13, 2020, at Thikana at Rikholi Village, near the Lambidhar Mines of Dehradun, Uttarakhand. To learn more about the organisation, you can visit their official website, or contact Terra Tales Experiences to try curated experiences and hotels near the venue.
This is a sponsored article.