Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

Head To Madhya Pradesh If You Are Yearning For Adventure Tourism

Would you like to go tree camping in Satpura National Park or cycling through Mowgli's land? Check out Madhya Pradesh Tourism's new travel plans.

Rafting on the Betwa River in Orchha
Rafting on the Betwa River in Orchha ImagesofIndia /

Gearing up to meet the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 pandemic, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board is now concentrating on promoting destinations that fit into the frame of experiential activities. “We are into the promotion of homestays, village stays, and farm stays as a safe and culturally rich stay option for guests to experience the rich rural culture, food, and traditions of the state,” said Yuvraj Padole, Deputy Director (Events & Marketing), Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board.

Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB) has left no stones unturned in the past two years (2019 to 2021) to make tourism more resilient in the state, said Padole. “MPTB has been working on shaping the tourism sector by not only providing essential services to tourists but also introducing various activities in the state,” he said. With temple and wildlife circuits of the state well entrenched in people's minds, and also to prevent overcrowding of popular destinations, they are concentrating on activity based programmes, such as river rafting, mountaineering, jungle safari, heritage and food walks, heritage runs, biking trips, etc. Not only culture based walks but heritage walks, heritage runs, textile trails, food trails, nature trails, photography tours, cycle tours, bike tours and many such activities are being held regularly in various tourism destinations like Maheshwar, Mandu, Khajuraho, Orchha, Pench, Pachmarhi, Bhopal, Indore, etc.

MPTB’s adventure department has introduced activities such as the cycling-based ‘Buffer Mein Safar’ campaign in the Kanha region, off-road luxury car rally at Patalpani and Kalakund in Indore region, and ‘cycling tour of Mowgli Land’ at Pench Tiger Reserve. 

In collaboration with private companies, 50 camping sites have been introduced to suit the choice of various kinds of travellers. Now visitors can go ‘tree camping’ and ‘gypsy camping’ in the Satpura National Park. In these camps, guests can enjoy bonfires, experience stargazing, bonfire, and dusk drive, swimming, riverside jungle trail with bird watching and tribal cuisine with barbeque, with due care not to disturb the ecology of the place.

As usual, this year too Jal Mahotsav (a two-month long festival held at Hanuwantiya, about 150km from Indore by road) will serve as a perfect platform to experience the life, culture, colourful customs and rich traditions of Madhya Pradesh through local art, craft, folk music, dance and cuisines, said Padole. There will be a plethora of adventurous activities, including hot air ballooning, cycling, cruise boating, water parasailing, para motoring, island overnight camping, star gazing, bird watching, etc. 

Madhya Pradesh Tourism is known to host several popular cultural festivals, such as the Khajuraho Dance Festival. But there are several lesser known festivals which are no less interesting. The Nimar Utsav is an annual three-day event held at Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh around Kartik Purnima (November). The festivities comprise music, dance, drama, and activities such as boating and canoeing. It is organized and celebrated on the banks of the holy river Narmada. One of the major attractions of this festival is the Handloom Walk organised by the tourism department. In the handloom walk, tourists experience the weaver's village with the help of local guides. This increases the income of the local weavers as well as provides interesting information to tourists about the art of weaving. More such walks will be introduced in other places in the future, Padole said.

With more women keen to travel in women-only groups or solo, MPTB is keen to create a women-friendly environment at the tourism destinations, with the help of local communities. They have implemented the project ‘safe tourism destinations for women in Madhya Pradesh’. Under this project, training and capacity building for the concerned stakeholders, creation of awareness about the safety of women, a safety audit of tourist destinations, presence of more working women at tourist places, ensuring favourable environment for women's skill development and capacity building of women, etc. are being implemented. Said Padole, the main objective of this project is to bring about coordination among stakeholders for developing women-friendly public infrastructure, community participation and awareness of women's safety and building community-based institutions. To make tourist destinations women-friendly, the state tourism body is also maximizing women's participation through training in e-rickshaw or taxi driving, scout leader, city explorer, location manager, security guard, cook, etc.

Separately, Bhopal, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh, will be hosting the WTM (World Travel Market) Responsible Tourism India Awards this year on September 7. An International Seminar on Responsible Tourism will be organized by the 'International Center for Responsible Tourism, UK (ICRT) in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board & ADTOI-MP Chapter (Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India).