Mandu- Homestay Scheme of Tourism Department to enhance tribals' income- Will be a Boon to Stop Migration


Dr Rajesh Jauhri, Mandu 

It is not just that the village Malipura situated in a valley below Mandu has been selected by the Tourism Department for tribal or cultural tourism. The area is full of natural beauty, the journey to the village being full of adventure, the immense water in Malipura dam here, beautiful traditional houses of the tribal community situated on different hillocks like the Himalayan areas and much more which we will see in this report.

For a long time, news about the homestay scheme of the department was being published with the date line of Mandu in the news stories of Dhar district and in the press releases of Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department. There is also a beautiful description of this area in those news stories, which people could not believe before witnessing them with their own eyes. To know the truth about this, our team reached Malipura on Thursday 19 October and we were just mesmerised on the spectacular sceneries of Malipura and it's surroundings.

The name of the third gate that comes while going from Nalchha to Mandu is Kamani Gate and just before this Kamani Gate, on the opposite side, a kutcha road is there, which touches Malipura and some villages beyond it i.e. Rati Talai, Bandhav, Ambapura and Bhatkal, after which this road meets the highway coming from Gujri situated on Agra Bombay highway.

The initial approach road towards Malipura seems easy but after covering just 150 meters, there is a steep descent and that too on a path full of stones and potholes, the construction of which has been approved long ago but due to the objection of the Forest Department, the construction work of the road could not be started yet. Amidst the tussle between the Forest Department and other government departments, those who are facing the problems, the most are the residents of these four villages, for whom coming to Mandu to fulfill their daily needs or for any other work is a risk just like any dangerous mountaineering expedition. This could be seen and very well understood through the pictures.

Regarding this, we were warned by Mrs. Durga Chauhan, Supervisor of Women and Child Development Department, at Kamani Gate itself that the road is very dangerous, but we were also determined to reach the village, so we continued our journey and finally reached our destination.

Well! When we reached Malipura after crossing all the hurdles and risks, we were completely mesmerized. After reaching here, memories of small villages situated on the hills of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh became fresh.

Malipura is situated in a small valley surrounded by high mountains on all sides, which is about 1000 feet below Mandu. The Malipura Dam built here, which is about 2 kilometers long and about 400 meters wide, further enhances the beauty of this area. 

Keeping all these things in mind, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department has started a pilot project under the homestay scheme for tourists in this village. Initially, five tribal families have been selected and given financial assistance and special training. All those homestays are almost ready and in the coming one or one and a half month, it is expected that domestic and foreign tourists will start staying in those special homes.

It is evident! If this happens, then due to increase in the income of these tribal families, their standard of living will improve and they will never think of migrating to the city. This scheme is also very good because the urban people of our country and foreign guests will also get to see the tribal culture of Malwa closely.

Dinesh Katare, who built one of those five home stays at his home, told us how these home stays and the constant influx of tourists to the village is improving the living standards of residents of this village. Along with financial assistance being provided to him by the Tourism Department, Katare also got training from an organization in Gujarat on how to operate these homestays. In this training, they have also been told all the things, which are taught to the hotel management students so that the guests from India and abroad who come to their place feel good and depart with good experiences.

We also spoke to Kapil Parikh, an eminent journalist who brings the news of Mandu region to the country and the world and he also explained in detail about this homestay scheme and other works done by the tourism department. Being a journalist, Mr. Parikh remains constantly connected with all these matters and he also likes to work for the upliftment of the people of tribal society. He told that Principal Secretary of Tourism Department, Mr. Shivshekhar Shukla has done a lot for this scheme and to take Mandu to a good position on the tourism map, Mr. Shukla always keeps taking some suggestions from the local people. He feels that if these aspects of Mandu are properly developed, Tourism here can be taken to greater heights.