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Skip The Pricey Suite! 2 Unique Vacations In India At The Foothills Of The Himalayas.

In India, People Making A Difference, Travel on May 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm
Himalayan Village Ways

Himalayan Village Ways

By Antoinette Alexander

For your next vacation how about skipping that pricey suite at some luxury hotel or plush oceanfront condo and instead embark on an off-the-beaten path adventure that will also lend a helping hand to the locals! This is ecotourism and there are several groups offering this form of tourism that builds on local resources within India.

Ecotourism, offered through such groups Village Ways and Ladakh Homestays, not only makes a positive economic impact on local communities, but also raises awareness of the environmental and social issues facing these communities. The Village Ways project is based in the Binsar wildlife sanctuary, in Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal), just south of the Tibetan border. It has funded the creation of authentic guesthouses in five mountain villages and trained hill villagers to set up and manage walking holidays. The vacation includes walking tours through beautiful hills and you can even work with the locals on their farms. April, May and June is wedding season here…so you are even invited to the local weddings.

There’s also the Homestays endeavor in Ladakh that aids the conservation of the rare snow leopard. Through this program, tourists can enjoy village guides and wildlife tours, including a special snow leopard trek during the winter that is led by local naturalists. This program also generates income for locals and offsets livestock losses caused by the snow leopard and other predators. Since its inception in 2002 in Hemis National Park, popularly known as the snow-leopard capital of India, Homestays households have been established along three trekking routes: Hemis, Sham and Zanskar.

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