Ladpura Khas is one of the six lakh villages of India. It is a part of Bundelkhand region which covers a large part of the land in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Ladpura Khas is in Madhya Pradesh, just seven kilometers from the historic city of Orchha, and is one of three villages in India that were nominated for the United Nations World Tourism Award for Best Rural Tourism Village.
The search for alternative tourism experiences has been further bolstered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourists now want to spend time with nature away from the crowd.
Rural tourism is one such option that is slowly becoming popular. Madhya Pradesh is one of the states that has taken this on a war footing, and the results from this initiative are pleasantly surprising and potentially transformative. Ladpura Khas is part of this campaign.
Villagers Rekha Bhabhi and Kamala got an opportunity when the state government announced its rural home stay scheme. With a partial subsidy and design provided by the government, he built two rooms next to his house.
After COVID, he gave room for 75 nights, earning him around Rs 150,000. There are two more similar houses in the village – Uma Pathak’s Mahua Hill View and Vandana Sharma’s Sheetla Greens.
British and India lover Sophie Hartman studied Hindi and Bengali for the first two years. She is the owner of a UK-based travel company – Holiday in Rural India – whose primary customers are Europeans.
Sophie said she was a big fan of living in the countryside for two reasons. One, culture is being maintained and given importance in the village environment. And two, a positive impact on the community. Sophie said, “We were greeted with a traditional song written by local women. The whole village, including the youth, watched her music performance and people (like us) were given high status, importance to it.”
However, he said, villagers need to be careful so that the “wrong” people (groups of young men; or foreigners who don’t fully understand what they are experiencing) don’t spoil and upset the balance throughout the community. Let’s still get used to it.