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India: the spice of real life

Belfast Telegraph, Monday, January 22, 2007

Farming communities in northern India are opening their homes to tourists. Not only does this help villages survive, but at the end of a hard day’s walking, the locals’ personal touch made Rebecca Baker feel genuinely looked after

“Migration is an increasingly familiar story in the Kumaon area of Uttarakhand and it’s one of the region’s biggest problems, contributing to the slow eradication of the indigenous language and culture. It was also the reason that I was there. After years of planning by an enthusiastic Anglo-Indian team (the former including travel industry veterans, Linda and Richard Hearn), a new walking holiday company, Village Ways, started operating last October. The aim is to stem the exodus; while visitors get a rejuvenating holiday, the locals are able to earn a sustainable living in their home villages. I was one of the first guests.”