Maru Lok Sanskriti: A Cultural Treasure for Tourism

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27 Sep 23
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- By Lakshminarayan Khatri

Maru Lok Sanskriti: A Cultural Treasure for Tourism

The folk culture of Maru Pradesh is a sight to behold. This region is a treasure trove of ancient living traditions, making it a paradise for art and tourism enthusiasts worldwide. In every nook and corner of this arid land, one can witness the beauty of cultural rituals, festivals, music, dance, attire, jewelry, sculpture, handicrafts, agriculture, animal husbandry, and the way of life in mud huts. The presence of local temples dedicated to deities, inscriptions, and various cultural markers adds to the richness of the region.

If the cultural heritage of the Thar region of Rajasthan is showcased in the field of tourism, it could potentially provide rural communities with employment opportunities, enhancing their prosperity. While Jaisalmer's tourism business is thriving with attractions such as the Golden Fort, havelis, Jain temples, Kuldhara, and camel safaris in the dunes, there are hundreds of villages spread across the vast 38,000-square-kilometer area with equally rich cultural heritage, yet untapped for tourism development.

Apart from Kuldhara and Khamba, the architectural heritage of 82 Paliwala villages, ancient forts located near the border, Ganeshiya Durg (a rare mud fortress), and Mohangarh Lathi Lakhara Rana Dha Hadda are historic forts that can significantly contribute to tourism if they are brought to the global stage.

The rural areas of Marusthal, including Jaisalmer, offer a unique way of life, characterized by simplicity, and they are an epitome of artistic expression. Here, cultural events such as births, deaths, weddings, and festivals are celebrated with fervor and vibrancy. For tourists, experiencing this region means encountering a sense of novelty and freshness.

Tourists enjoy watching the making of traditional meals on a chulha (a traditional stove) and relish bajra (millet) rotis, local sweets, and a variety of dishes. The unique folk arts and crafts of the region, including pottery, goldsmithing, woodwork, goat wool weaving, ralli (quilting), gadh, takia, and thali painting, are thriving. Bringing these local crafts to the global market can provide rural communities with additional sources of income.

Marusthal, like Jaisalmer, also has a natural heritage to offer. The sand dunes, flora, fauna, including wildlife such as chinkara, blackbuck, deer, and hundreds of migratory bird species visiting the ponds in the rural areas, present opportunities for wildlife tourism that are yet unexplored and need to be added to the tourism map.

The concept of conserving water in rural areas is very much alive, and the numerous kund (step wells), talab (ponds), and kuwa (wells) in the region are associated with sacred rituals and local deities. The vibrant traditions, rituals, and sacred places of worship, folk songs, and dances like Ghoomar and Pabuji's Pad bring out the rich tapestry of Maru culture.

Tourism in rural areas can provide a fresh perspective to urbanites and people from around the world, who are often tired of pollution and congestion in cities. The sight of twinkling stars in the night sky or the moonlight fills hearts with a sense of peace and happiness.

Tourists in rural areas are fascinated by watching women bringing water from step wells, the mud huts, animal husbandry, the craftsmanship of making clay utensils, and the adornment of camels and horses. In essence, they witness various facets of rural life.

Tourism can create employment opportunities at the local level and bring prosperity. What's needed now is a well-thought-out development plan for rural cultural tourism by the government and administration. Practical training should also be provided to the younger generation to develop tourism-related businesses.

By promoting the rich cultural heritage of Marusthal, we can showcase it to the world, thereby benefiting rural communities and enhancing the global appeal of these untouched treasures.

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