The Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series held its 76th webinar titled “Vocal for Local: Empowering Local Communities: Gujarat Experience” on 13th February 2021.
The tourism sector has a huge effect in India by providing immense economic opportunities to the local community. Entrepreneurship has been identified as essential factor for creating job opportunities, generating income, increasing standard of living and generally growing the income levels of local communities through tourism. The webinar discussed about the empowerment of local communities around Kevadia, the site of Statute of Unity and the Weaves of Gujarat which is a tourism product in itself. It also spoke about how these handicraft legacies of the State created employment for locals. It has not only created the employment opportunities for the local people, but it also plays vital role in preserving the centuries old arts and crafts.
The webinar was presented by Gautam B. Popat , Regional Level Guide from Gujarat. Popat has served in Indian Air Force for 20 years and has a keen interest in tourism. He spoke about the rich history of the weaves of Gujarat and facts related to weavers’ community and legacy. The detailed information on Kevadia as a destination was presented by Mayursinh Raul.
Kevadia – The unique and fastest developing tourist destination in Gujarat. The 182-metre-high statue of ironman of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel known as Statue of Unity is located in Kevadia of Narmada District Nestled between the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges. A humble commemoration of Sardar Patel by his countrymen, saluting his contribution to bring everyone together. The Statue of Unity overlooks the vast surrounds and the river basin of the Narmada River and the sprawling Sardar Sarovar dam. Kevadia is well connected by rail, road. Seaplane service is available from Ahmedabad to Statue of Unity. Kevadia has been developed as a family destination suitable for every age group. Leisure & adventure activities and visit to different theme parks such as Dino Trail, Jungle Safari, Valley of Flowers, Butterfly Garden, Vishwa Van, Cactus Garden, Ekta Nursery, cycle tracks etc. makes this place more interesting.
In the second presentation, the rich legacy of weaves from Gujarat was unfolded. Textile have been a part of India’s heritage since the Indus Valley Civilisation. Kutch region, Patan, Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Surat, Jamnagar, Wadhwan, Bharuch and Udvada are main textile and embroidery centres of Gujarat.
To name few waeves or textiles are Ajrakh Block printing, Kharad Weaving, Bandhani (Tie & Dye), Ahir Embroidery, Suf Embroidery, Rogan Painting, Aari Embroidery, Tangaliya Weaving, Patola Weaving. The Government and NGOs are actively involved in preserving these local handicrafts. Special tours, workshops etc organised to understand these arts and crafts which not only empowers the local communities but also motivates to preserve the centuries old heritage.