Archive for the ‘Hub Uttarakhand India’ Category

Soumi C Banerjee, Independent Researcher, IRMA, Anand- GUJARAT represented  the case of R.O.S.E in the tourism conference of University of Surrey in London in 22nd July 2016.

As we sift through our busy city lives we tend to forget the minimal ties of life under the duress of the extreme work and stress for ascending the corporate ladder. We forget to connect with each other. These conditions take an extreme toll on our mental and physical being leading to various disorders.

Coming to Kanda is a refreshing experience for a busy couple like us and can make anyone reconnect to the nature coupled with some good moments with the VERMA family. MR VERMA is a gem of a person immersed in organic farming, his own school and other social activities. The silhouette of the rustic surrounding soothes the nerves and acts as a detoxifier for both the mind and the body. The aroma of the fresh mint and basil freshly brewed with green tea leaves rejuvenate us with energy for the whole day. The climbs and coming down of the nearby villages and meeting new people can leave an indelible mark as to how simply people live here. The pristine mountains in the backdrop of the home-stay unit make us believe that life is indeed a bed of roses. The pet dogs and the cats add to the village feel along with the mooing of the cows early in the morning. The bloom of flowers in the school campus complements the small kids studying their fruits and vegetables from their Sir. The local shops act as the bridge between the frugal village life and the corporate   trying to enter the rural markets. A special mention must be done for the organic farm fresh KUMAONI food that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed during the short stint.

We heartily thank MR VERMA for endowing us with the opportunity to come and have a taste of his life and work. We shall forever cherish the memories of this magnificent and majestic town nestled in the hills of KUMAON region of UTTARAKHAND.

Soumi C Banerjee,

Independent Researcher,



Shubhonoy Banerjee

Independent Researcher,

Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)

Anand- 388001


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I have spend two weeks in ROSE Kanda.I stayed with homestay family, which made my

experience even better as I could see how they live their lifes every day.They took care

of me as their own member of family.
I gained experience of bricks making.They don’t use any machine to do that all is made by

hand. It is hard work but it was very riwarding and I learned new skill.
Mr. Verma and his son took me to see carpet making.It was very fascinating to see how the

carpets are made, I was very surprised how long take to make one carpet.
At the time I was there, they had Holi celebrations, It was very interesting to see

ceremony and how familys and friend gets together and celebrate this amazing festival.
I got to see how local people in rural areas lives,how hard their lifes are and

understand more their culture.
This life changing experience which I’ll never forget made me appriciate my life even

more and I hope I’ll get chance to come back again one day.

from Slovakia

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A group of 13th , local villagers of Pindari trucking root Bageshwar with Dr Senija Causevic Senior Lecturer International Tourism management ,London Metropolitan Business School , London, UK , Mr Parth Joshi YES Bank New Delhi and Mr Mahaveer Bankoti coordinator arrived at Jeevan Paying Guest Unit ,Village – Sunargaon , Kanda on 16th July 2011 at afternoon , JPGU registered by Tourism department under home stay accommodation scheme of Govt. of India . Participants of the training visited JPGU premises , outside / inside of the reception room , meeting room , living rooms, kitchen, dinning room, veranda, toilets, bathrooms, kitchen garden , Micro Dairy unit , micro Poultry unit, House peat’s unit , and Natural scenic beauty of the areas. They studied facility of local Kanda Market, Transportation, Postal service, Bank service, Information technology service, Other service providers, Roads, Rural paths, Water management, Sanitation, Garbage management, Organic product, Local community members well behaviour and positive attitude , Host families manners, Guiding manners and Host village community members manners, responsibility of the host / guide /community/ tourists.
All investigated the opportunity of the Community based Eco Tourism opportunities
in Kanda areas such as – Holiday enjoying, Natural scenic beauty, Hill / Mountains /Rivers / Streams, Biodiversity, Birds and Wild life watching , Himalayan view, Sun rise and sun set, Flora and fauna , Flowers and Butterflies ,Stairs agriculture fields,
Spiritual temples and Caves, Heritage sites, Adventure programme, Expdition , Local Craftsmanship, Local Customs and traditions, Village walk points, Local talent/ knowledge, Rural life style, Voluntary social help opportunities, and others.
Mr Jeevan Verma hosting Foreign and domestic Eco tourists since 1988 with the co-operation of the local community members, he organised a slide show about the Eco village tourism opportunity in the Kanda, after that coardinator and participents raised questions ,Mr verma answerd the their questions and gave in idea how they can manage good Eco tourism practice in their areas.
Feed back —
1— This is great .I am really happy that we brought our group here, a lot of learning great opportunity for us,Thank you so much for this.
Dr.senija Causevic
Senior Lecturer
International Tourism Management

2— Very impressive efforts, I hope Mr Verma can take this forward to new heights and helps Rural Tourism grow in Kumaun.
Parth Joshi
YES Bank New Delhi
Email– parth.vkt@gmail.com

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Hari & I are spending 2 weeks in India, thus far the first week has been the most exciting and rewarding week, we have spent 5 days with the Verma family.

The weather here has been a little cold, but what do you expect when you come in winter time, the weather may have been cold and wet but the welcome was very warm.

We arrived after nearly 20 hours travel by bus and car from New Delhi, the bus journey was very memorable, as it was very basic, cold and crowded.
Mr Verma met us in Hardwani, and never have we been so happy to see a stranger.
We had a long taxi drive to Kanda, but this was very comfortable, in spite of the rough roads.
As we traveled for 7 further hours to Kanda we stopped and ate, at many of the shops along the way, the food was amazing.

When we reached the village and The Rose cottage, we were pleasantly surprised by the standard of accommodation; the room although basic in UK standards, had electricity a bed and very nicely decorated walls.
The Verma family made us so welcome, making us the best cups of tea I have tasted.
Then there was the food this was really really good, all home cooked and very very welcome after a long journey.
The Verma family have been so good to us, and we have gained so much from working on the community centre, making bricks, and visiting the village and playing with the children and giving gifts.
The new year was spent with the Verma family and this was magnificent, we had a special meal made for us, and shared some nice rum.

Overall the experience has been amazing and we look forward to coming to Kanda again in the future.

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The beautiful hill station, and home of peace (Shantinikitan) Kanda is situated at 1500-1900m above sea level. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and terraced fields it captivates the sense and imaginations of the locals and visitors alike. Both the local people and the visitors appreciate the beauty here and benefit from the pure air and healthy environment that the mountain scenery presents. According to legends, and the older inhabitants, there once lived a local caste of Kanyal. Kanda is named after this caste. The hills of Kanda are very attractive to foreign visitors, and is often likened to the Swiss Alps.
From 1988 tourists of different nationalities have come to stay at the center for paying guests and ecotourism as volunteers. During their stay at Sonargaon , which can last from a few days to several months, visitors watch, join and enjoy community life. They also gain a good understanding and knowledge of Kumoani culture and way of life, and of the deep spiritual and religious beliefs, and so have a unique and enjoyable experience.
Visitors can learn about local food preparation techniques, which is done using specific spices and locally grown organic vegetables. Experiencing this local cuisine can be one of the highlights of life at Kanda!
In their leisure time, visitors enjoy the stunning natural environment. The sweet fragrance of local flowers, the deep chattering of beautiful birds and the colourful butterflies make life here deeply calming. This experience can give a new personal strength to visitors, and the peace and calm can provide an opportunity for the stresses and pressures of life to crumble away and give peace of mind with the deep effect of this intellectual meditation. Many visitors take advantage of this calm atmosphere by practicing yoga.
Visitors can explore on foot the area surrounding Sonargaon village and see the members of the local community carryout their daily tasks, and so gain an insight into this way of life.
Another wonderful experience to be gained by a visit to ROSE is learning about the religious aspects of community life. There are different religious events, some held in the temples and others in people’s homes. Events of religious significance include celebrating various Hindu deities such as the celebration of Ramayana, Bhagwatgita, and Shivachana (worship of lord Shiva), the religious speeches of the priest and the nine days of Nawabriti (where there is worship everyday). These rituals give meaning to peoples lives and also serve as entertainment. During their stay, visitors may observe various religious customs and traditions, such as marriage ceremonies, the naming ceremony of a baby, and Rakhi, the ceremony of sacred thread. Rakhi is an important ceremony where siblings tie thread around each other’s wrists, and by doing so, sisters are assured of their brother’s support and protection. There are many small and extraordinary religious events, including Jagar, the Kumoani folk songs, and the classical dance Chaachari, to name but a few. The women wear many different types of Jewelry, made from Gold and Silver, such as nose and ear studs/rings, necklaces, toes rings, anklets, and many colourful bangles on their wrists.
Kumoani people inherit a long tradition of culture and local environmental knowledge. They have a great understanding of the area, and are able to put the land to good use growing various different crops at different times of the year. They are also very skilled at animal husbandry, and many families own cows, buffalo, poultry and goats, as well as dogs and cats as pets. Creative knowledge regarding local arts and crafts is taught to the younger generations, and many are skilled in artistic pursuits such as dried flower decoration and painting special designs and patterns on the houses, which is called Alpana and Rangoli. Visitors are able to observe and participate in many of these activities and through this gain a deep understanding of the local heritage. If so inclined, visitors can use their time here to conduct detailed studies of local culture, mythology, architecture and artwork, and so students of many disciplines make good use of the opportunities for study here at Kanda.
Participation in the organic farming is enjoyed by many visitors at ROSE. Some people come here as part of the international Willing Work on Organic Farms scheme. Students of geography, biology, or those who are simply interested, can learn a great deal about local biodiversity and organic farming. ROSE operates many schemes to provide eco-friendly and sustainable energy, such as biogas for cooking that comes from cattle manure. Anyone with an interest in ecological issues, or anyone who has any ideas and proposals about sustainable development, will find plenty of scope to explore these ideas further here in Kanda.
While visitors stay here at ROSE, they can use their own personal skills to contribute to the community, and take on the role of eco/bio tourist. Ecotourists staying here are able to learn about the area while contributing to the host community, for example by teaching English, helping with construction projects, or with environmental projects such as reforestation. Through these activities ecotourists can satisfy their aims of sharing their skills with the community and positively contributing to the lives of the rural poor, whose environment and culture the tourists come to experience. Visitors can also spend some time learning Hindi and the local language Kumoani, can learn how to cook Kumoani food and mix the unique and medicinal herbs and spices, and learn about traditional farming and building technologies.

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It was June 1988 when I participated in a workshop where I met some foreign visitors looking for a host family. August the same year I hosted eight international volunteers from different nations. They participated in 15 days home stay, cultural exchange and social & rural development work camps. That was my first experience and it was very successful. My family and the whole community gave the visitors a warm welcome. The community and youth of Kanda participated and my family was very cooperative with hosting the international volunteers, who adjusted very well to our family life. I felt good because the visiting group were very flexible, civilized and had a good sense of humor. It was a valuable exchange because I learnt some skills and increased my knowledge from them.

I still participate in international seminars, workshops, training programs, fairs and festivals in India and exhibit photographs of the volunteers and village tourism so people are aware of the opportunities we provide.

My family members will also be your hosts. Myself and my wife Hema have six children together. The eldest girl Praveen is married and lives about 45 minutes away – a breathtaking walk through the paddy fields and hills. Jeetendra is my eldest son, Diptee is my second daughter (also married), Renu and Gunga are my other daughters in order of age and Sadju is my youngest son. Jeetendra’s wife also lives with us, as does my grandson Gautam and Saorabh (Praveen’s sons).


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Kanda is remote, in the district of Bageshwar, in the Kumaoni hill range of Uttaranchal, a hilly province of northern India. It is a dispersed settlement cluster of about 30 villages, home to over 20,000 people and is some 86 kilometers from well-known Almora. Bowl-shaped Kanda valley settlements have an approximate elevation of 1400 meters to 1800 meters. The people of the area are mainly involved in agricultural farming, forestry, horticulture, tea gardening, handicraft, jewelry, and lately, mining. Soldiering is also in the Kanda blood. Many of its villagers are in the armed forces or live as retirees in Kanda, surviving on the money-order economy.
Amidst the terraced lands, the Kumaoni people are nestled at the foot of the astounding Himalayan range, the snow capped peaks of which stand out from behind the rich forested slopes on any sunny day. The small villages of Kanda have pure air and a healthy environment offered by the mountain scenery. The landscape is visually appealing as its terraced farming and numerous wild flowers present pleasing shades of color to the eyes. The hills around Kanda offer an unrivaled tranquility.
The Kanda area is distinct for its rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, as well as its pristine scenic beauty. It is a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. The whole Kumaoni area is full of medicinal plants, spices and herbs, many of which grow naturally around agricultural fields and are cultivated by the local farmers.
The people of Kanda are poor. Over 50% of villagers live below the poverty line, lacking even the basics of life such as health and sanitation facilities and adequate shelter. Land holdings are small, as they have been divided among sons for several generations. Cow, buffalo, goat, and ox rearing is very popular for meat, milk, compost, and the plowing of fields. People are religious in nature and women do a lot of work in the home as well as in the fields. Dependence on natural resources is high and thus resource management is necessary for a balanced and sustainable way of life. Making local people economically strong is one of the ways of reducing their unrestricted dependence on the natural resources, and thus conserving the riches with which nature has endowed them.

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My name is martin and I am writing this blog at long last.
This is my second time at the R.O.S.E. KANDA.
I came here in 2009 and spent three weeks.
To me it was like stepping back in time to rural Ireland of 40 years ago.
I grew up on a farm of about the same size doing many of the things that the people of the hills take part in to day.
Planting, working with cows and doing other things that to make a living.
It made me realize how hard my parents had to work to make a living whist I was enjoying my childhood
So this year I was determined to return with some help and ideas to improve the working lives of the local community.
To this end I brought an incubator, so that chicks can be hatched and the resulting chicks can b given out to the local women so that they can have a source of protein and possibly sell the eggs to have extra income.
In the two years I have come I have met great people both in the local community and in the volunteer.
The host family has become great personal friends to me.
I have been invited to many local cultural events weddings, temple , birthday parties.

In all I would say that it has been the best experience of life.
It also inspires me to see the youth of the UK and the rest of the world reaching out and helping and if that is the standard we can all have hope in the world for a better future for us all.

Martin volunteer 2009 /2010
20th April 2010

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I stayed at Rose Kanda for Three weeks in total. During my time here I taught at both the English speaking public school and the Hindi School. The challenges I faced at each school were very different. At the public school the pupils knew an awful lot of English; they were extremely enthusiastic and keen to learn, however in their enthusiasm could be noisy and disruptive, so it was necessary to be strict and firm. I taught the oldest class at this school and I loved it! The class were brilliant, they are just so intelligent and eager. I think they had been underestimated in the past and I taught them sentence structure, semi-colons and colons and literary techniques such as similes, metaphors and alliteration, all in the space of a few weeks. If teaching advanced material is daunting and not an appealing task to you, there are younger classes with more basic punctuation etc. to teach. Some volunteers also taught Maths. The children are really interested in you personally, and love to learn about life in England.

At the Hindi school the children do not know much English, they are very poor and probably need the volunteer help more; not many of the volunteers have gone to this school. The teachers themselves speak very little English and have taught the children some bad habits. The children are shy, and teaching here is basic and involves constant drilling of simple information, lots of enthusiasm and patience to illicit from some unwilling participants.

My stay at the house has been really comfortable. The food is delicious, the beds are hard but manageable, there isn’t a problem with mosquitoes and I’ve really enjoyed my cold bucket showers! It’s the most beautiful countryside you can possibly imagine, and the local people are so accommodating and friendly. It’s not recommended to walk around in the evenings, and we eat late and then go to our rooms, but in the day Kanda is the safest place imaginable. Although dodgy and unreliable, there is internet access in the village just a 15 to 20 minute walk from the house.

The family are so friendly and welcoming, and always try their best to make sure you settle in, and there is bound to be a great group of volunteers already here to keep you company.

I came here to gain confidence, and although the journey here was very hard, and Delhi was an unpleasant city to many of us, (definitely recommend booking the train to Haldwani in advance on cleartrip.com, and then getting Mr.Verma’s pickup service here) it’s all been part of the experience. It was my first journey away from home on my own, and although daunting, it’s been really satisfying and I have achieved everything I set out to do.

I have really enjoyed my stay and recommend it to anybody wanting to get away to a peaceful environment (the afternoons can be spent reading and relaxing, or helping more with the family) and help a community.

Nicola Hargreaves

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