India has a new tourist attraction on offer – The Villages. The India's tourism minister is repacking the villages as exotic destinations where tourists can enjoy rural pursuits such as drawing well water and churning butter.
Although tourism has boomed, with 3.4 million visiting India last year, few visit the villages, where water, electricity and roads are considered luxuries. Under new plans, tourists in 50 carefully selected villages can live in the heat and dust for a couple of weeks learning local art, crafts and customs. The minister described it as a "return to the roots" experience far from the grand palaces and Raj extravagance that the country has sold for decades.
The more adventurous tourists can sample the army camps of Kashmir, a state that has been wracked by an insurgency since 1989 and where more than 80,000 people have died. A peace process with Pakistan has seen violence fall slightly, and domestic tourists have returned. "We can have the army open adventure camps for youngsters where they [will] live as the army does, look at historic sites and go trekking," Ms Chowdhury said.
Add a yoga or a bollywood bhangra aerobics class whilst you are at it.