Rural Tourism in India | Photography for a Cause
In my endeavor to travel to the rural areas of Telangana, I got an idea. Why not collaborate with an NGO that works in rural areas and make a positive impact out of traveling and photography. Rang De - the microfinance organization doing amazing work in the villages of India.
After lot of discussions, we decided to make a day trip from Hyderabad.
We zeroed down to two villages - Chinna Nandigama and Pedda Nandigama in Mahabubnagar district in Telangana state. Rang De had been working with the farmers there and had already made a positive impact on the life of the villagers.
The purpose of the trip was not just to capture beautiful images, but those that tell the story of the farmers. This was traveling with a purpose and with a good cause.
This was one of the most unique Photography Tours I have ever organized. It was a bit hit as rural tourism in India. It was surprising to see that most of the participants have never been to the villages. It was a great experience for them seeing the open fields and photographing them. Interacting with the villagers was eye-opener for a lot of us.
After we came back from the tour, the participants were asked to submit their best pictures. We later did an exhibition of these pictures in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The proceeds from the sales went to fund the various projects that Rang De does.
We fixed a date and made all the preparations for our rural tour. Unfortunately, it rained the whole night and I was wondering if all the participants will turn up. Surprisingly all of them did and we set out to explore Rural Telangana.
After a nice breakfast in Kodangal, we headed over to Hasnabad to meet the farmers. It was great interacting with the farmers. We took their pictures working in the fields, most of them were women. They narrated their stories on how Rangde had provided them with small finances that helped them change their life and become independent.
The village children riding half-pedal bicycles saw the group of photographers without an occasion for the first time in their life. They got inquisitive. I gave my camera to them and let them try taking some pictures. It was a great experience for me as they were exploring it. I could see the delight on their faces when they saw the picture they took.
Though the trip was to an ordinary village and not to an exotic touristy place, we each and everyone enjoyed being there. Many were saying that they are coming to a village after decades. Two young photographers confessed that they came to a village for the first time in their life.
It’s so unfortunate that most of the younger generation knows that the food we eat comes from the local supermarket. They are least aware how it reached there and how much hard work the farmers do to get a decent yield. The farmers were kind enough to organise lunch for all of us. It was a great experience to sit under the shade of a tree and relish the simple and delicious food. We were back to the fields again. On the way, we saw few village girls swinging on a swing made of a tyre. Made me remember my childhood, how when we went to our village, we did the same.
The farmers were so friendly. One of them insisted us to have tea at their house and we could not say no. As the tea was being prepared, we sat at the lovely courtyard and talked to the family members. It was time for us to leave and come back to the urban jungle we stay in.
How to Go: Chinna Nandigama and Pedda Nandigama in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana. The best way is to drive there, the highway is excellent. Can also be reached by railway; Mahbubnagar has a railway station.
Nearby places: Pillalamarri is an interesting place nearby.
Where to stay: Since it’s very near to Hyderabad, can be done on a day’s trip.
What to wear: Comfortable cotton and sports shoes; there is a lot to walk in the fields.
Our Photography Exhibition from this Tour
The exhibition from the participants pictures in Bangalore and in Hyderabad got great response. We were able to create awareness about Rang De.
Start early, it can get hot water. Treat the farmers with respect, they deserve it and more.
Tips for photographers
Don't look for beautiful pictures, just try to observe and document ordinary life.
Start early, it can get hot later. Treat the farmers with respect, they deserve it and more.
ThanksgivingThanks to Smita Ram, one of the co-founders of Rang De who agreed to this project. This was one of the most fulfilling projects I have done.
All rights reserved. No copying without permission of the author Ssaurabh A Chatterjee