“It grows wild here, we also
cultivate it and reap the fibers from this plant
which we call Rambaans,” Gopal the local
youth of Kotdwar shows us his white swanky sun
hat. Well these are a fashionable
lot with their pristine white hats , I think,
till I get to see the agaves plants and the
fibers extracted from it. Go pal’s
agaves fiber hat is a sure winner.
Nestled in the western Himalayas near the
pilgrim town Rishikesh is the sleepy town called
Kotdwar. Best way to travel there is to
take a taxi ride and enjoy the scenery and the
winding roads, which lead to the enchanting town
with its green expanse of trees , lianas and
shrubs. When the hot summers hit the plains of
India it is great to spend a few days in places
like Kotdwar and relax amongst the Himalayan
greens. Friendly people chatting away over hot
cups of tea by the roadside and monkeys greeting
you on the streets as you drive from Dehradun,
the capital city of Uttaranchal , is a common
Kotdwar does not have many opportunities
for men and women to earn but things are slowly
changing. People have learnt to use the
biodiversity present in abundance to their
advantage. Women co-operatives are many and they
are engaged in producing local textiles from
wood and fiber indigenous to their region.
Nettle grass , which is another wild plant
is also being used to make stoles and
mufflers . The AGAVES fibers are used to
make mats, paper and other parts are used to
make shampoos , medicines and beer.
Products are available in the market and also in
cities during exhibitions and trade fairs.
As I pick up my shopping in kotdwar from
little kiosks I realize how tourists can play a
valuable part in a sustainable economy of the
region by buying locally produced eco friendly
goods. We grab at the branded mill made goods in
swanky malls and pay a steep price for them when
the same can be brought from a local producer.
The smile on their faces is a lasting memory of
a place you have helped enriched.
Above comments were sent
Ms. Shoma, Jaipur (email@example.com)