Traveling with Responsibility

Several years back in 2004 when I visited Kodaikanal for the first time , I was very impressed. It was in the rainy season and a very short weekend travel from Bangalore. I was very happy because Kodaikanal was clean. I did not realise that initially because it was my first time in the hill station.

What I was impressed was the fact that even the corn vendors beside Kodai Lake provided a garbage bin and reminded errant buyers to drop the leftovers in the bin. There was a corn seller on the footpath, probably not even making a good living. But she was aware of godliness in cleanliness.

Thousands of tourists travel all over India every day. Many of these tourist places are filthy and an eyesore to many. Awareness is not a problem. Very few of us would have missed the advertisements by Aamir Khan - 'Athithi Devo Bhava' or Keeping Historical Places Proper or the 'Incredible India Ads'. Yet many of us actually choose to ignore all of these. Many of us have actually travelled abroad and seen wonderful places , taken nice pictures and behaved as all their countrymen do.
Some of these countries like Singapore impose severe fines for offenders and that is a big deterrant.

But India is still in its infancy in terms of infrastructure and implementation of strict on rules. Everything is like 'Chalta hai'.

I was seeing a Bengali movie - roughly the translation of which is '8:08 Bonga Local'.
The hero of the movie is having tea and snacks at a shop when a couple of guys spit on the floor in front of him. When he protests this behavior , the guys choose to ignore his advise. Then he carefully dumps his own leftovers in the garbage bin and says he was just a tourist , but he took good care of their city. This Gandhian policy somehow hits the point.

 I thought that maybe as a traveller we can list out some of the things that we can easily do to keep our tourist places clean and our tourists happy. If most of us start following some basic rules it will be a much better place.

So there are two factors
        - Examples include
  • Non availability of garbage bins
  • Non availability of toilets
  • Getting fleeced by autos/hired cars /touts etc
  • No punishment of offenders
  • No implementation of basic stuff like clean toilets at bus stations, train stations etc

My purpose of this blog is what Tourists can do by themselves to make our tourist places better.

 - Avoid spitting
  •    Avoid spitting from vehicles on the move.(especially if you have Pan or Pan Masala ).
  •    Avoid spitting inside any tourist place like Heritage monuments.
- Avoid dropping Plastics
  •    Carry plastic packets with you till you find a proper place to dispose off the bag
  •    Plastic is banned in Hill Stations,National Parks and many other places - Banned meaning you should not drop anything there. Please carry it back to the nearest town/village - even if it is the wrapper of a biscuit packet.

- Avoid making too much sound
  •         Zoo - Explain to kids and others -  making sounds is not very pleasant for the animals and maybe other tourists too
  •         Wildlife Safari - Try to make as little sound as possible. It scares away wild animals and disturbs other tourists
- Avoid feeding animals
  •     Zoo - Its illegal to feed animals inside a zoo. But still many people cannot resist doing their little bit of charity that is not required
  •     Wildlife Safari - Again , avoid feeding animals, birds and all other living creatures.
- Avoid Teasing Animals
  •          Using sticks to pinch caged cats or making shrill sounds to try to get a reaction from a resting animal is very bad.
  •           During Wildlife Safaris do not get down on foot or chase animals, throw stones at birds etc. It may sound strange but I see people doing it. Respect an animal and its environment.
Well I understand that there are very few toilets in most tourist places in India and its very difficult to control the bladder. But please try to
  •  Avoid Heritage Monuments

Most of the stuff below is common sense but hundreds of tourists ignore these daily.
  •   Respect Local customs and cultures - Avoid abusive language, dress appropriately where ever appplicable.

Suggestions, comments and criticism welcome.


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