Monday, November 30, 2009

Suitable PRA Tools for our project

PRA tools suitable for the objectives of the NNMSG community participation project were identified, list of the tools and type of information to be elicited is as mentioned below,

Participatory Mapping
This method involves a diagram of the resources, facilities and infrastructure. It serves as a flowchart for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of village developmental activities. Diagrams summarize data in a way that helps in discussions, analysis and problem solving. This method was chosen to identify the community’s perspective of the tourism resources while exploring the possibilities and the improvement that would be required to develop that resource. In present context we used this tool for tourism resource map.

Semi structured interviews
This method of data collection through structured interviews is helpful for In-depth information. We had few predetermined checklist to initiate and facilitate the conversation, whilst the majority of the questions were formulated during the interview. This gave us valuable understanding about the community’s relationship and dependency on the tourism. Semi structured interviews were most relied and most valuable source of the PRA.

Time Line
This method engages the community in a discussion through a series of guided questions relevant to the objective of the PRA. This tool was largely instrumented to find the impact of seasonal, religious and time bound tourism. The information thus gathered gave an insight of tourist patterns and helped us generate a link with Nalanda Remains, Xuanzang, Sun Temple and other major events associated with tourism and how this affected their lives and the ambience of the place.

Group Discussion
This tool allows us to explore a range of concerns and interests. The process also raises awareness about the resources and communication thus brings forth any potential conflict, and provides a platform for consensus building. This tool was very effective in discussion with the vendors around the Remains. We also engaged the Tangawala (horse cart) in group discussion to build a consensus among the union members.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Objectives of the NNMSG PRA program

The objectives of the project largely determined the type of tools appropriate to collect the required information. Specific objectives for the PRA exercise were identified and are as listed below; and for each objective suitable PRA tools were selected.

Specific objectives

1. What community thinks are the tourism resources and there positive and negative impacts on their lives.
2. What is community’s idea for the livelihood opportunities from tourism
• Perception about the home-stay and meal at home for the visitors (domestic and foreigner)
• Possibilities for cultural experiences- what people think can make a good cultural experience- Traditional sports, performing arts, Local cuisine etc
3. Skill basket for Souvenirs- What are the skills and crafts available within the community and how can they contribute to increased livelihood options
4. Document of some of the important trends, recent changes and events related to tourism that took place and how they affected people in general.
5. Gender Analysis – For an effective implementation it is necessary to understand the gender roles and their implications. Inputs from such exercise will help in developing a stepwise plan for the building community institutions. Each society is a mix of different communities with varying value systems; role of women and active participation is different based community beliefs and it is necessary to mutually understand these perspectives. This will also help in designing the capacity building programs.
6. Master Plan of Nalanda- Stakeholder and focus groups to identify and prioritize their concerns and needs to develop a suitable Master-Plan of Nalanda
7. Institutions- what is community’s expectation of suitable institutions

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PRA Design and introducing the Team

PRA Design for NNMSG
Appropriate PRA tools for NNMSG community participation project are identified from the "basket of techniques" offered by PRA. The central part of our PRA design is semi-structured interview. We plan to have interviews with individuals representing various sections of the society that would give them an opportunity to voice their concerns and needs and help us identify the sensitive issues. Other topics of more general concern are amenable to dialogue during focus group discussions and community meetings.

These interviews and discussions and several diagrammatic techniques shall be employed to actively involve the people and stimulate a constructive debate. The communication among various groups of people would increase awareness and they can better coordinate their decisions to be mutually beneficial. This dialogue and initial cooperation would be a great way to integrate the society based on common initiatives. The complete exercise spread in span of six months shall focus more on facilitating participation of the communities and to enable the local people to raise their concerns; not only as sources of information, but as partners with the PRA team in gathering and analyzing the information. The PRA exercise is designed to gather enough information to make necessary recommendations and informed decisions based on community tourism and yet it is very efficient with usage of time and money.

The Team
The PRA team constituted for the process consists of three facilitators including one female; two of the facilitators are from Bargaon village. Deepak Anand, the team leader has a done the PRA exercise at Nepura, the site of Endogenous Tourism Project (GOI-UNDP Project). Sailesh Pandey the second facilitator is a local inhabitant and has rich experience in community work as a volunteer. The third facilitator Pratima Kumari is student of NNM, from a local village and she is interested in working with the women group in future.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Why PRA- Appropriateness in the context

The NNMSG community participation project is for valuing the Knowledge and experience of the community. The pride that we feel in our heritage is more than just the physical assets; it is also our local culture, the art, the festivals and the fairs. And community needs to be involved so that the tangible and the intangible assets or our culture could be accounted for and further explored. One way of preserving our assets is making them more popular and sharing them with others while educating the population so that its sanctity could be maintained.

This Project aims to develop an experience for the visitors based on the combination of our archeological and traditional cultural heritage. Community needs to be involved in the initial stages as they would be the best judge for the needs of the fast changing rural landscape of the area; and it is the plan that they come up with and the strategy that they follow that would determine the ultimate success of the project. The sustainability of the solutions would lie with the effort and pride that the people feel in its ownership. This would includes collective decision making, better understanding about the resources the place is bequeathed with, identifying the needs of the society and revival of some old intangible resources; and most of all the process with which these resource can be a source of sustainable livelihoods. The ultimate goal of the project would be to empower the community institutions to be able to operate on their own and set an example for those who would like to follow in there steps. In the long run, it is about the community taking care of their tourism needs, making the visitors familiar with the assets and taking the pride and joy of ownership.

In essence public participation is extremely important to make this tourism project a success and PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) is one such approach which can be instrumental in facilitating community participation. PRA is essentially a set of tools and methodologies that can be appropriately applied at different stages of project and it is perfectly suited to meet the objectives of NNMSG community participation project.

There is a dire need to improve upon the existing infrastructure; with the increased number of tourists in the area, the facilities need to step up and come up to the expectations of the visitor. It is very urgent to make sure that the infrastructure is strong and with provisions to handle future growth. To be able to market ‘Nalanda’ as the new and upcoming tourist destination, the places need a new get up and new image while maintaining its earthy appeal.
The community can play a very important role in providing us the basic frame work by coming together and giving an insight into the growing needs of the area and possible solutions. This would also empower people and remove the threat that might be imposed up on them by policies, institutionalization or through the influx of outside parties with vested interests.

Nalanda with its archeological heritage has made it to the tentative list of the world heritage site and now we need to improve upon the infrastructure and come at par with the higher expectations of visitors. Under the world heritage site provisions, ‘Nalanda’ will have to comply with the norms and conditions of the UNESCO. And taking the first step towards improvement would give us the benefit of an early start and the process will most certainly help prevent exploitation of the heritage and increase the inflow of tourists. Better facilities will tend increase their stay in the area and would benefit the local economy which would then be in a position to reinvest in the system.
PRA process will bring the community together and start a dialogue towards a broader, long term goal for the area. Armed with these information and by involving public into the decision making process, a refined master plan for Nalanda can be developed.

As stated earlier, by empowering the people with the ability to make better decisions for their lives, they are protected against the exploitation that might come about from the parties with vested interest. And this improves the economic situation of the area and the ability of the local people to reinvest in the growing infrastructure needs. There can improvement in the tourists support services like shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitality and transportation, etc.
Based on the discoveries and interests of the visitors, new tourist circuit routes could be developed, rural tourism can add a new flavor to the experience, the awareness about the heritage could be spread and the glory of the ancient Nalanda can be resurrected.
A pioneer from centuries ago would develop with the outstanding potential and set a great example for others to follow. This is a great opportunity and a gateway to facilitate a new era of community managed tourism.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What is PRA (Participatory Rural appraisal)?

In 1992, Robert Chambers, one the most well-known proponents of PRA, described it as "a family of approaches and methods to enable rural people to share, enhance, and analyse their knowledge of life and conditions, to plan, and to act". With this process the people explore their own potential and feel empowered to bring about a change in the current situations by increased coordination and constructive partnerships. That in turn improves the long term sustainability of growth and revitalizes the economic activities.

PRA consists of group techniques like time lines, seasonal calendars, mapping, wealth ranking of households within the community, Venn diagrams of the community's institutional context; transect walks to observe the natural and built environment, and a variety of scoring and ranking techniques that facilitate effective community participation.

PRA has been used extensively to foster community participation in development projects around the world. It helps gathers and reflects on information about communities using approaches and methods that promote deep understanding and local empowerment. It is a tool equipped to enhance communication by building better relationship, increase involvement of people in their area’s future by making them more aware and including them in the decision making process. Such community participation improves the chances that the development projects will succeed by tailoring them to locally relevant situations. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) as the name implies is not limited to rural setting and for appraisal purposes only. This is a set of methodologies which are useful throughout the project cycle.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


If we see the data of international visitors coming to Nalanda we find an annual increase of more than 10% in the current decade. This is a good opportunity when we can plan some unique cultural experience for the tourists; such initiative will enrich the experience of the visitors and increase the qualitative and quantitative stay of the visitors as well. Such initiative shall flourish with the participation of the local communities, in the process benefiting the community and the visitors while conserving the heritage.

Total Visits -Domestic tourists

Total Visits- International Visitors

Monthly visit Profile- Year 2008

Domestic tourists

International Tourist

Location (Villages included for the PRA)

In the first phase of the project we plan to involve the community of Villages in the immediate vicinity of Nalanda. The Villages included for the PRA are,
1- Bargaon
2- Surajpur
3- Sarilchak
4- Nirmal Bigha

The main focus of the present initiative is to develop a wider tourist circuit involving villages with archleogical significance. Archaeological site Rukmanisthan which is part of Jagdishpur and Juafardih village has the Mound which was excavated by ASI in 2007. There are evidences suggesting Juafardih is the ancient Kulika and the stupa is possibly linked to Mahamogallan, one of the main disciples of Buddha. Both the sites are close to Nalanda and are potential tourist destinations.
The next step would be to develop a Tourism development committee involving the people of the villages for their effective participation and a role in the decision making process.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Background on Nalanda

Nalanda was a very rich culture and its remains are a heritage that needs to be cherished and explored further so that we can find pride in our roots and revive some of the lost culture. The ancient remains of Nalanda University that have been excavated so far are just 10 % of whole remains and these are surrounded by villages and most of these villages are on the unexcavated Mound. A large population has been living over these remnants for centuries and the more than 200 acres of the unexcavated mounds are private property. The Mound has dwellings or is used for agriculture purposes. Lots of irreversible damage has already been done to this heritage and it is still under constant threat.

We need to preserve this rich heritage and in the process we need to find ways that the community can get monetary benefits from the growing tourism in the area while preserving the heritage for future generations. Tourism is flourishing in this area and the community is in a very special position to benefit from it but there is a need to chart out a route so that the development is not at the cost of the damage to the heritage. Long term solutions for positive development of the community and the surroundings lies in the interdependency of the people who are living in this vast heritage and the people who cherish it and would like to visit it; all need to come together to conserve the heritage and save the experience for future generations

It is time to identify suitable ways to generate sustainable livelihoods from the growing tourism and make people, both the visitors and the keepers more aware about the delicate legacy that they are holding together to minimize the exploitation. There is a need for improving the physical and social infrastructure that will eventually facilitate more such initiative in other villages with archaeological heritage.
Mapping of Nalanda” an ongoing project of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara; and it is an effort to build a detailed database of places of archaeological interest in and around Nalanda. This database will help in developing appropriate interpretations for sites with their references to the history, and thus the tourist base could be widened and more destination routes may be planned out and it can take tourists to more places that are currently not part of the main stream tourism.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Introduction to Nava Nalanda Mahavihar

Nava Nalanda Mahavihar is a Deemed University and a research Institute specialized in the field of Pali and Buddhism. It integrates and unfolds knowledge in threefold manner as per the Buddhist tradition namely: Pariyatti (Theoretical Knowledge), Patipatti (Practice) and Pativeda (Experience). While Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is the Place of Pariyatti, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara Sanskritik Gram (NNMSG) is conceptualized for Engaged Buddhism.

Buddhism besides being a popular religion also offers spiritual and philosophical teachings in a very secular way and its beliefs are invariably a way of life. Engaged Buddhism is where the principles of Buddha’s teachings are taken beyond the boundaries of a temple and used to coexist in harmony with other beings; loving kindness and compassion to all living. It is a contemporary approach that is actively involved with the social, economic, social and ecological problems of society. Its philosophical and ethical roots lie deeply within traditional Buddhist philosophy and values, which it applies it to contemporary problems.

Buddhism talks about how to be at home in the universe, right conduct of an individual in the society and responsibility of individuals towards the larger environment. It has references about Buddha preaching on right livelihood, the necessity to save money, and about benefiting from the natures abundance without exploiting it.

At NNMSG, we plan to involve community and design together sustainable livelihoods from the growing tourism. To encourage the awareness of public and letting them participate in an informed interaction and develop a coherent system that would entail privileges and obligations to maintaining the vast heritage of Nalanda while benefiting from it. The responsibility of conserving lies with the community and the tourists and there is a strong need for education about our resources and to put in place a directive to preserve what is discovered so far and for all that is still to be unearthed.

The project began with a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) in an effort to start a dialogue among people about the issues and provide them with the opportunity to participate in the decision process. It would imbibe the concern of all citizens at various relevant levels and enabled these communities to assess the situation.

It helps the communities to identify and explore the opportunities for the scope of improvement to make it a beneficial process for the people and the surroundings. This process will increase interaction and analysis of current problems and provide bases for sustainable solutions necessary to effect changes throughout the project implementation.

PRA is a useful method to gather baseline information to capture public opinion and fortify decision making. PRA was selected to facilitate early and genuine community involvement in the tourism project which could initiate large-scale changes in the Vicinity of Remains of ancient Nalanda University and could be used as a guideline for similar community owned tourism project at Nalanda and around. This PRA exercise was conducted in collaboration with Department of tourism (Government of Bihar).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Project Implementation

Participatory implementation and eventually the participatory management is not a spontaneous process; it is a conscious and informed activity. This will be achieved through involving community at every step of project activity. The process of continuous, active stakeholder involvement in the activities shall result in various benefits.

  1. More community members shall be committed to carrying on the activity after the outside support has stopped.
  2. This will help in develop skills and confidence.
  3. A greater sense of ownership and agreement of the processes to achieve an objective
  4. Shall help in evolving a more transparent and accountable system 
Based on the PRA, activities shall be identified. Each activity shall have a team that shall participate in the implementation work.

Reporting, Appraisal and Participatory evaluation
Based on the indicators identified by the community for the logframe matrix, a suitable activity reporting format shall be developed. This format shall become the basis of the yearly appraisal and participatory evaluation.

The basic purpose of reviewing and reporting shall be to improve implementation effectiveness by ensuring accountability for the funds allocated and by promoting the learning from the lessons by making necessary adjustment. A participatory Monitoring and evaluation (PME) suitable for each activity and for the project shall be designed.

In the upcoming posts we’ll discuss how these techniques were implemented, the response of the people and the final outcome of the PRA with its benefits contributing to the other development work going on in the area.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Creating Vision with Logic and Risk analysis

This technique will assist the community in developing a shared vision for the future in the activities. It involves asking the community group to assess where they are now and where they can realistically expect to be in future.

Within the activity the logframe helps to determine the roles to be played by different participants and provide an accurate schedule of actions that will need to be undertaken. The logframe for the various activities shall be developed with community participation and suitable objective shall be identified.

Risk analysis is a continuous activity done at the planning stage and at the key points of the activity cycle. There are three principal types of risk.

  1. Risk arising from factors actually or potentially our control,
  2. Risk that arise from factors in the wider policy and institutional environment, and which are controllable by decision makers elsewhere
  3. Risk essentially uncontrollable—earthquake, political instability etc
Risk analysis is the process of identifying the risk assessing their individual and collective potential for causing damage, and defining the counter measures.

An elaborate risk analysis for each activity identified under the project shall be done.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Community Action Plan

Baseline Data thus collected shall be tabulated in a programmed excel sheet. The purpose of this baseline data is to review the progress and time to time evaluation of the activities under the project.

Problem & Situation analysis will help in identifying real as opposed to apparent development needs. In addition, it helps to bond programme participants together by identifying a variety of issues that may need to be dealt with, such as roles of different partners in resolving those issues, or the timescale and resources needed to achieve a given solution.

SWOT (Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats) Analysis helps converting the gathered information into a format that is easily by persons at all levels. This allows the community to see the picture at glance. For each opportunity available the SWOT analysis shall be done by the community. The results shall form the ladder for Problem tree analysis.

Entrepreneur window/ options for the Community based tourism

Stakeholder analysis at this stage of action plan would be help identify the stakeholders, their interest in the activity and also, to assess the influence and importance of each of these stakeholders in each of these activities.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visitors’ survey

The purpose of the survey is to get first hand information of the visitors visiting this part of tourist circuit (Gaya, Nalanda and Pawapuri). Exercise will help us understand attitudes and perceptions of the visitors. Findings will facilitate the community’s understanding about what tourist expects and what resources are available with the community. Findings of the survey coupled with the findings of the PRA shall form the basis of future participatory planning activity to be carried under the project.

Survey approach shall be a Quantitative research.


Economic impact- it measures the visitors spending/ potential spending generated by the activity.
Visitor Profile- A visitor’s profile is a description of the visitors based on demographical and behavioral characteristics.
Visitor perceptions- Understanding the perceptions the visitors and the potential visitors have of the place and the products shall assist the community in planning the tourism products.

Survey shall be done by a team of students from the NavaNalanda Mahavihar. Team shall be oriented on the process of conducting survey.

Domestic and international visitors at Bodh Gaya, Rajgir and Pawapuri shall be interviewed. A total of 300 tourists shall be interviewed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Participatory Rural Appraisal — Breaking the ICE

PRA stands for Participatory Rural Appraisal and it means to participatively understanding a village. According to the terms the PRA represent group of approaches and methods that will encourage the community in actively participate in raising and analysing their knowledge of their life conditions in order to create the correct action plan. Here the external agencies acts as a facilitator and their primary function is to encourage, assist the community to carry out their own analysis, come to their own conclusion and design their own developmental programmes. In the present context PRA is being done to facilitate community participation in Tourism in and around the remains of ancient Nalanda University.

There are three types of PRA
1- Exploratory—Tools and Technique used to diagnose the current situation
2- Topical—application of PRA to some specific area of concern
3- Problem solving--- Diagnosis of problems and suggestions of solutions with participation of the community

Scope & objectives

The study and exercise shall be done in the villages around the remains of ancient Nalanda University. PRA tools shall be used to assess the community tourism needs so that specific interventions could be sought. Its purpose is to enable community to acquire sufficient creative and transforming leverage.
The exercise will create a platform for learning, the process is expected to enhance,
1- Identification of felt needs of the community
2- Bringing forth consensus
3- Integration of local knowledge into the project design
4- Community institutions who shall manage sustainable enterprise

Secondary sources
1. Census report for demographic details
2. Cadastral maps, aerial photographs and satellite images
3. Land records from district land record department

Target groups
1- Youth
2- Women
3- Elderly men
Composition of team

Professional experts in PRA and students from NavaNalanda Mahavihar, who are willing to work with the community, shall form the team that will conduct the exercise.

Composition of team

Professional experts in PRA and students from NavaNalanda Mahavihar, who are willing to work with the community, shall form the team that will conduct the exercise.

Baseline Database

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Other Research project- Mapping of Nalanda

For lack of extensive exploration and excavation the entire rich heritage of this place is still a riddle for the rest of the world. Most of the literatures available to the tourists visiting Nalanda are just an estimate and supposition.

Exploration and excavation work in the area has taken place in parts without any continuity or link. No efforts have ever been made to obtain a bird’s eye view of events, sites and its significance.

Most of the exploration work was carried out by Cunningham and Broadlay and the excavation work followed those findings. The identification of important places associated with Lord Buddha and the ancient University could not be completed then for various reasons like,

1- limitation of scientific tools available at that time

2- Habitation (not very supportive) at the sites

3- High migration and repopulation of various sites, old names got corrupted. Hence leading to various interpretations.

Mapping of Nalanda is important in the present context because the work initiated by Cunningham and Broadlay is still half way. Identification of places associated with Sariputta, Mogllayan and Mahakashayapa are must, for Nalanda is also important to the world because it has given these important pillars of Buddhism. Interpretation of Ancient Nalanda University is incomplete without knowing its Gate, Library and its extension. What we have now is just 10 % of what has been mentioned.

The Mapping project is initiated to complete the unfinished task. This vicinity is full of Mounds and remains, all such places are under threat, and lots of damage has already been done by habitation, by removing earth and bricks. If nothing is done now for its preservation we will loose a part of heritage which was preserved for last many centuries. This project is also necessary because there is need to look beyond the popular sites around Nalanda. Most of the past studies have been concentrated around sites discussed by Cunningham and Broadlay. There are many site which are still not discussed or explored , all such sites in the radius of 16 km are important till all important discoveries are done. Many villages in the radius of 16Km have small or big mounds, scattered stone images and pottery. We are losing all such evidences very fast, this project shall help in documenting the present state of all such sites and shall take measures to protect and preserve such sites. The project will end with publications fulfilling objectives of the project.


1- Discovering the places of significance shall make the interpretation more authentic

2- This will enrich the visitors experience and tourists will have more places to visit

3- A complete chronology of events, development of art and culture in and around Nalanda shall be established

4- A complete picture of art and culture of this area through periods could be documented. This will further help in establishing and promoting Nalanda Art through pottery and stone work.

5- Development of conjectural images of ancient sites through various periods.

Monday, November 16, 2009

NNSG- Available infrastructure & Facilities

A List of available infrastructure and resources available for community's help...

1- Facilities at NNSG

Open air theatre-- Sangayan

Artisan Haat

Artisan Stay and workshop-- shilpgram

2- Departments & Faculties of NNM

Ancient History

Language of Pali

Department of Tibetan Studies

Buddhist Philosophy

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Participatory Approach

Participation of the key stakeholders in all stages of the project is essential for achieving long-term objectives of the project. The primary aim of the participative strategies is to make local people become active subjects of development efforts rather than be passive recipients. More specifically, the concept is related to the active involvement of the local people in the choice, execution, and the evaluation of the projects and programmes designed to raise their living standards.
The use of Participatory approaches ensures that interventions are better targeted; they are more appropriate to people’s need, and can be more effective, efficient and have better impacts. This allows the community to identify opportunities as well as problems, making use of local knowledge and skills to mobilize local resources and support. Involving the community in all stages of the project activities makes the community more committed, responsible and eventually generates sense of ownership for the concept.

Overall Participatory Approach of the project

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Objective of the NNSG Project

Since the mid 80’s, interest in community tourism has grown rapidly among the policy makers, practitioners and advocates. This focuses on the need to ensure that tourism does not erode the environmental and cultural base on which it thrives. Community based tourism provides an opportunity for decentralizing the provisions of services from tourism, as well as generating income and avenues for rural development through local employment.
While tourism represents an important development opportunity for communities, it can also have negative impacts like harming social-cultural authenticity of host communities and threatening the fragile heritage. Wise planning and management of tourism development is the key to keeping it a force for good. In the present context the NNSG plans to conduct a detailed Participatory Rural Appraisal. PRA shall be the basis of the future participation and hence the conceptualization of sustainable livelihood from tourism.


I. Institution (government)–Community Collaboration- To conceptualize a collaboration between the community based institutions and the Nava Nalanda Sanskritik Gram
II. Showcasing Art, craft, and culture of Nalanda- Identification, Development and Promotion of tangible and intangible heritage of Nalanda.
III. Community Benefiting from tourism- Conceptualizing community based institutions around sustainable tourism products
IV. Enriching the experience of visitors- Opportunities for exchange of knowledge and culture between tourists and the community

Friday, November 13, 2009

Engaged Buddhism

NavaNalanda Mahavihar was founded to promote and preserve Buddhist literature, with more emphasis on the Pali literature, the very language in which the Lord Buddha preached. Since its inception, NNM is actively involved in promoting the philosophy of
Pariyatti – Learning --The theoretical understanding
Patipatti- Understanding--The experiential understanding
Pativeda- The practice—Experiencing the result

NNSG is the Paripatti arm and a platform for Pativeda of NNM, the Place for Pariyatti.

NNSG plans to conceptualize and develop,

1- An institutional setup for participation and capacity building of the stakeholders for community based tourism
2- The identification, development, testing and standardization of Community based tourism products
3- Modules for awareness generation among the community on preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Nalanda.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Tourism industry in the Buddhist circuit is expanding rapidly and is in a very strong position to benefit the local communities, socially and economically, and to raise awareness and support for the conservation of the tangible and intangible heritage that Nalanda is bequeathed with.
Ancient ruins of Nalanda are spread in more than 200 acres of land and most of this lies outside the protected zone. There are more than 3000 households and 20,000 people living on the unexcavated Mound of ancient Nalanda University. Apart from remains of ancient Nalanda University there are many villages in the vicinity where one can find ancient remains. These scattered heritages are the basis of the present tourism and are the potential destinations were tourism could be explored eventually. The role of the community is very crucial for long term conservation of this heritage. In order to develop community based tourism products that the community considers most suitable, we need to give the community the opportunity to discuss and analyse opportunities and constraints.

Inspite of increased flow of the Visitors some issues are very apparent and needs attention,

• Length of the average stay of tourists is still about 1 hour at Nalanda Ruins and about a half day at Rajgir.
• Lack of standard and authentic interpretation material and tools
• Facilities for visitors
• Community interaction with the tourism is very limited and is stagnant for many years
• Community ownership for the place is not visible in the ambience

The present setup of tourism in and around Nalanda has very little for the community to participate directly and benefit from it. “NavaNalanda Sanskritik Gram” is conceived to promote the grassroots philosophy of maximum people’s participation, sustainability and its role as a facilitator whereby local people are involved in all aspects of conservation and developmental processes both as principal actors and prime beneficiaries from the growing tourism sector. This community based tourism initiative has been conceived to promote and preserve of rich cultural heritage of Nalanda. This heritage is the foundation of vibrant tourism and can provide sustainable livelihoods to the community.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making of the 'Master Plan'

The process of getting the community together on one platform so that they get an opportunity to voice their concerns, iron out their differences and come up with a plan that is acceptable to all and is for the betterment of the society is very tedious. It is more than just an informal talk and in fact it needs a lot of tact when it comes to providing opportunities to the weaker section of society.

These series of posts would be an effort to share with you the steps and some of the hoops that we had to tread across while developing the ‘Master Plan’ of Nalanda.

1- Nava Nalanda Sanskritik Gram tourism project

• Background
• Engaged Buddhism
• Aims and Objectives
• Broad objectives of the project
• Participatory approach
• Available infrastructure
• Other research project by NavaNalanda Mahavihar- Mapping of Nalanda

2- PRA (Participatory Rural Approach) -Breaking the ICE

• Visitor’s Survey
• Data analysis
• Community action planning-Flowchart
• Baseline database
• Problem and situation analysis
• Visioning
• Logical framework analysis
• Risk analysis
• Project implementation
• Reporting and participatory evaluation

3- Time line for the activities for 2009-10