We work closely with many small local businesses and families who rely on grass-roots tourism – something we feel increasingly important as the tourism industry continues to grow and consolidate with many travel companies and agencies becoming large corporations focused on the bottom line rather than on encouraging small enterprises on the ground.
Here’s just one example of a local business we’ve been involved with for many years:
When I first met Sanju Solanki, he was an enthusiastic and very talented miniature artist based in a small studio in the basement of a guest house in the old city of Udaipur. He and a group of his fellow artists had founded a co-op whereby they shared the studio space and had a single outlet to showcase their beautiful works of art.
Over the years, I have always included a visit with Sanju (in fact he accompanies our groups on a walk around the old city – through the winding narrow laneways he grew up in) where he gives us a short demo on how a miniature painting is created.
18-19 years ago, Sanju had two small daughters and a beautiful wife – Janak. Over the years, I’ve attended many family occasions including weddings and anniversary parties and seen Sanjus daughters grow into beautiful young ladies and I’m blessed to be considered a good family friend.
Over time, with success and income gained by small groups like ours visiting Sanju’s studio – Sanju was able to purchase a small plot of land in the heart of the old city and build a guest house – named after his wife – Janak Niwas.
He also built a large art studio in the guest house. The leap from his small studio to owning and running a successful guest house and art studio has enabled his family to grow and prosper. While the family home has been expanded and renovated, Sanju’s daughters now are all grown up and attend university.