Long heralded as the custodians of Indian heritage, the history of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), India’s largest hospitality company, is tightly woven into the fabric of India’s rich culture. Led by the values of Paathya – IHCL’s ESG+ framework – one of IHCL’s key focus areas is preserving and promoting India’s intangible cultural heritage. With this objective, IHCL has collaborated with UNESCO to offer experiential tours for travellers at various IHCL hotels including Taj Bengal, Kolkata.
With UNESCO including Durga Puja on the list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, guests at Taj Bengal can experience traditional Durga Puja celebrations with all the pomp and fervor that is part of the festivities. Specially curated itineraries offer in-house guests an opportunity to experience the celebrations at Bonedi Bari, an ancestral home in North Kolkata, where Durga Puja hasbeen celebrated uninterrupted since 1757, and visits to the ancestral houses of important Bengali families of the 18thand 19thcentury, who have been crucial to the history of Bengal. Guests can also indulge in an authentic Bengali thali at Sonargaon at Taj Bengal, and go pandal hopping across the city and enjoy the Sandhya Aarti at sundown, accompanied by thetraditional Dhunuchi Dance.
IHCL’s collaboration with UNESCO will also allow guests to experience Patachitra – an ancient folk tradition of painting on handmade paper scrolls at Pingla, a unique village of artists close to Kolkata. Guests can learn howthe paper canvas and vegetable pigment colours, used to create visual devices for narrating stories and songs, are made by the artisans themselves. Guests can view the paintings that take the form of murals around village walls depicting mythology, folktales and current events and can also carry some unique art pieces back with them as a souvenir.
Speaking about these unique experiences in collaboration with UNESCO, Mr.Arnab Chatterjee, Hotel Manager, Taj Bengal, Kolkata, stated, “The City of Joy is globally renownedfor its unfettered passion for its culture, literature, cuisine, art and most importantly, Durga Puja.As part of IHCL’s Paathya initiatives, we are delighted to collaborate with UNESCO to conserve and retain the traditional heritage and indigenous crafts of theregion, and offer guests an opportunity to experience our centuries-old cultural legacy.”
For more details about IHCL’s collaboration with UNESCO under Paathya, which will see the adoption of 100% ofIntangible Cultural Heritage (IHC) projects in the geographies the company operates in, please visit here.
Derived from the Sanskrit term पथ्य, inferring a path, Paathyaaims tolead positive change guided by IHCL’s core values of Trustof all stakeholders, Awarenessaround the needs of our ecosystem and Joy at heart.
Under Paathya, IHCL will continue to pioneer sustainable practices in its pursuit towards excellence and creating benchmark in the tourism industry.