At NotOnMap, we’re always on the lookout for like-minded travelers and explorers who resonate with the thought process that we follow. We invite individuals to travel with an impact, to become part of a journey that is strong enough to alter multiple lives in remote communities of rural India. We reached out to the Women's International Motorcycle Association (WIMA) chapter in India when we came across the causes they stand for.
WIMA India is the 24th chapter of the WIMA Global. The association was established in the 1950s in the USA and has grown into a worldwide association of women and motorcycles. WIMA India was established in June 2017 to create a strong platform for Indian women who ride to connect and engage. The president of the Indian Chapter, Mrs. Anita Krishnan, was more than happy to share our passion and endeavor with her team. Six strong and passionate women, all hailing from different age groups and backgrounds, rode from cities across the country to join us in Chamba, Himachal Pradesh to share a first-hand experience with the local community and NotOnMap.
The group of women had diverse experiential backgrounds and were all set to bring about a change wherever they rode to. Anita Krishnan, the president of WIMA India is a motorcycle tour guide and works with two wheeled expeditions professionally. Riya Yadav holds a world record of being the youngest woman (age 19) to ride to Khardungla. Kanupriya is a special educator based in Delhi. Taruna Singh is over 50 years old and is a successful football coach and adventure sports leader. Moushmi Kapadia is a Mumbai-based photographer, fitness enthusiast, and a mother of two. Lastly, Aanchal Sarah is a graphic designer based out of Dehradun.
All these women hailing from different lifestyles have together excelled in imbibing their passion - bike riding into their personal and professional lives effortlessly.
The WIMA riders visited Chamba from 11th March to 15th March 2021. They were greeted by our hosts at H20 house, Mr. Manuj Sharma. He is a co-founder of NotOnMap and a former cricketer who represented the state. He is a reputed development practitioner active for over two decades. He discussed at length how his heart lies with the community and had a discussion with the women on empowering people, especially youth by providing them sustainable livelihoods leveraging environmental and cultural resources.
The riders also met the local residents and SDM IAS Shivam Pratap Singh at the Bhuri Singh Museum to officially inaugurate the Chalo Chamba Program. They also met D.C Rana & Session Judge- Rajesh Tomar to talk about Chalo Chamba and how one can create an impact while traveling.
In a session with the youth at the government college of Chamba, our riders had a comprehensive discussion on building on one’s passion and traveling with an impact.
They also took out time to empower the local women of Chaminoo Village where they discussed the generation of alternative livelihoods and scopes of income. They also met local artisans like the women community who make the world-famous Chamba Rumal and empower their knowledge.
A heritage walk down Chamba’s streets introduced them to the regional handicrafts, interaction with the locals, and stories on the local legends and tales. The local cuisine- Chamyali Dham left their mouth watering for more. The heritage walk became a session where they were learning from the locals. They understood how we are responsible for every place that we live in and how sustainable tourism is the way to go.
The next phase of this ride also explored a hidden village past the scenic routes of Khajjiar- NotOnMap’s Mystic village. The women, along with our local team, rode to Bhaloli where they involved the locals with similar socio-cultural and economic discursive sessions to leave an impact in the community with their combined experiences.
The village gave them the chance to closely experience the culture of Chamba. Be it eating their meals at a local’s home or exploring small roads that lead the scenic views of the mountains, the WIMA riders thoroughly enjoyed the ‘live like local’ experience.
This entourage was less about tourism and more about exchanging cultures & learnings between different communities. While the locals got a chance to understand and involve themselves in multiple new opportunities, the women riders found a way to travel with an impact. This experience was a wholesome exchange of intellect and experiences that pushed towards the growth of knowledge and perspective.
We are happy to have hosted these women, who rode beyond cityscapes to a remote district and altered multiple lifestyles. We look forward to engaging other such groups with rural and rustic experiences and bringing a change to Rural India!