Car Festivals (Religious Yatras) in India : A Dimension of Leisure Tourism (A Case Of ‘Nanda Devi Raj- Jat Yatra' In Uttarakhand, India)

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:15 PM
Room: F206
Oral Presentation
Ajay KUMAR , Kumaun University, India
This paper is about the car festivals (Religious Yatras) organized in different part of India and their impact on the quality of life of its participants. This paper is analyzing how these car festivals provide leisure to its participants which further improve quality of their life through mental well- being. Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra (Orissa, India), Maysor Rath Mahotsav Yatra, Maysor (Karnataka, India), and Nanda Devi Raj-Jat Yatra (Uttarakhand, India) etc. are some of the famous religious car festivals in India. Thousands of people participate in these religious car festivals to get relaxed from day to day stress.  Nanda Devi Raj- Jat Yatra is one of the most celebrated car festivals of Uttarakhand in India, taking place once in every 12 years during August- September for 19 days. A trek of 280 km remains jam-packed with the experience of nature, flora and fauna, fabulous culture and let one have a glimpse of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. Last car festival was taken place in the year 2000 and more than 50,000 people had been found taking this car festival.

Well established indicators of quality of life are used to explain the results in this study. Simple statistical and participatory tools are used to analyze the information and data gathered from different primary and secondary sources. Case studies are also used to explain the experiences of the participants of the car festivals.

Findings of the study reveal that leisure tourism enhances quality of life by increasing feelings of competency and relaxation, distracting from difficulties, as well as enhancing social inclusiveness and support. Leisure tourism also results in improved mental wellbeing through associated meaningful engagement, self-expression and creativity.  Participation in it is considered as a life time experience. This experience not only provides leisure during the event but also provide happiness in memories.