Project Kalayatra is barely months old, kick-started in the month of March 2016 it’s an endeavour by solo traveller turned social entrepreneur Lekshmi Gopinathan. Supported by a team of enthusiastic and ably talented volunteers, it’s an attempt, a crusade to help and protect endangered art forms in various parts of the country. Twenty nine year old Lekshmi quit her full time role as the Head of Communications of an e-commerce website and set out to travel the length and breadth of the country, unravelling artisan communities, interacting with them and making art tours, on the go.
Project Kalayatra was formed out of a purpose for Lekshmi’s wandering, an avid traveller, she knew that the life of a nomad called out to her. Yet, her travels needed a purpose and she found them on the streets of Varanasi, talking to a weaver, one fine day. There has been no looking back and Kalayatra has travelled to Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Nepal and Uttarakhand searching for artisan communities. Kerala is her next month long project.
Explore the Gavri Dance of Bhil Men, the sensual Kalbelia of the gypsies, learn puppeteering in Jaipur, make some patch quilts in Barmer, visit the legendary and fictional ghost town of Kuldhara, live in the desert with the camels, paint in Pushkar, sing in Jaisalmer, weave with the Gurungs in Nepal, pray with the monks in Mcleodganj, explore a writer’s muse in Mussorie or trek in the mountains to meet the artists, this is the world of Kalayatra, a small step at changing lives, one at a time.