June 14, 2024

UNESCO and Royal Enfield Kick-off the Second Chapter of The Great Himalayan Exploration

Aji Lhamu – Monpa theatrical dance

New Delhi (India), October 12: Following the success of the inaugural edition of The Great Himalayan Exploration last year, UNESCO and Royal Enfield have announced the Second Chapter of this unique initiative. UNESCO x Royal Enfield: The Great Himalayan Exploration seeks to document and safeguard the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Himalayas and thereby, raise awareness about the living treasures that make up the beating heart of India. 

Last year, more than 25 rider-researchers embarked on a journey documenting 21 practices in parts of Meghalaya, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The second chapter of the Great Himalayan Exploration was unveiled in New Delhi today with ‘Journeying Across the Himalayas II’ – a curated exhibition at Bikaner House showcasing the 21 documented practices.

The Second Chapter kicked off at UNESCO House, New Delhi with a session on Understanding Intangible Cultural Heritage and Climate Change with Tim Curtis, the recently-appointed Director and Representative of UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The presentation was followed by a series of capacity-building workshops for the rider-researchers and stakeholders from the development sector, industry experts, and climate and fashion enthusiasts, among others. Sessions throughout the day included immersion into the culinary heritage of the Northeast and a thought-provoking conversation on the need for responsible travel, among others. One of the highlights was a session on ethically documenting the Intangible Cultural Heritage of communities conducted by actor Adil Hussain and Rita Banerji, documentary filmmaker and Project Director, of Green Hub. The day’s programme closed with the coming together of eminent lifestyle journalist Bandana Tewari, designers Sonam Dubal, Peter D’Ascoli, Rina Singh, Sushant Abrol and others as they explored sustainable textile practices of the Himalayas.

The opening of the exhibition ‘Journeying Across the Himalayas II’ at Bikaner House showcased the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Eastern Himalayan region that had been documented last year and also involved an engaging experience of the culinary heritage inspired by the ingredients of the North-East with chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar and mixologist Yangdup Lama. The evening also featured an immersion into the musical traditions of the North East with performances by Taba Chake and Blues legend Tipriti ‘Tips’ Kharbangar. Following the opening of ‘Journeying Across the Himalayas II’, the exhibition will remain open to the public from Sunday, October 8 to the afternoon of Wednesday, October 11.

“As the world struggles to adapt to the effects of climate change which include, among others, outmigration and forced displacement that threaten cultural identities, concerted efforts to safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage become ever more urgent. At the same time, the traditional knowledge and practices accumulated by communities across generations can lead to important solutions in mitigating the effects of climate change on human society and the natural world. In a country as geographically vast and culturally diverse as India, this partnership between UNESCO and Royal Enfield aims to raise awareness and mobilise the larger community to safeguard living heritage in general. This partnership compliments the goals of UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for The Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and comes in a timely manner as the Convention celebrates its 20th anniversary this year,” said Tim Curtis, Director and Representative of UNESCO New Delhi Regional Office for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

This unique partnership between UNESCO and Royal Enfield also sits at the heart of Royal Enfield’s social mission in the Himalayas, which is to partner with 100 communities to build resilience and initiate a movement of riders and travellers towards the adoption of responsible travel practices.

“This partnership with UNESCO allows us to deepen our relationship with the Himalayas and its communities, which have inspired Royal Enfield for decades. Through the process of engaging with the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the region, we have learnt that sustainable living is at the heart of most of these practices. The Great Himalayan Exploration is a unique opportunity for riders and travellers to combine purpose with their passion for exploration,” said Bidisha Dey, Executive Director, Eicher Group Foundation – the CSR and Sustainability arm of Royal Enfield. 

60 motorcyclists have been selected from a pool of over 600 registrations to embark on the second leg of The Great Himalayan Exploration as rider-researchers for UNESCO and Royal Enfield. Over the course of the next six months, these carefully selected rider-researchers will venture out on a series of consecutive rides to remote Himalayan communities in small batches, where they will document more than 50 Intangible Cultural Heritage practices. 

The UNESCO x Royal Enfield: The Great Himalayan Exploration and ‘Journeying Across the Himalayas II’ shines a light on intangible cultural heritage, bringing together institutions, individuals and communities to collectively value and safeguard the living heritage of the Himalayan ecosystem. 

About UNESCO – Intangible Cultural Heritage

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, dedicated to building peace through international cooperation in Education, Sciences, and Culture. UNESCO’s programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030. UNESCO established its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. This list is published by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the members of which are elected by State Parties meeting in a General Assembly. Through a compendium of the different oral and intangible treasures of humankind worldwide, the programme aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage, which UNESCO has identified as an essential component and as a repository of cultural diversity and of creative expression.

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About Royal Enfield

The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield has created beautifully crafted motorcycles since 1901. From its British roots, a manufacturing plant was established in Madras in 1955, a foothold from which Royal Enfield spearheaded the growth of India’s mid-sized two-wheeler segment. Royal Enfields are engaging, uncomplicated, accessible, and fun to ride; a vehicle for exploration and self-expression. It’s an approach the brand calls Pure Motorcycling.

Royal Enfield’s premium line-up includes the stylish Hunter 350, the timeless Classic 350, the Meteor 350 cruiser, the 650 parallel twin motorcycles – New Super Meteor 650, Interceptor 650 and Continental GT 650.  The adventure motorcycles – Himalayan adventure tourer and the Scram 411 ADV Crossover, and the iconic Bullet 350. Riders and a passionate community are fostered with a rich profusion of events at a local, regional and international level. Most notable are Rider Mania, an annual gathering of thousands of Royal Enfield enthusiasts in Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, a yearly pilgrimage over some of the toughest terrain and highest mountain passes.

A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield operates through more than 2050 stores across all major cities and towns in India and through nearly 1150+ touchpoints in more than 60 countries around the globe. Royal Enfield also has two world-class technical centres, in Bruntingthorpe, UK, and in Chennai, India. The company’s two state-of-the-art production facilities are located at Oragadam and Vallam Vadagal, near Chennai.  Across the world, Royal Enfield has five modern CKD assembly facilities in Nepal, Brazil, Thailand, Argentina and Colombia. With more than 35% CAGR for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is the leader in the global mid-size motorcycle market.

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