“Meaning Making and Identity Transmission through Myths, Legends and Folk tales: The Case of Cultural Tourism in Meghalaya”

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Ms. Sabrina Lyngdoh


Tourism based on myths, legends and folk tales which is regarded as a subset of Cultural tourism has received less attention as compared to cultural events based on documented history. Journeying to places based on their literary association is highly researched; this paper however, explores the relationship between tourism and myths, legends and folk tales. It seeks to explore the link between myths, legends and folk tales of the Hynñiew Treps/Khasis, a tribal/indigenous community of Meghalaya in North-East India and tourism. This present piece of research aims to study the extent to which myths, legends and folk tales are considered by the Hynñiew Treps of Meghalaya to contribute to meaning making and identity transmission to tourists visiting the place. The Hynñiew Treps of Meghalaya are a story telling people and have a strong oral tradition and practices. The study was based on an in-depth interview method to a sample of local stakeholders comprising village and provincial heads, members of village council, tourism practitioners, and members of cultural organizations, state government officials from tourism and culture department. The results showed 50% participants are only moderately aware about myths, legends and folk tales, although at the same time they tend to assign a market value to this type of oral tradition which is associated with cultural tourism. It is then suggested that the valuing of oral traditions such as myths, legends and folk tales as a tourist resource should therefore be re-assessed to allow local people, to integrate this form of popular cultural expression as their own rather than being for others (visitors). This in turn leads us to the need to rethink current culture development dynamics.

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