In September, 2022, Royal Enfield and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced a new and unique partnership. The Himalayas are an extremely special place to Royal Enfield, and are what the company’s managing director, Siddhartha Lal, considers to be the company’s spiritual home.
Although UNESCO’s World Heritage Site declarations are well-known, what’s perhaps less well-known is the organization’s efforts to document Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). That’s exactly where this partnership with Royal Enfield comes into play. Together, they plan to identify, document, preserve, and promote ICH from communities across India—beginning in the Himalayas.
The journey is an ongoing one, and began with a small team of over 20 rider-researchers. They rode first to Pattachitra Gram (Village of the Scroll Painters) in Pingla Block, Paschim Medinipur. From there, the plan involved riders splitting into groups to head to Meghalaya, Assam, and Ziro in Arunachal Pradesh.
There, the riders would experience and document “specific Intangible Cultural Heritage practices that have been identified by a research team in collaboration with UNESCO.” Since there’s so much to explore, this is clearly a massive undertaking—which is why the plan also involves additional research-based rides to document ICH in the region in the coming months.
That’s why Enfield is inviting riders in India to sign up and join one of the upcoming rides. The QR code at the end of this video takes you to a signup form where you can input your contact information so that Enfield can contact you about its screening process for riders. “Participate today and get a chance to work from the mountains, for the mountains,” it says.
“With this project, we invite you to ride along and experience the culturally charged atmosphere of pristine lands as we navigate our way around their wealth of ICH practices. The collaborative effort aims to be a platform for the Himalayan communities to tell their own stories and create an alternative repository for their living and intangible legacies—some of which may soon be lost in the face of modernity,” Enfield writes.
It’s an intriguing and unique opportunity, for sure—and documenting the rich cultural heritage of the region is the sort of undertaking that will live on for generations. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a project like that? If you’re interested, we’ll include the link to Enfield’s signup page in our Sources.