It was a momentous day for 41 tribals near Coimbatore’s Isha Yoga Center as they went for their first-ever plane ride from Coimbatore to Chennai on July 20. Supported by Isha Outreach, the tribals from the villages of Madakadu, Mullankadu, Pattiyar Koil Pathiand Dhanikandi, became the first generation to fly in a plane.
It’s the big day! A dream come true! Set, packed and ready to go! 41 tribal entrepreneurs, with the support of #IshaOutreach, on the way to the airport for their first ever flight to Chennai. Congrats to these first generation fliers!🛫 #KovaiTribalsFirstFlight #TribalsFlyHigh pic.twitter.com/u6zS5NdQBt— Isha Outreach (@Outreach_Isha) July 20, 2022
The tribal people from the villages of Madakadu, Mullankadu, Pattiyar Koll Pathi, and Dhanikandi were assisted by Isha Outreach in becoming the first generation to fly in an airplane. As this was the first flight in the tribe’s history, Indigo Airlines gave this group special treatment. At the Coimbatore Airport, the tribals were welcomed with a huge banner congratulating them on their first flight. The group was complimented at the airport by the IndiGo staff, with a special welcome announcement in Tamil onboard the flight operated by Captain Pradeep Balasubramanian. A special treat of snacks and beverages was served to the first-time fliers.
Today we had the privilege to fly 41 tribal entrepreneurs from Coimbatore to Chennai and are proud to have partnered with @ishafoundation to fulfil such meaningful community revitalisation efforts together.#LetsIndiGo #Aviation #Proud pic.twitter.com/tc76FZpj47— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) July 20, 2022
It’s noteworthy that all of these tribal members are originally forest dwellers who are now entrepreneurs. When the Adiyogi was launched in 2017, it had a profound impact on their lives. The need for shopping, food, and drink was rapidly identified due to the increase in tourists, and the tribals rose to the challenge.
With the backing and support from Isha Outreach and the diligent hand-holding by Isha monks and volunteers, they were soon adept in all aspects of running stalls, shops, supplies, and logistics. The initial burst of visitors to Adiyogi brought the tribal entrepreneurs economic self-sufficiency.
The Adiyogi statue is a Shiva with Thirunamam steel sculpture that is 34 meters high, 45 meters long, and 25 meters wide in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. The Guinness Book of World Records lists it as the “Largest Bust Sculpture” ever constructed. The initial influx of tourists to Adiyogi enabled the indigenous business owners to become economically self-sufficient.
“This is only the beginning,” says Surya Kumar of Dhanikandi village, one of the tribals. “Adiyogi will attract more and more tourists with every passing year. Next year, there will be 100 villagers who will get onto an airplane. It’s on everybody’s wishlist.” With backing from Isha Outreach and the guidance of Isha monks and volunteers, they were soon trained in all aspects of running stalls, shops, supplies, and logistics.