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Provide Budgetary Booster Dose To Rural Religious Tourism

Indu Patial (The writer is based at Kullu)

Indu PatialHimachal Pradesh came into existence with the merger of many small principalities. The riyasat time traditions are still celebrated in symbolic form in Kullu Dussehra, Mandi Shivratri and Minjar Fair of Chamba. Some fair or dev tradition like Fagli, Kahika, Deoli, jhiru etc have taken the shape of mega fairs in all districts. These ancient traditions associated with rural parts create curiosity and attracts the attention of tourists. A little impetus to these ancient traditions can provide boost to rural tourism.

Ever traditions associated with local deities can be developed in the form of rural religious tourism to promote of our rich cultural heritage. However Arts, Language and Culture Department will have to work in collaboration with the Archaeological Department. The Centre provides huge grants to state for eco-tourism projects. This amount should be spent on creating basic infrastructure in villages in a planned manner. We have failed to move beyond Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie or Lahaul-Spiti.

There are plenty of beautiful places in Himachal like Tirthan Valley, Jalori and Sojha in Banjar, Jhanjheli valley, Pangi-Bharmour in Chamba and Kinnaur district that can be developed as attractive tourist spots. Thousands of tourists throng Himachal for mountaineering because of efforts put in by local youth in the sphere of adventure tourism. But no one from government tries to implement announcement of expansion of view points, ropeways or airport strip. Surprisingly, Vice-Chairman of Tourism Development Corporation Vijai Singh Mankotia had got approved various tourism projects sanctioned for the state from Centre government after working on minute details of the project. These projects could have opened new vistas of employment for unemployed youth. In fact Mankotia expressed his displeasure to officers in the review meeting held recently.

The state after its inception has made a big leap in the field of education and development, but it failed to gather same momentum in case of rural tourism and rural healthcare. It is not that the state lacks f funds. In fact the funds granted by the Centre to state in this sphere get lapsed every year. The development in this field is suffering because of politicians internal bickering. However every Himachali will have to play the role of a brand ambassador for preservation and enrichment of Himachali culture and traditions. It is expected from the state government in upcoming budget that it will give special preference to provide some impetus to the tourism development.

March 4th, 2017


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