Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthplace Vadnagar and a visit to the railway station where he used to sell tea as a boy are now part of a tour package started by Gujarat Government’s tourism agency. Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL), through its official partner, is offering a day-long tour, costing Rs 600 per head, to Vadnagar in Mehsana district and the local railway station where the PM used to sell tea as a boy at a stall owned by his father, among other spots.
The package, ‘A Rise From Modi’s Village’, is being offered by city-based Akshar Travels Pvt Ltd, a TCGL partner, and has reportedly become a huge hit among tourists since its launch. State-run TCGL is promoting the tour on its website. According to the tour operator, the package has been receiving “very good” response since it was first introduced during Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January this year.
Among other destinations and attractions on their way to Vadnagar from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, the itinerary includes a visit to Modi’s ancestral house in Vadnagar, where he was born. The travellers are then taken to a primary school – Vadnagar Prathmik Kumar Shala – where 64-year-old Modi’s academic journey started, according to TCGL website.
They also get a chance to see the Vadnagar-based high school where he performed various roles in dramas, it said. “For those wanting to know more about Modiji, we have arranged meetings with his school classmates, who provide unheard tales about Modiji when he was a student. We then take tourists to the Hatkeshwar Temple, where our PM used to play drums during prayers,” said Tour Manager of Akshar Travels Pankaj Chaudhari.
The website described the Vadnagar railway station as “the most unforgettable place” in context of the Prime Minister’s humble background and his rise to the top. Other attractions include Buddhist archaeological sites in Vadnagar and a visit to Sharmistha Lake, “where Modi’s childhood began with an adventure of catching a crocodile” said the itinerary.
According to Chaudhari, people from all over India are showing “immense interest” to become part of this special tour. “We have kept a 56-seater bus for this tour, which takes place once every week. But, many a time we have to keep two such buses, as people are showing immense interest in this tour. People from other states are more interested in knowing about Modiji, especially after he became our PM,” said Chaudhari.
According to TCGL officials, this special package has given a new lease of life to Vadanagar, which houses places of historical importance. “Vadnagar was always known as a historical place, mainly due to its ancient Buddhist caves and monuments built by Solanki rulers in the 10th Century. Now, Vadnagar is gaining popularity as the birthplace of our PM. This idea of a special tour package has given a new lease of life to the town,” said PRO of TCGL Khyati Nayak.
The package was devised by the private tour operator, who then received support from the Tourism Department, she said.