A grand plan to reassert the Hindu roots of the Northeast states is afoot as the government is preparing to map a new Hindu pilgrimage circuit by linking ancient temples and other places in the region that are mentioned in mythology.
According to the plan, the temples in the Northeast related to the mythology of Krishna will be linked with the established pilgrimage circuit in Mathura, Vrindavan and Gujarat. The Vaishnav tradition of Manipur, Shaiva tradition of Tripura and the three Shakti peeths — Kamakhya in Assam, Jayanti in Meghalaya and Tripura Sundari in Tripura — will also be linked with the overall pilgrimage circuit.
Sources said the Shiva temple at Umananda, the world’s smallest river island in Assam, would also be showcased. According to mythology, Krishna’s consort Rukmini was from a local tribe in Arunachal Pradesh. The state’s pilgrimage site of Parasuram Kund and its old tribes which worship Krishna are also expected to find a place in the new circuit.
Following instructions from the PMO, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma is set to visit the Northeast for 15 days over the next three months. According to sources, he has been instructed to spend at least 48 hours at each stop.
“I will be going to all the Northeast states. There is huge potential for pilgrimage tourism which needs to be explored and brought to the fore,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
The BJP-led government, which has earmarked Rs 500 crore for its newly-launched National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation and the creation of new circuits, reportedly wants to showcase the Northeast link when it completes one year in office in May.