Seven new tourist circuits will be developed across the country to facilitate travel to and stay at religious places. Work has already begun to prepare detailed project reports for Sufi,Buddhist & Jain,Christian,Sikh,Hinduism and Sarva Dharma circuits.
The Sufi circuit will include Delhi,Agra,Fatehpur Sikri,Bijapur,Shirdi,Aurangabad,and the Awadh region,besides the dargahs in J&K,Punjab,Haryana and Uttarkahnad. The Christian circuit will have the churches of Goa,Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Sarv Dharma Circuit,to promote national integration,will be aligned along Tirupathi-Chennai-Velankanni-Nagoor and Vaishnodevi – Golden Temple-Sacred Heart Church (Delhi)-Nizamuddin.
India is home to a number of religions and there is a huge scope in terms of boosting tourism to religious places. Our aim is to facilitate a packaged tour like experience to tourists complete with stay and entertainment options. We have already engaged consultants to work on these circuits and hope to engage state governments in the project, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said.
Sahays ministry has already held a round of discussions on the Sufi circuit with industry stakeholders and some Sufi exponents,sources confirmed.
The ministry wants projects under this scheme to follow a comprehensive approach incorporating all facilities required by a tourist.
The Ministry of Tourism has already identified 35 destinations for Phase I and will cover another 89 in Phase II. Consultants engaged by the ministry will help identify gaps in infrastructure and amenities,assess investment requirement and possible source of funds and also evolve business models for investment and operations.
The ministry also proposes to bear the cost of preparation of a detailed project report by state governments as well as the cost of setting up project monitoring units for undertaking all activities related to a particular circuit. The ministry has proposed a required outlay plan of
Rs 9,450 crore for the 12th Plan and hopes to draw in private investment close to Rs 28,000 crore for such projects.