BENGALURU: Hampi, a popular tourist destination, will soon be developed into a world-class tourism destination with improved facilities for visitors. It has been listed as an ‘iconic site’ along with 16 others, including the Taj Mahal, Kumarakom, Kaziranga, Khajuraho, Ajanta and Elora, which will be taken up for development. It is the only site in Karnataka which figures in the list.
The announcement was made in the Union Budget proposals for 2019-20, presented by Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday. Although Rs 1,378.53 crore has been allocated for building tourism infrastructure, the cost and funding pattern for developing the iconic sites are yet to be worked out.
The Union tourism ministry has been working on the list for more than a year. Officials of the ministry and the state tourism department have been holding a series of meetings with experts to prepare a master plan on the way forward. As a model site, the destination will be a one-stop destination in a combination of infrastructure and soft skills, said a tourism department official.
THE list has been prepared keeping in mind the cultural importance, heritage value and tourism potential. Sites have been chosen as they are the most do-able places and popular, where any development works taken up will immediately attract attention and increase footfall.
Hampi is listed for its size, continuous findings and promising economic value. Also called the ‘City of Ruins’, it has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is well protected by the state and central Archaeological Departments.
Based on the success of the Hampi plan, the state government plans to replicate the model at other important tourist sites. “After Hampi, work will be taken up at Pattadakal on the same lines, which is also a UNESCO-listed site, followed by the clusters of Badami and Aihole. The forts of Vijayapura, Kalaburgi and Bidar also show promise,” the official said.
The 17 sites listed are popular on the tourist circuit, but a lot more can be done. To become world-class destinations, the place should be well connected by air, rail and road. There should be good signages to guide tourists around the city and the sites. Well-trained guides, interpretation centres and sufficient literature giving all details should be available. Most importantly, there should be proper facilities in place for clean restrooms and restaurants.
Iconic Tourist Sites
Hampi (Karnataka), Taj Mahal, Fathepur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta and Ellora (M’rashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort (Delhi), Colva Beach (Goa), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath, Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (MP), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala)and Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar)