Big boost for Indian tourism! These 15 incredible tourist circuits will unleash your love for travel


India Tourism: Big boost for Indian tourism! In order to give a boost to the tourism sector in India, the Union Ministry of Tourism has decided to develop 15 thematic circuits across the country in a planned and prioritised manner under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, Union Minister of Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday. The circuits set to be developed are the North-East Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Tirthankara Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Desert Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Rural Circuit, Sufi Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

Financial Express Online looks at what each of these circuits has to offer.

North-East Circuit

The North-East Circuit focuses on developing tourism-centric sites in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim, in order to offer the tourists an experience of the stunning beauty of the North-East, along with its mesmerising landscape, Buddhist monasteries, its exotic and rare flora and fauna, refreshingly unique culture, indigenous sports and folk arts and handicrafts.

Out of the many destinations included in the circuit, some are the Orchid Lake Resort, Umiam Lake View and Krang Suri Waterfall in Meghalaya, Gunabati Temple, Mahadeb Bari Udaipur and Bhubaneshwari Temple in Tripura, Khongjom and Imphal in Manipur, Sarong Monastery and Sela lake in Arunachal Pradesh and Sapta Kanya Waterfall in Sikkim.

Himalayan Circuit

The Himalayan Circuit focuses on the beautiful tourist sites that line the Indian Himalayan Region, which covers the strategic position of the northern border of India and spans across Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the North-East. Due to the wide variety of the flora and fauna it has to offer, the Indian Himalayan Region is among the Natural World Heritage Sites.

The Himalayan circuit covers destinations like Khardung Village, Skuru Village, Zorawar Fort At Kargil, Tral, Naristan, Manasbal Lake, Rajouri Nature Park, Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala.

Krishna Circuit

Several people in India often travel for religious purposes. Keeping this in mind, the Krishna Circuit focuses on developing those sites which are linked to the legends of Lord Krishna.

The Circuit includes developing certain places in Kurukshetra that are linked to Mahabharata and equipping them with facilities like WiFi, CCTVs and security systems. It also includes the development of Govind Devji Temple and Charan Mandir in Rajasthan.

Buddhist Circuit

The Buddhist Circuit includes pilgrimage destinations for Buddhist tourists. Though Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, which now falls in Nepal, he grew up in India, attained enlightenment here, delivered sermons across India and also attained Mahaparinirvana in India itself. Therefore, for Buddhist pilgrims, India is an important country and the circuit focuses on developing important sites linked to Lord Buddha in India.

Some of the destinations included in the circuit are Bodh Gaya in Bihar, Srawasti, Kapilwastu, and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, Sanchi, Mandasaur and Dhar in Madhya Pradesh, Baba Pyare Caves and Khapara Kodiya in Gujarat, and Amaravati and Anupu in Andhra Pradesh.

Tribal Circuit

India has a vast tribal culture, which spans across several states like Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. These tribes have, for decades, been maintaining their indigenous culture, not letting it get diluted due to the modern world. The Tribal Circuit attempts to allow tourists a glimpse into the world of Indian tribes and their traditions, culture, art, etc.

The Indian Tribal Circuit currently covers the states of Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Nagaland.

Coastal Circuit

The Coastal Circuit covers the 7,517-km-long coastline of India and covers the different beaches that India has to offer in states and Union Territories like Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and West Bengal. It also covers the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar.

The destinations include Dubrayapet in Puducherry, Cellular Jail and National Memorial in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Barkul in Odisha, Rua De Orum Creek and Anjuna Beach in Goa, Vijaydurg Beach in Maharashtra, Kanyakumari and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Irrakum Island and Venadu Island in Andhra Pradesh.

Eco Circuit

With an aim to bridge the gap between tourists and nature, the Eco Circuit covers the nature and environment-friendly tourist destinations across Kerala, Jharkhand, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram.

The destinations include Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Betla National Park and Koel River View Point in Jharkhand, Singotam Reservoir and Akka Mahadevi Caves in Telangana, Vagamon, Idduki and Thekkady in Kerala, Sirain, Tehri Lake and Chamba in Uttarakhand, Sailani Island, Gandhisagar Dam and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, and Rawpuichhip and Berawtlang in Mizoram.

Tirthankara Circuit

The Jain religion has its roots in India and so there are numerous shrines in India for the Jains. This circuit aims to provide the tourists with the unique architecture of the Jain structures, their cuisine and crafts.

Wildlife Circuit

India has a vivid range of flora and fauna, and is the wildlife hub. It is then natural that a circuit would cover the various wildlife that our diverse country has to offer. It covers the various national and state wildlife preserves and sanctuaries.

The circuit so far covers only Assam and Madhya Pradesh. It includes destinations like Manas, Kaziranga and Dibru in Assam and Panna National Park, Sanjay National Park and Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

Desert Circuit

India is a land of numerous terrains, and just like its mountains and coasts, it has great deserts too. The deserts span from the sand dunes-marked Thar to the arid lands in Kutch and the dry and cold valleys of Leh and Himachal.

So far, the destinations only include Rajasthan. Some of the places in Rajasthan covered in the circuit are Shakambhari Mata Temple and the Sambhar Salt Lake.

Ramayana Circuit

Much like the Krishna Circuit, the Ramayana Circuit traces the places that are linked to the legends of Lord Rama. So far, this only includes Uttar Pradesh.

Some of the UP destinations include Ayodhya, Laxman Qila and Chitrakoot.

Spiritual Circuit

All over the world, India is known as the land of spirituality. It is a must-go-to place for all spiritual tourists. It would then be odd if India did not have a spiritual circuit.

Some of the destinations included in the circuit are Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple and Vinorpu Annai Church in Puducherry, Sabarimala Temple and Caldian Syrian Church in Kerala, Patna and Vaishali in Bihar, Kaushambi and Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh, Waki and Adasa in Maharashtra, Kaina Temple and Shri Shri Gopinath Temple in Manipur and Bharthari Temple and Gopinath Ji Temple in Rajasthan.

Rural Circuit

It is no secret that the real, true India resides in its villages. The original cultures and traditions of India are still preserved in the places which are surrounded by kuchcha roads and a sense of home. Rural India is the heart and the soul of the country, and anyone who wishes to understand India in its true sense ought to visit these villages. With this in mind, the government is developing the Rural Circuit.

The destinations covered in the circuit include Turkanlia and Chandrahia Theme Park in Bihar.

Sufi Circuit

While no destination has yet been added to this circuit, its aim is to make available to tourists the age-old Sufi culture of India. The culture emphasises on diversity and communal harmony and has its own unique music and art.

Heritage Circuit

India is a land of a rich heritage that has built over the country over centuries. The land of Taj Mahal, India has as many as 36 UNESCO recognised world heritage sites and another 36 are in the tentative list. With this backdrop, the government’s Heritage Circuit gives the tourists glimpses of the lesser-known but abundantly available heritage sites.

These include the Paigah Tombs and Hayat Bakshi Mosque in Telangana, Nahargarh Fort, Bala Quila, Chittorgarh Fort and Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan, Bamuni Hills and Samuguru Satra in Assam, Sholam Chaupal and Kalinjar Fort in Uttar Pradesh, Sharmishtha Lake and Ambaji Kotha Lake in Gujarat, Franco Tamil Village in Puducherry, Sri Anandpur Sahib and Mir Mian Tomb in Punjab, Jogeshwar in Uttarakhand and Baija Taal, Italian Garden and Gwalior Fort in Madhya Pradesh.

With the development of these circuits, several lesser-known places of cultural and historical importance will come into the limelight and benefit from the boost in the tourism industry. India has, for years, remained a hot destination for tourists, domestic as well as international, and it is time that these undermined places also get discovered for the rich culture they have to offer by way of these thematic tourism circuits.

Three Bokaro sites to be tourist spots


With an aim to promote tourism and boost revenue generations, Garga Dam, Satanpur Hill and Bhandaridah in Bokaro district have been selected to be developed as tourist spots.

This decision was taken in the district level meeting of Tourism Promotion Committee headed by Bokaro Deputy Commissioner Mukesh Kumar.

These three selected sites will be inspected soon by a committee and after inspection, one of these three proposed tourists destinations will be developed immediately, said Kumar adding “The remaining two destinations will also be developed later.” Besides giving a boost to economic activities, this tourist destination will give people living in the surrounding districts a chance to spend a few moments of leisure with nature too, he said.

This will work towards the collective goal of fostering visitor’s enjoyment and earning money for the respective destinations as well as for the local people residing within the catchment’s areas, said an official. Tourism is more effective than other industries in generating employment and income in the less developed often-outlying regions of a country where alternative opportunities for development are more limited, he said. It could have positive impacts on the local communities. Like other export industries, tourism can flow huge revenue to the government, creates an individual’s business turnover, household income and employment, said the official.

Not only Bokaro but entire Jharkhand has tremendous tourism potential considering its demography, rich ancient tribal culture and wildlife sanctuary. Blessed with nature’s unlimited bounty and blessings like hills, mountains, forests, and waterfalls, Jharkhand makes for a perfect holiday destination.Tourism must be utilized as a vehicle for economic development, he said.

During the meeting, Triloki Nath Singh representative of local MP PN Singh, Sushant representative of Minister of tourism, PBN Singh Tourism Officer-in-charge, Vikash Kumar Hembram District Public Relations Officer along with other executive engineers were present.

Happy birthday PM Modi; here are some messages from those affected by Sardar Sarovar


Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrates his birthday on September 17. Unsurprisingly, his choice of venue is the Sardar Sarovar dam and the nearby statue of Vallabhbhai Patel. He spent the morning visiting the control room of the dam on the Narmada after “worshipping” the river. The water level at the dam reservoir was raised to 138.68 metres — the full reservoir level (FRL) — on the occasion.

Not all seemed thrilled:

  • Anti-dam activists were scheduled to protest at Barwani.
  • Several families were evacuated to tin sheds as their homes were to submerge.
  • Those left behind are living on islands
  • Sown fields are now under water
  • More than 30,000 families living in the submergence zone faced displacement and loss of livelihood, according to Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

Many distressed people in the submergence areas in Dhar, Barwani, and Alirajpur districts in Madhya Pradesh have already held up their grievances.

And they have a thing or two to say if the PM would listen.

‘Visit our villages’

If he can fly abroad so much, why can’t he visit a village in doob kshetra (submergence area)? asked Gangabai Patidar of Nisarpur. Her home was marked for submergence at 138 m; at 136 m, the water was at her door, she said.

Some 1,200 families there were declared out of danger but the village was sinking.

“The water has filled our streets, it comes up to our door steps but these homes are considered out of doob kshetra. How do we step out and commute? Are we supposed to fly?” asked Gangabai. 

Suresh Patidar, also from Nisarpur, found Modi’s recent tweet hardselling the area as a tourist destination, insensitive. “192 villages are starving, dying, and drowning; hardly anyone has received rehabilitation benefits they are entitled to. All the PM is concerned about is filling the dam’s reservoir before his birthday,” he said. A lack of media attention added insult to his injury.

Shyamabai of Pichodi village, a few kilometres from Barwani town, invited Modi to a public discussion with the oustees, underscoring that with the land drowned, farmers, fisherfolk and potters were starving.

“You forcibly evicted us from our homes and filled them with water. And then, you’re celebrating your birthday as so many humans suffer and animals die,” she said.   

‘Minister of a state’

In Kadmal (Dhar district), another sinking village, residents tried to protest in the few areas some not yet under water. They were on a chain hunger strike.

“People are getting ill, contracting infections because of the dirty water entering our streets,” said Ashutosh Radheshyam Sen, one of those on strike. He blamed the governments of Madhya Pradesh and the Centre for trying to “please” the Gujarat government: “The PM should think about the entire country, not just one state.”

“We want officials to come here, see our reality and complete rehabilitation and resettlement equitably,” said Ashutosh, a journalist who also owns a shop that is now submerged.

“Anyone who tried to move the (Sardar Sarovar) project was projected the saviour of Gujarat. But PM Modi seems to have taken the game to a new level to show that he completed it,” said Shripad Dharmadhikary, an activist and researcher.

“Even as chief minister of Gujarat, Modi went on dharna (demonstration) for the completion of this project, ignoring checks the then government wanted to put in place on humanitarian grounds,” he alleged.

“Work on the dam was stalled until 2014 because rehabilitation was incomplete. But when he became PM in 2014, permission to increase the height of the dam was granted in 15 days,” Dharmadhikary added.

Pointing out at an incomplete canal system, he called the closing of the dam gates a show of power. That MP now has Congress-led government, made the situation worse, according to him.

Himanshu Upadhyaya from Azim Premji University advised the PM to “keep in mind that the water storage in this dam has been achieved at huge social costs borne by people upstream in the submergence zone as well as those downstream in Narmada, Vadodara and Bharuch districts — whose land is eroded by intense flash floods created by dam authorities.”

These aspects can only be forgotten “when one is obsessed with PR” and with the “perfect visual appeal” created by an overflowing dam, he warned. 

‘Gujarat farmers not thrilled either’

In 2002, Ramsingh Chattarsingh Solanki of Rajghat village (in the submergence area in Barwani) moved to Gujarat as he was allotted land in Kesrol village in Bharuch district. But it was infertile and uncultivable, he alleged.

“The Gujarat government cheated us. We moved back to our old village and now this is drowning,” the 82-year-old man said.

Thousands of acres of agricultural land downstream in Bharuch, Narmada, and Vadodara districts in Gujarat was getting destroyed, said Kamlesh S Madhiwala, president of fishers’ collective Samast Bharuch Jilla Machhimar Samaj.

“Crops ready for harvest drowned. Gujarat did benefit, but the water distribution has been mismanaged. Farmers don’t have water, but companies never face a shortage. Seems the dam’s water is primarily for them,” he said.

“Despite the dam getting the lion’s share of central funding under ‘Accelerated irrigation Benefit Programme’, successive Gujarat governments have failed to prioritise development of the canal network,” alleged Upadhyaya.

Figures in the government’s own Socio-economic Surveys show a shortfall between irrigation potential created and utilised. The ad hoc command area development plans and half-hearted implementation of participatory irrigation management were to be blamed too, he added. 

‘SSP, we have a problem’

According to the Narmada Control Authority’s daily updates, the Bargi reservoir and the Indira Sagar Project reservoir upstream were almost full. Any sudden release of water from the two reservoirs upstream could lead to flash floods. This is compounded by tremors felt in more than 12 villages along the banks of the Narmada.

“This is the time to generate power at full capacity. Technically that’s the way to operate the dam so that floods can be controlled, not aggravated,” said Vijay Paranjpye, water expert and chairman of Gomukh Environmental Trust For Sustainable Development, Pune. He was concerned about potential shock release of water and said water should have been released:

“It is more important for the Gujarat government and the authority to protect lives rather than celebrate someone’s birthday.”