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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Footfalls rise in city picnic spots

Himabindu Reddy, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, February 04, 2013
First Published: 01:18 IST(4/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(4/2/2013)

From lush greenery and amusement hotspots to a range of monuments and new-age accommodations, the Millennium City has many hues to attract tourists from across the globe.

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"Gurgaon doesn't really have a must-see tourist spot in real sense. The tourism opportunities here are artificially created," said Atul Dev, the convener of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach).

Haryana has been the pioneer of highway tourism, where tourist spots are being created along the highway so that these spots can become a recreation point for those on long drive.

In the past 25 years, many motels with world-class facilities came up along the highway, broadening the prospect of tourism business here.

Besides, Gurgaon is also picking up new global concept of tourism called MICE-- meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions. A large number of visitors come to the city for professional reasons. Such visitors use banquets, convention centres and conference halls for holding business meets, creating opportunities for hospitality sector.

"Almost every hotel in Gurgaon has these facilities. Their conference halls and banquet halls are equipped with all the latest technologies necessary for business meetings. These days, the city is turning into a preferred hub for social functions too," explained Dev.

The concept has become a hit in Gurgaon because of its proximity to the international airport and availability of services at affordable rates as compared to the national capital.

But that is just one side of the showcase city, which is known for its malls, golf courses, industries and world-class hospitals. A few people know that the city also houses hosts of historical monuments and natural recreation spots.

Gurgaon district has several Mughal and pre-Mughal era monuments situated in Pataudi and Farrukhnagar.

Pataudi, which is off the national highway-8, was ruled by the nawabs of Pataudi. And, one can see the cultural heritage through the remains of Mughal-style architecture.

Similarly, the octagonal town of Farrukhnagar, established in 1732 by Faujdar Khan, the governor to Mughal emperor Farrukhsiyar, has a bunch of interesting stories from the good old days.

The city also has a bird sanctuary in its vicinity. The Sultanpur National Park, which has been given the status of a national park, is a home to a large number of migratory birds in the winters. Nearly 50, 000 birds of different species flock from Siberia and other parts of Europe every year.

The corporate hub paints a monotonous and noisy picture but at the same time, it also has spiritual destinations such as Brahma Kumari's Om Shanti Retreat Centre (ORC) and Soka Bodhi Tree Garden.

ORC, located on Pataudi Road near Bilaspur Chowk, is spread over 30 acres and is a perfect place for those looking for a break from urban lifestyle.

Soka Bodhi Tree Garden is based on the concept of Buddhism. The garden has 3, 500 bodhi trees. Each tree has been dedicated to one country.

Another attraction is the Bharat Yatra Kendra. It is spread over 588 acres at Bhondsi village in the Aravali hills.


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