Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani has a dream project for BJP chief ministers. He wants them to set up “mini India” theme parks.
He has told Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal to set up a theme park in Rishikesh so that India’s spiritual heritage and pilgrimage centres can be “recreated as an experience” in one place.
Advani has also asked Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to explore the setting up of a theme park to honour freedom heroes, along with the places associated with them during their struggle for India’s independence.
Advani’s “suggestion” to the chief ministers, however, has a political angle.
Five months ago, he had praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi when he launched the Mahatma Mandir. In other words, the chief ministers may have to emulate Modi, who has already begun work on the mandir, collecting earth from different parts of the state and from where Gujarati NRIs reside across the world.
Estimated to cost Rs 135 crore, the 34-acre mandir is to be developed as a monument to the life and philosophy of the Mahatma, apart from being a first-class convention centre.
Advani seems to have got the idea after a recent visit to a “mini Indonesia” park in Jakarta, where the country’s cultural heritage is displayed. “I want them to create mini India parks that leave a strong impression on younger minds and turn eventually into major tourist attractions,” Advani told HT. “In one day, you can visit replicas of famous sites from different parts of India at one place.”
What Advani has in mind is a Delhi Akshardam-type monument adjacent to the Commonweath Games Village in Delhi. “I have told Pokhriyal to rope in the Akshardam people and Swami Chidanand of Paramarth Ashram for conceiving the project.”
Advani said, “Uttarakhand is dotted with pilgrim spots. How wonderful it would be if within a large-scale relief map of Bharat, all the principal pilgrim spots of the country such as Tirupati, Jagannath Puri, Rameshwaram, Dwarka, Amritsar, Vaishno Devi could be recreated.”
On his visit to Indonesia, he said, “I could not visit Yogyakarta (centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture). But I did have the satisfaction of getting glimpses of replicas of its excellent temples in Jakarta.”