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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Rajasthan mulls house boats to woo tourists

Arvind Singh arvind.singh@hindustantimes.com Arvind Singh arvind.singh@hindustantimes.com Arvind Singh arvind.singh@hindustantimes.com Arvind Singh , Hindustan Times  Jaipur, February 27, 2014
First Published: 14:25 IST(27/2/2014) | Last Updated: 14:33 IST(27/2/2014)

If your imagination of Rajasthan is limited to men with flamboyant moustaches, sand dunes and royalties then think beyond. Tourists could soon be staying in house boats in the desert Rajasthan, a picture more associated with Dal Lake in Kashmir or the backwaters of Kerala.

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A proposal to start house boat facilities has been agreed upon in principle chief minister Vasundhara Raje during a recent meeting on promotion of tourism in Rajasthan.

"House boat can be introduced in Rajasthan at water bodies which have sufficient water throughout the year. Bisalpur Dam, Jawai Dam, Mahi Dam, Parvati Dam, Jai Samand and Jawahar Sagar have been identified as locations suitable for house boat activities," a highly-placed official present in the meeting said on the condition of anonymity.

Tourism commissioner Gayatri Rathod refused to comment.

But experts in tourism industry are excited about the prospects of new proposal.

"House boats can be a welcome inclusion for Rajasthan and places like Bisalpur and Tonk which has remained out of the tourist circuit despite the potential," said Prithvi Singh Kanota, a member of Heritage Hotel Association.

Rajasthan, so far, is more known as a destination for forts, havelis and sand dunes but Raje has been pushing for developing connectivity and standard infrastructure for development of other tourism activities such as birding, eco-tourism, cultural and music fests and adventure sports. 

The other important proposals discussed in the meeting include development of eco-tourism in ravines of Chambal river and safari for sighting of Gangetic dolphins and critically endangered ghariyal.

The government is also planning to organise an international bird festival in September each year at Ghana National Park.
"An international bird fair at Bharatpur is a welcome step to promote Bharatpur in the international level. Birding is the biggest attraction for international tourists and Rajasthan has tremendous potential for development," said Deepraj Singh, a tourism expert based in Bharatpur. 

Sun, sand and more

New proposals for tourism promotion in Rajasthan

-        Eco-Tourism in ravines of Chambal on the lines of Petra in Jordan

-        Safari on Chambal river for sighting of Gangetic dolphins and ghariyal

-        Promotion of Chandrabhaga Festival in Jhalarapatan

-        Promotion of cultural and music festivals in Shekhawati

-        Annual bird fair at Bharatpur

-        Opening Ravanjna-Dungar for safari near Ranthambhore


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