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Lonely Planet gives Assam a 'makeover'

india Updated: Jul 20, 2012 00:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Public feelings in Assam might be very much against the Bangladeshis, but they are the ones who may just save its flagging tourism industry. At least, that is what Lonely Planet India seems to think.

The string of goof-ups by the world's tourist bible has put to shame Delhi's own faux pas: using photos of the two-horned African rhino to promote its one-horned Assam cousins in the "Incredible India" campaign.

In a recent edition, Lonely Planet India has called, Tezpur, 174 km north-east of Guwahati, as "probably Assam's most attractive city".

If the element of doubt ruffles feathers in Tezpur — an ancient centre of art and literature and Assam's "cultural capital" — there's more. "Its large Bangladeshi population" apparently forms the entirety of Tezpur's tourist attraction.

If that's not enough to shock you, wait for the guidebook's take on the state's wildlife.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, 40 km east of Guwahati, has been hailed as the "world's rhinoceros capital". And since a "rhinoceros capital" just cannot be a simple sanctuary, the guidebook has elevated it to the eminence of a "national park".

The 860sq km Kaziranga National Park, the domain of the one-horn rhino, has been forgotten altogether in this context.

The travel guide has even tried to improve on the map of Assam, shifting the Manas National Park from the Assam-Bhutan border to the route to Shillong.

"This is ridiculous. One does not expect a reputed guidebook to print such mistakes," said Assam tourism secretary Dhruva Hazarika.

Tourism officer Samir Tanti said a letter would be sent to New Delhi to ensure facts are checked before publications come up with tour guides.