Pandas (priests) here will soon speak French, Spanish, Japanese, German and English, besides other Indian languages, in order to inform tourists, Indian and foreign, about the different pujas and rituals performed at the ghats as part of sodash sanskars (16 birth to death rituals).
This will be made possible by the coaching they will receive under the union ministry of tourism’s plan to boost tourism.
As per the plan, experts from the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) will teach these languages to the selected pandas for a month. The training programme will start with a batch of 50 pandas.
Prof Sandeep Kulshreshtha, director IITTM, told HT that, “the tourism ministry has approved the equipping of pandas with basics of foreign languages. Besides, they will also be taught Tamil, Telugu, Kannad, Oriya, Bengali, Punjabi, Rajasthani and Gujarati.”
Elaborating, Kulshreshtha said, “The pandas will be taught how to say welcome, sorry, thanks and other commonly used words. They will also be taught etiquettes and manners.”
“The behavioural training will equip the pandas with knowledge of handling persons from different parts of the world,” Kulshreshtha said, adding that dos and don’ts of non-verbal communication will also be part of the training.
“After completion of the training, its results will be evaluated before the plan is implemented across the country,” the professor said.
“A similar training was given to pandas in Jagannathpuri temple, Orissa, around two years ago,” he said.