Stakeholders of tourism industry in Rajasthan on Saturday welcomed Union finance minister Arun Jaitley’s budget proposal to provide resources to Kumbhalgarh and other hill forts in the state, saying the move will promote tourism in the desert state and help protect these sites.
“The proposal will promote these sites significantly and boost the tourism industry in the state. It is an important announcement for Rajasthan, as 80 per cent of tourists visiting the state prefer to go to these sites,” tour operator Sanjay Kaushik said. Tourism is one of the important industries in Rajasthan which falls under golden triangle, a tourist circuit covering Agra-Delhi-Rajasthan, which is popular for forts, palaces and step-well reservoirs known as ‘baori’.
“Rajasthan has large number of well restored heritage properties and palaces which have now been converted into hotels,” he said. Kaushik hoped that focus of the government on hill forts, which are Kumbhalgarh (Rajsamand), Amber (Jaipur), Gag ron ( Jhalawar), Ranthambhore (Sawai Madhopur), Jaisalmer and Chittorgarh will benefit the tourism industry as a whole.
The serial site covering these six majestic forts was accorded the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2013. Each fort has its unique identity.
“It will be encouraging for the state. Each fort has significant historic values. The forts use the natural defences offered by the landscape like hills, deserts, rivers, and dense forests. They also feature extensive water harvesting structures,” RS Khangarot, noted historian, said.
Tourist guide Gaurav Bhatt said development of facilities in and around these sites will bring in more tourists which will provide a fillip to the industry in the desert state. The eclectic architecture of the majestic forts bears the testimony to the power of Rajput princely states that flourished in the region between eighth to 18th centuries and also attracts historians besides tourists.
The forts, some up to 20 km in circumference, are enclosed within walls and have major urban centres, palaces, trading centres and other buildings including temples that often predate the fortifications within which developed an elaborate courtly culture that supported learning, music and the arts.