Could planting betel or tapping toddy fascinate foreigners?
Well, the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation is willing to try it, for 56 foreign tourists from Europe wishing to take an exploratory ride into Bihar.
Opportunity to drive a rickshaw, officials believe, may give them as much pleasure as visiting the ruins of ancient Vikramshila University near Bhagalpur or Yoga classes at Swami Satyanand Saraswati’s Bihar School of Yoga at Munger.
An activity list of such fun and sightseeing has been prepared by the BSTDC for the tourists from UK, Germany, Holland and other countries. They will be on a cruise to these parts on a special tourism package for nine days beginning mid September.
The Pandava Cruise, a private company of Britain has organised a 15-day cruise for them through the Ganga River between Farakka and Varanasi also.
"We have signed an MoU with Pandava Cruise to offer tourist facilities when the cruise passes through the state between Kahalgaon and Buxar. Exotic fun and sight seeing trips have been planned. If this venture succeeds, we will host more such excursions,” Rashmi Verma, Principal Secretary of the Tourism Department, said.
This is for the first time that potential for waterways tourism is being explored by the BSTDC. With hosts of rivers and religious sites and exotic geographical locations on its banks, we have great potential for water tourism, she observed.
There are 28 suites in the cruise craft, which would accommodate the 56 tourists.
The cruise will enter the state at Kahalgaon where tourists will witness betel farms, toddy tapping on the river banks while Vikramshila University will be the main attraction at Bhagalpur. At Munger they will be taken to the Bihar School of Yoga on rickshaws.
At Barh they will board a Volvo, which will take them to Rajgir, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and from there to the state capital. Here they will be shown tourist sites including Patna Museum before they board the Cruise to visit Maner to see Sufi saint, Makhdum Yahiya Maneri’s tomb. At Buxar they may enjoy watching rare birds at the Sanctuary, the BSTDC officials said.