As part of its efforts to give a fillip to the tourism industry that has been floundering in recent years, the Himachal government has decided to rope in Gujarat's tourism department for drawing in more visitors to the state's many Hindu shrines and temples.
"A lot of Gujaritis visit Himachal Pradesh to see ancient temples and other places of historic or religious interest. We've now decided to take the help of tourism officials in Gujarat to get more visitors from that state to come to Himachal," said Vijay Singh Mankotia, vice chairman of the Himachal tourism development board on Friday. He recently met Gujarat's tourism minister Saurabh Bhai Patel to discuss ways to increase tourist inflow from that state to Himachal.
The tourism industry in Himachal Pradesh had been on a downswing with the number of foreign visitors declining drastically.
"According to figures, next to Gujarat the state receives the largest number of domestic tourists from West Bengal. There are a number of 'shaktipeethas' (Hindu place of worship) in the hill state which attract a lot of Hindu pilgrims. We're trying to increase the flow of religious tourists," Mankotia said.
Himachal is dotted with several Hindu pilgrimage sites and temples, of which there are more than 2,000 in the state, many of them associated with ancient legends. Some of them are beautiful works of architecture.