With a view to promoting religious and science tourism in Kurukshetra, the authorities have invited innovative ideas from the public and experts to bring this ancient city on the world map within a stipulated timeframe.
Popularly known as the land of Bhagvad Gita and the battle of Mahabharata, the city has also two major science facilities -- a planetarium and a science museum developed by the National Council of Science Museum, Kolkata.
However, the successive state governments have so far failed to promote organised tourism in Kurukshetra.
Sources said that the authorities did not have any mechanism to gather the official data of tourists visiting the city every year.
In the run-up to the state assembly elections last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had batted for promoting tourism in Haryana, primarily in Kurukshetra.
In March this year, Union tourism and culture minister Mahesh Sharma had announced in Kurukshetra that the holy city had been included in the Krishna Circuit under the Centre's 'Swadesh Darshan' plan.
Now, deputy commissioner CG Rajini Kaanthan has invited suggestions from the public on how to promote the city as a major tourist destination.
"People can send their suggestions at the email ID firstname.lastname@example.org or simply drop their ideas in the suggestion box of the Kurukshetra district's official website -- kurukshetra.nic.in. "These suggestions should reach us by June 29, which would be discussed in detail with the experts at a seminar at Kurukshetra University on June 30," said the DC.
According to the administration, the holy city of Kurukshetra, whose old geographical boundary spread over 48 kos, had a great scope for promotion of tourism.
"Promotion of tourism in an organised manner and right perspective would generate ample direct and indirect employment opportunities to the local population," the DC said.
Kurukshetra is the most visited place in Haryana where tourists from all corners of the world come. But there is no central tourist guide centre or state-accredited guides in the city.
The local officials admit that barring annual Gita Jayanti festivities or fair on solar eclipses, the administration barely comes with any elaborate programme for the visitors.
In 2008, the Congress-led Bhupinder Singh Hooda government had formed the Haryana Tourism Development Board and decided to develop pilgrim destinations at Kurukshetra and Pehowa as part of religious tourism circuit but no follow up action was taken.
A local official said that annual Gita Jayanti celebrations held to observe the birth of the ancient scripture was an example of official apathy.
"For the past almost one decade, the cultural evenings have become monotonous and no planned effort is made to associate local groups with the festivities. Gita Jayanti requires a change in the format and it can be boosted as a major tourist attraction," said an official.
On June 4, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had launched the tourist police service in Kurukshetra, the maiden initiative in Haryana.
Under the plan, a select band of 30 cops of the Kurukshetra police will man four help desks - two at Brahmsarovar and one each at Jyotisar and Shekh Chehli's tomb.
-Jyotisar is the most revered holy site of Kurukshetra and it attracts maximum tourists. The site has a banyan tree under which, it is believed, Lord Krishna delivered the sermon of Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna.
-Krishna Museum, built by the Kurukshetra Development Board, a state-funded autonomous body, is the only archeological museum in the world dedicated to the Lord Krishna.
-The holy tanks of Brahmasarovar and its adjoining Sannihit Sarovar also have religious significance, wherein lakhs of pilgrims take a holy dip on solar eclipse and other Hindu religious days.
-Tomb of Sufi saint Sheikh Chehli is being looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and famous ancient temples of Sthaneshwar and Bhadrakali are also located in the vicinity.
-The Kalpana Chawla Planetarium and Kurukshetra Panorama and Science Centre, run by the National Council of Science Museum, are hot favourites among the students.