Tourism takes hit as forts, monuments ill-maintained | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Tourism takes hit as forts, monuments ill-maintained

punjab Updated: Aug 31, 2013 18:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Patiala's famous and historic forts, monuments and iconic buildings have been facing government neglect and have not been restored for years. This has led to a decline in tourist interest and the number of visitors to the city has dipped by more than 50% over the past five years, department officials said.

Even the foundation fort of the city remains out of bounds for a tourist as renovation is still going on.

The tourism department blames the sorry state of affairs on the lack of funds with the state department.

However, it the department itself is not doing enough to cater to the more than 600 tourists it receives in a year. It has two tourist guides. The tourist maps it provides lists many places that have no presence on the ground. It lists seven gates, while only four exist.

Two spots, the Shahi Samadhan and Phul Cinema, listed on the map are not maintained. Another spot is now a police wing's office.

National Sports Museum, which is housed at Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NIS), is inaccessible to visitors as permission for a visit is sanctioned by the sports ministry, New Delhi.

The museum houses several historic sports memorabilia like a hass, weighing 95 kg, used by the great Gama for squats, Major Dhyan Chand's gold medal from 1928 Amsterdam Olympics and PT Usha's1986 Seoul Asiad shoes, among other medals and trophies.

Sources said that funds had been sanctioned for Qila Mubarak and Sheesh Mahal, but the restoration had been delayed for unknown reasons.

At the tourist information centre, established in 2010, there is hardly any information on architecture, history and wildlife that tourists can avail of. The centre is open six days a week, but is not open on Sunday.

Tourist officer Gursharan Singh said that to promote tourism, a city-based NGO will organise a heritage walk near October from Shahi Samadhan to Qila Mubarak to regenerate tourism interest.

He added that by next year, the gates of Sheesh Mahal will be opened for visitors.