Religious tourism surges this summer: Ayodhya, Varanasi, Char Dham - Hindustan Times
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Religious tourism surges this summer: Ayodhya, Varanasi, Char Dham

By | Edited by Abhyjith K. Ashokan
Jun 16, 2024 02:23 PM IST

The Char Dham yatra in Haridwar and Rishikesh have already seen 1.4 million visits, with average registrations a week crossing 25,000

Religious tourism is expected to generate a revenue of 5,900 crore by 2028, creating 140 million temporary and permanent jobs by 2030, according to a Financial Express report.

The illuminated Ram Mandir premises after its consecration ceremony, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India on January 22. (PTI)
The illuminated Ram Mandir premises after its consecration ceremony, in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, India on January 22. (PTI)

Daniel D’souza, president & country head, holidays, SOTC Travel, told Financial Expess that they have seen 5 times year-on-year demand increase for pilgrimage tours to Ayodhya and other places associated with the life and times of Lord Ram. “We have witnessed regional India’s tier 2 and 3 cities emerge strongly and these high growth markets are driving demand for our Ramayana trails portfolio,” he said.

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Ayodhya, which now has 24 daily flights has witnessed massive tourist influx, Prakhar Mishra, director of tourism, Uttar Pradesh, told Financial Express. Similarly, “At Varanasi’s Kashi Vishwanath Temple, donations in March broke all records with contributions amounting to 11.14 crore, the highest for any single month,” Mishra added.

This year in March, Varanasi saw a record-breaking influx of 9.56 million pilgrims, the article read.

“An average spend per person at any pilgrim location has been around 2,500, which is likely to surge even more,” Giresh Vasudev Kulkarni, founder of Temple Connect, a platform which provides information on darshans, told Financial Express.

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Thomas Cook (India) sees a growing interest from younger travellers, millennials and Gen Zs, for whom they have launched ‘pilgrimage plus tours’ coupled with darshans, local experiences such as cuisine trails and outdoor adventures such as river rafting/ bungee jumping, besides a guide-cum-story teller and satvik food, according to the article.

Searches for destinations with or around religious spots growing 97% in the last two years (2023 vs 2021), data from the India Travel Trends Report by MakeMyTrip showed.

Searches for Ayodhya grew by 585%, Ujjain by 359%, Badrinath by 343% in 2023, Amarnath by 329%, Kedarnath by 322%, Mathura by 223%, Dwarkadhish by 193%, Shirdi by 181%, Haridwar by 117%, and Bodh Gaya by 114%.compared with 2022, according to the report.

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This is also true for NRIs. “A lot of NRIs like to visit Char Dham from the US and the UK in charters,” Santosh Sharma, founder of BookMyJet, and co-founder & CEO of Foresee Aviation which offers private air charters, told Financial Express. “Places in demand are Varanasi, Ujjain and Hampi.”

The Char Dham yatra in Haridwar and Rishikesh have already seen 1.4 million visits, with average registrations a week crossing 25,000, according to the article.

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