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Busload of bloggers to publicise Chardham as govt asks tourists to ‘do the new’

Taking a leaf out of Kerala the Uttarakahand government will soon launch ‘Chardham Plus’, a scheme under which the country’s top bloggers will be roped in to publicise the state’s four fabled Hindu shrines and the scenic spots around them to augment tourism

dehradun Updated: Mar 31, 2018 22:08 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times
Tourists enjoy at Auli Skiing slopes in Joshimath. (HT File)

Taking a leaf out of Kerala the Uttarakahand government will soon launch ‘Chardham Plus’, a scheme under which the country’s top bloggers will be roped in to publicise the state’s four fabled Hindu shrines and the scenic spots around them to augment tourism.

“Besides ‘Chardham Plus’ we will also simultaneously launch ‘Do the New’ campaign, which aims to promote lesser-known destinations dotting the central Himalayan region,” said Jyoti Khairwal, additional chief executive officer, Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB). “The schemes aim to attract high end tourists to a number of scenic spots and spots of adventure, wildlife, and religious tourism dotting the state.”

Under the ‘Chardham Plus’ scheme, a ‘Bloggers’ Bus’ would be flagged off to the fabled religious destination on April 17, a day before the six-month long annual Chardham pilgrimage season begins. “Bloggers’ Bus is a concept we have borrowed from Kerala where it has been very successful in terms of attracting tourists,” she added.

Khairwal said the ‘Bloggers’ Bus’ concept started from Kerala only. “It is the fifth year running when bloggers will be taken around tourist spots dotting the southern state by bus. They write about those spots on their blogs, which get widely publicised online helping attract a large number of tourists to that state,” she said. “We are replicating the concept owing to its huge success.”

Khairwal said under ‘Chardham Plus’, country’s top 40 bloggers were invited and 18 have already given their consent. “A luxury coach carrying them will criss-cross all four religious destinations of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri”, she said. “They will also be taken around nearby scenic spots known for trekking routes and adventure tourism and spots teeming with wildlife.”

The whole idea was to “diversify the destination image” of Utarakhand, which is, so far known only for religious tourism (Chardham). “But the fact is that the central Himalayan region (Uttarakhand) also has tremendous scope for wellness, heritage, wildlife and adventure tourism,” Khairwal said. “All these dimensions will now be given a wide publicity under ‘Chardham Plus.’”

Giving an example she said at some distance from the shrine town of Kedarnath is Chopta, a scenic spot, also known for its trekking routes. “Similarly, Auli, the world-famous skiing destination is not far from Badrinath, another shrine town in the Chardham,” she said. “Around Gangotri and Yamunotri we have spots like Harsil which, besides being endowed with natural beauty, is also a favourite haunt of trekkers and adventure tourists.”

Khairwal said the publicity blitzkrieg through blogging would also help attract foreign tourists to the scenic spots falling in the Chardham area. “That will be possible as the blogs get circulated online and can be accessed by people in any part of the globe,” she added.

Similarly, under ‘Do the New’ campaign lesser known destinations like Kausani, Munsyari, Birthi Fall, Saat Tal etc would be promoted. “All these spots are endowed with unparalleled natural splendour,” Khairwal said. She, however, clarified that no package tours would be offered under the twin schemes.

“Package tours on offer are meant for budget tourists details of which are available on the websites of our two development corporations,” said the official referring to Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam. “Tourists can pick and choose whichever package tour suits them,” she said. “The twin schemes we are going to launch have no package tours on offer as they are meant for high end tourists,” Khairwal further said

First Published: Mar 31, 2018 22:08 IST