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Little headway in govt proposal to develop ‘Vivekananda Trail’

Despite tourism minister Satpal Maharaj’s claims to develop a tourism track along the route travelled by Swami Vivekananda in the Kumaon region 117 years ago, there is little progress on the proposal

dehradun Updated: Jan 22, 2018 22:07 IST
BD Kasniyal
BD Kasniyal
Hindustan Times, Pithoragarh
Vivekananda Trail,Kumaon,Satpal Maharaj
An inscription stone erected in the memory of Swami Vivekananda at the Champawat dak bungalow (in background) during his visit to Kumaon in 1901.(Chandra Shekhar Dwivedi/HT Photo)

Despite tourism minister Satpal Maharaj’s claims to develop a tourism track along the route travelled by Swami Vivekananda in the Kumaon region 117 years ago, there is little progress on the proposal.

The “Vivekananda Trail” was proposed between Kathgodam in Nainital district and Mayavati in Champawat district, which was visited by the Indian monk in 1901.

“We have no such plans to survey and reconstruct the track, though we have been asked by the district magistrate to prepare a route map taken by Swamiji to and from Mayavati in Champawat,” said Lata Bisht, a district tourist officer of Champawat.

According to the Mayavati Ashram at Lohaghat in Champawat district, the Uttarakhand tourism department had informed its officials about the plan to develop the Vivekananda Trail, but nothing was done except erecting a stone depicting the monk’s stay in Lohaghat.

“Except transplanting a pipal tree at Kakarighat, where Swamiji had realisation that micro and macro are one, the department under its nodal agency KMVN (Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam) has done nothing to preserve his trails,” said Swami Narsimhananda, editor of Prabudhda Bharata, the international magazine published by the Champawat-based Ashram.

The Mayavati Ashram said its plea to the government to hand over the Thomson House in Almora to it also failed to make any effect on the government machinery. “We want to preserve the Thompson House in Almora as the magazine was published from there for a short period in the year 1898,” said Narsimhananda.

Though Mayavati Ashram, the centre point of the proposed Vivekananda tourism trail, does not permit tourists to stay there, the ashram sources said that if camps could be developed by the government along the route to provide night stay facilities, it would further attract a large number of tourists.

“The houses and dak bungalows (guest houses), to Mayavati from Kathgodam, Paharpani Mornaula, Dhunaghat that were used by Swamiji and his fellows for spending nights during their ascent to the Mayavati Himalayas are in bad shape, as till date no initiative has been taken to take care of these memorials,” said Dinesh Pandey, a Champawat-based journalist.

Swami Vivekananda had spent 15 days at Mayavati in January 1901. He had reached there after being informed about the death of Captain Sevier, his disciple, who along with his wife had established the ashram for the purpose of meditation.

“The dak bungalow as well as the inscription stone laid in his memory at Champawat dak bungalow, where Swamiji had stayed during his return journey from Mayavati is in a poor state, as no government till date even after the creation of Uttarakhand has cared to revive the memories scattered along the route he had taken in Kumaon,” said Deepak Singh Bohra, a local resident of Champawat.

Commenting on the proposal, KMVN general manager TS Martolia said, “We do not have any instruction so far to develop the trail, but we have placed sign boards along the route to identify the places visited by Swamiji.”

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 22:07 IST