Karnataka is a holiday supermarket: Tripathi
PREPARING TO cash in on the lakhs of devotees expected to congregate in the state for Lord Mahavir?s Mahamastaka Abhisheka (head anointment) at Sravanbelagola, the Karnataka tourism department has drawn up a special tourism package comprising visits to seven well-known Jain pilgrimage sites for visitors.india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 20:58 IST
PREPARING TO cash in on the lakhs of devotees expected to congregate in the state for Lord Mahavir’s Mahamastaka Abhisheka (head anointment) at Sravanbelagola, the Karnataka tourism department has drawn up a special tourism package comprising visits to seven well-known Jain pilgrimage sites for visitors.
The package tour is among a slew of programmes organised by the tourism department for the Abhisheka that will last from February 8-19 and is scheduled to be inaugurated by President A P J Abdul Kalam. Giving this information, Government of Karnataka Tourism Commissioner Lokendra Tripathi said cultural events, including performances by top-notch artistes like Hari Prasad Chaurasia, would be organised at Sravanbelagola for the duration of the festival.
A state-of-the-art media centre comprising, among other things, wi-fi internet connectivity, would be set up at the venue to facilitate filing of reports. The tourism department would also make arrangements to ferry accredited journalists from Bangalore to Sravanbelagola and back, as well as for their lodging upon a written request by concerned editors.
Addressing mediapersons at Sayaji Hotel on Friday, Tripathi revealed that a total of Rs 115 crore were being spent on the Mahamastaka Abhisheka arrangements.
The grand preparations for the Abhisheka were part of an overall plan to catapult Karnataka into the top tourist destinations in the country, he added.
Comparing the state with a ‘holiday supermarket’, Tripathi asserted that Karnataka had something to offer to everyone.‘Whether it is religious or eco-tourism, interest in heritage or wildlife and natural beauty, Karnataka has plenty to offer to every kind of visitor. And at budgets that suit every pocket,” added the Tourism Commissioner.
“Take architectural heritage, Karnataka has Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site, with 56 ASI protected documents and another 112 notified by the state archaeological department spread over 14 sq km. There is the Gol Gumbaz, the second largest unsupported dome in the world, as well as the magnificent Mysore Palace. ”
Tripathi added that Karnataka had 12 sanctuaries and parks to cater to the needs of wildlife enthusiasts who could avail of hiking programmes, elephant rides and fishing expeditions.
“We have over 350 sq km of pristine, unspoilt beaches and we’ve been told that we can give Goa a ride for its money”. “Although foreign tourist inflow has doubled from 1997 to 2004, we are looking at a greater share of the domestic market,” he added.
Tripathi felt that it was lack of awareness of the state’s tourism goodies that had held the state back. “We have designed special packages for those interested in a particular tourism genre. For instance, there is the southern circuit for wildlife lovers and the Belgaum circuit for those interested in architecture,” concluded Tiwari.