Religious Tourism in Rajasthan & Religious Circuits of State
Religious Tourism in Rajasthan | Rajasthan is one of the most popular tourist destination in India and has a prominent place on the world tourist map. It has varied tourist attraction for both domestic and international tourists.
Religious Tourism can be defined as travel with the core motive of experiencing religious forms, or the products they induce, like art, culture, traditions and architecture.
Religious tourism has emerged as a booming market in India, according to the Delhi based National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) which shows that of the 230 million tourist trips undertaken in India, the largest proportion is made up of religious pilgrimages.
Religious Tourism in Rajasthan: Vision
Rajasthan Tourism Policy, 2020: envisions to reposition Rajasthan as a preferred tourism destination for both domestic as well as international tourists by offering tourists a high quality experience.
In this context, the Rajasthan Tourism Policy 2020 identifies following steps by government to promote religious tourism in Rajasthan.
- Religious tourism circuits will be identified in consultation with Departments of Devasthan and Minority Affairs and master plan for upgradation of infrastructure and accommodation will be prepared for these sites.
- Local Committees will be set up in consultation with the stakeholders for maintaining cleanliness and hygiene around the religious places in each district, making them model pilgrim towns.
Scope of Religious Tourism in Rajasthan:
Some of the Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) of Rajasthan Tourism are Luxury Trains (Palace-on-Wheels), Forts, Palaces and Havelies, Fairs and Festivals, Handicrafts, Heritage Hotels, Adventure Tourism, Rural and EcoTourism, Religious Tourism and Temple Architecture, Classical Music and Folk Dance etc., which attract tourists in the state and generate direct and indirect employment and revenue for the State.
During the calendar year 2019, the number of tourist visits in Rajasthan was 538.26 lakh (522.20 lakh domestic visits and 16.06 lakh visits by foreigners). As per Economic Review of Rajasthan 2020, in the calendar year 2020 despite covid-19, the number of tourist visits in Rajasthan was 155.63 lakh (151.17 lakh domestic visits and 4.46 lakh visits by foreigners).
The major chunk of tourists visits Rajasthan not only to get acquaintance with its iconic heritages and marvellous masterpieces but also to quench their spiritual thirst and pray with heart and soul. Be it mosque or temple; Rajasthan is bestowed with shrines of multiple religion that evokes a pure feeling of dignity and communal harmony.
In the 2021-22 budget, the Rajasthan government has allocated Rs. 100 crores for development of religious tourist circuit connecting places of worship of Sikhs, Jains, Hindus, and Muslims in order to develop ‘Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava’.
In budget 2020-21, the state government decided to renovate 11 religious sites to promote religious tourism in state.
Central government Schemes:
- Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme, Ministry of Tourism:
- Development of Ajmer under PRASAD scheme
- Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) Scheme, Ministry of Urban affairs
- Development of Ajmer under HRIDAY scheme
- Swadesh Darshan, Ministry of Tourism
Religious Tourist Circuits in Rajasthan
Few of the many sites which can be created as circuits are:
- Brahma Temple, Puskar
- Karni Mata temple, Udaipur
- Varaha Temple Pushkar
- Deo Somnath Temple Dungarpur
- Khwaza Garib Nawaz Dargah, Ajmer
- Abdullah Pir Dargah, Banswara
- Jama Masjid, Jaipur
- Dargah of Adharshila, Kota
- Shri MahavirJi Jain temple
- Dilwara Temple
- Shri Mahavirji Jain, Karauli
- Jain Temple, Ranakpur
Way Ahead: What more can be done?
- Developing Religious Tourism Circuits through a Hub and Spoke Model
- Providing the tourists with a holistic tourism experience
- Marketing religious tourism destinations needs special training as quite a major part of the visitors are attracted to these destinations due to reasons like studying old culture, evolution of practices and research.
- Developing integrated infrastructure for religious tourism development
- Enhanced emphasis of minimizing the impact on the environment and maintaining the ecological balance
- Scrutiny of religious trusts