India transforming into spiritual tourism state, says Kishan
Hyderabad: Union tourism and culture minister G. Kishan Reddy on Thursday asserted that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre is developing spiritual tourism across the country in a big way since 2015 by introducing several schemes such as PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual and Heritage Augmentation Drive) and Swadesh Darshan, among others.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi on Thursday, the minister stated that 76 projects totaling Rs 5,315 were approved under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, which was launched with a specific focus on integrated development of theme-based tourist destinations in the nation. The development of spiritual tourism was based on key themes with focus on heritage, Himalayas, and coastal regions, among others. The ministry is collaborating with the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change to promote ecotourism and wildlife travel, has funded several projects under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, and is working with the ministers of home and external affairs to simplify the visa process to make travel easier.
For the first time, the PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual and Heritage Augmentation Drive) project was introduced to provide services to pilgrims travelling to spiritual destinations, including last mile connectivity. A total of 45 projects with a combined expenditure of Rs 1,586 crore have been sanctioned since the scheme’s commencement in 2015. Further, he added that the scheme has been updated as Swadesh Darshan 2.0 with the goal of creating sustainable tourist destinations throughout the nation, and that 50 locations have been chosen for this scheme.
He added that the tourism ministry was collaborating with the road transport and highways ministry to improve the road connectivity to various tourist destinations apart from adequate amenities. The ministry of tourism sanctioned 59 tourism routes under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) UDAN-3 to provide better connectivity to important tourist places, including historical sites, he stated.