Masroor festival will be a annual fare and Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation will conduct two days cultural festival at historical Masroor rock cut temple in district Kangra.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal declared it on the occasion of first Masroor cultural festival. Masroor temples were believed to be constructed somewhere in 8th century and was one of the oldest specimen of rock cut temple. During the occasion CM said that State Government was committed to shift the focus of tourism in rural areas of the State and was endeavouring to boost religious and heritage tourism by identifying important tourist destinations in rural areas for tourism development in the State.
Chief Minister said that 21st December, 2011 would be marked as a historical day, when Masroor witnessed such type of cultural festivities wherein not only the people from the State but also from other corners of the country were present on the occasion. He said that efforts would be made to divert the flow of foreign tourists to this area and by utilizing the tourism potential available, it would also help provide direct and indirect employment to the local youth.
Chief Minister said that Government had taken a decision to develop tourism infrastructure in the State and the Tourism Department had sought financial assistance of Rs. 500 crore from Asian Development Bank for the purpose. He said that separate tourism circuit would be created for every area to ensure systemized tourism development. He said that Rs. four crore were being spent in Kangra Tourism Circuit which also includes development of Masroor temple complex. He said that to ensure tourism activities at village level the State Government had launched Home Stay Scheme which was yielding tangible results. He said that the people of the State had come forward to take benefits of this Scheme by getting registered their houses under Home Stay thereby adding new chapter in the history of rural tourism.
Chief Minister said that the research and documentation work done by N.K. Singh on Masroor rock cut temples would help in developing heritage tourism in the State. He said that State Government had passed a resolution in State Legislative assembly in which it had urged the Central Government to lift ban on construction, renovation and maintenance of ancient monuments under Archeological Survey of India (ASI) adding that such ban should be confined only to ‘particular monument’ and had urged the
Centre to lift the ban keeping in view the topography of hill State like Himachal Pradesh. He said that request had been made to ASI to give special attention on maintenance of monuments under their control and had also urged to authorize the State Government to take up repair and maintenance of heritage monuments so that these could be protected well in time and from vagaries of nature. Dhumal also praised the Tourism Department affords for taking up massive renovation of rock cut temples and said that in the times to come, the Masroor cultural festival would also be world famous as Khajuraho festival.