Efforts to promote ancient cultural heritage from tourism point of view

The State Government has initiated a new scheme “Dev Bhoomi Darshan” for senior citizens of the age group above 70 years to visit famous places and temples in the State. This facility of free travel has been provided to the citizens of the age group of more than 80 years, whereas lesser age group senior citizens will be given 50 percent discount in the travel package. A member will be allowed to travel as an assistant with older persons over 80 years of age who will be entitled to 80 percent discount in the fare.

The main objective of Dev Bhoomi Darshan scheme is to provide comfortable and better transport facilities for the elderly persons visiting religious places with the view to protect this vulnerable class of society from social neglect and loneliness. Due to the lack of financial constraints and facilities, senior citizens are unable to travel the religious places.

This scheme will fulfill the dream of elderly persons of Himachal Pradesh who wish to undertake religious pilgrimage. This scheme will be implemented in all the district headquarters so that maximum senior citizens can avail this benefit. In order to implement the scheme, district committees will be formed under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, who will complete the other formalities for implementing the scheme.

The travel period will be about one week and the income of the elderly persons should not be more than one lakh rupees for availing this facility. The benefits of this scheme can only be claimed by the elderly persons of Himachal Pradesh. The facility of travelling will be available only once in three years.

The State is also considered as a treasure of cultural, historical and archeological heritage. To utilize this aspect in the view of tourism, the State government has started a new scheme called ‘Aaj Purani Rahon Se’ with the aim of conserving and promoting the unexplored aspects of ancient cultural heritage and facilitating tourists with cultural heritage tourism. Under this scheme, by providing proper training to youth having education till plus two will be assigned as cultural guides so that they can inform the tourists about the State’s culture, history, folk songs and popular beliefs. While this scheme provides employment opportunities to the youth, tourism activities will also be encouraged.

For the implementation of this scheme, a State level cultural periphery committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Languages, Arts and Culture, in which Secretary of the Department has been made Member Secretary. The responsibility has been entrusted to the District Magistrate on the district level so that monuments and places could be selected at the district level to be included in the scheme. In the selection of monuments, the suggestions of local MLAs and travel agents, tour operators and hotel organizations will also be taken into consideration.

The main objective of this scheme is to revive the extinct cultural heritage in every district, to set up signages, historical figures of great persons and monuments, the history of important places and maps, promoting Home Stay scheme thereby providing employment opportunities to the youth as a guide.