Wednesday March 20, 2019

Mathura: Ripe destination for domestic tourists

0
//
source: indiatourismpoint.com
source: indiatourismpoint.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Mathura:  Mathura district has evolved from a major pilgrimage centre for the Hindus to a major tourism hub for visitors from within the country.

Around 10 crore people annually visit the holy places connected with Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha — mostly for circling the holy Goverdhan hill that the Lord Vishnu incarnate lifted on his little finger.

With a string of festivals taking place round the year, there are no seasonal ups and downs here, as the district is fast evolving as a favourite getaway for busy urbanites from the national capital, who wish to mix pleasure with religion.

In recent years, the Braj circuit that also includes Agra, has become very popular. Weekend tourism has picked up and visitors are combining pilgrimage with pleasure. Mathura’s profile is all set to further change as it has been listed as a heritage city for development.

“No other district in India attracts so many visitors — call them pilgrims or tourists — as Mathura district does. The pressure never ends. It is the favourite getaway point for people from Haryana, Punjab and Delhi who drive in through the Yamuna Expressway over the weekends or on festivals,” says restaurant owner Mahesh Kumar.

The ghats of the Yamuna river in Mathura and Vrindavan — where the evening ‘aartis‘ have become a major attraction for the pilgrims, the Mathura museum, the Birla Mandir, dozens of ashrams in Vrindavan, the temple of Bihari-ji, Rangji temple, the renovated Brahm Kund, the newly- constructed Prem Mandir and the ISKCON temple are among those figuring high on the list for tourists.

Vrindavan, with over 2,500 small and big temples, and scores of sprawling ashrams of the old and new-age gurus, is now just 90-minute drive from Noida via the Yamuna Expressway.

For the vegetarians, Mathura and Vrindavan provide a wide choice of foods and sweets made of milk. “No visitor forgets to buy the famous Mathura peda,” says Mangal Shukla, a panda in Vrindavan.

The transformation of the district into a major tourist hub has been facilitated by the state government, which is executing a dozen-odd infrastructural projects in the district to provide better and efficient connectivity, parking slots, shelter homes and a ‘haat’ for local products that include dresses for deities, garlands of diverse range, brass statues, hindolas and ritualistic paraphernalia. The silver industry of Mathura has emerged as a major revenue generator for the district.

“The Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority has taken up many projects for providing facilities to domestic tourists. Mathura parliamentarian Hema Malini wants to exploit the tourism potential of the district for economic development.

“She has adopted Radha’s birthplace Raval for development. Better road connectivity has helped increase tourist inflow to Gokul, Mahavan, Goverdhan, Barsana and Nandgaon,” say members of the Braj Bachao Samiti in Mathura.

Work on a ropeway to connect the Radha temple on the hill in Barsana has begun along with widening of the road from the Yamuna Expressway to Vrindavan. Even the road to Goverdhan is being beautified and the 21-km ‘parikrama marg‘ has been streamlined.

“In Goverdhan, a number of hotels have come up while Vrindavan too boasts of quality hotels. The hotel industry in Mathura is upbeat as business has picked up in recent years. A large number of political conventions are now regularly held in Vrindavan, which has brought the area on the tourism map,” says guest-house owner Rakesh Sharma.

Earlier, only the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh held its conferences in Vrindavan, but now the Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Choudhary Ajit Singh and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too have been attracted by the charm of Vrindavan.

(With inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Human Rights Situation in North Korea Needs Reforms

In all areas related to the enjoyment of economic and social rights, including health, housing, education, social security, employment, food, water and sanitation, much of the country’s population is being left behind

0
United Nations special rapporteur on the rights situation in North Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana attends a press conference following his report on the country to the Human Rights Council, March 12, 2018 in Geneva. A year later, little has changed. (VOA)

Despite more than a year of international engagement and promises of economic reform by North Korea’s leaders, the human rights situation in the isolated country remains dire, a top U.N. rights official said Friday.

Blocked by the government from visiting North Korea, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea Tomas Quintana visited South Korea this week as part of an investigation that will be provided to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March.

North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a factory in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, Aug. 7, 2018. (VOA)

Noting that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has embarked on an effort to improve living conditions by focusing on economic development, Quintana said his preliminary findings showed those efforts had not translated into improvements in the lives of most people.

“The fact is, that with all the positive developments the world has witnessed in the last year, it is all the more regrettable that the reality for human rights on the ground remains unchanged, and continues to be extremely serious,” he told reporters at a briefing in Seoul.

“In all areas related to the enjoyment of economic and social rights, including health, housing, education, social security, employment, food, water and sanitation, much of the country’s population is being left behind,” Quintana added.

North Korea, Humaqn Rights
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

Left out of talks

North Korea denies human rights abuses and says the issue is used by the international community as a political ploy to isolate it.

Human rights were noticeably absent from talks between Kim and the leaders of South Korea and the United States last year, over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

But in December, the United States imposed sanctions on an additional three North Korean officials, including a top aide to Kim, for serious rights abuses and censorship.

North Korea’s foreign ministry warned in a statement after the December sanctions were announced, that the measures could lead to a return to “exchanges of fire” and North Korea’s disarming could be blocked forever.

Kim acknowledgement

While noting he had “no specific information” on whether international sanctions were hurting ordinary North Koreans, Quintana said the sanctions targeted the economy as a whole and “raised questions” about the possible impact on the public.

He cited a reference by Kim in his new year message to the need to improve living standards, saying it was a rare acknowledgement of the economic and social hardships faced by many North Koreans.

Also Read- Congo’s Presidential Election’s Result Spark Protests, Anger

Still, the United Nations has confirmed the continued use of political prison camps housing “thousands” of inmates, Quintana said, quoting one source as saying “the whole country is a prison.”

He said witnesses who recently left North Korea reported facing widespread discrimination, labor exploitation and corruption in daily life.

There is also a “continuing pattern of ill-treatment and torture” of defectors who escaped to China only to be returned to North Korea by Chinese authorities, Quintana said. (VOA)