Friday September 20, 2019

Mathura: Ripe destination for domestic tourists

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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)

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State Tourism Ministers Demand Reduction Of GST On Hotels

State Tourism Ministers on Monday demanded the reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to boost tourism in the state

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Travel, Tourism, GST, Reduction, Hotels
A scenic view of Abad Hoel, Kumarakam, Kerala. Wikimedia Commons

State Tourism Ministers who met in the Kerala capital on Monday demanded the reduction, simplification and rationalisation of various taxes and levies, including the Goods and Services Tax (GST), in the tourism and travel industry to attract tourists and face global competition.

At the end of meeting here, a resolution moved by Karnataka Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi, said the reduction in GST on hotel rooms is essential to attract more tourists.

The resolution also sought measures to reduce high airfares which worsen the tough competition faced from other global destinations.

“The Tourism Ministers’ conclave 2019 at Kovalam, Kerala, notes with concern that the GST Council of India has imposed 28 per cent GST on hotel room tariff over Rs 7,500 and 18 per cent tax on rooms with tariffs between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500. This tax rate is high compared with other countries,” said the resolution adopted unanimously.

Travel, Tourism, GST, Reduction, Hotels
The resolution also sought measures to reduce high airfares which worsen the tough competition faced from other global destinations. Wikimedia Commons

“We express concern over the high airfares during peak season and festival periods, which are forcing holiday-makers to opt for economical destinations. Besides, unexpected closure of certain airlines has led to increased airfares, while minimal air connectivity with 2-tier and 3-tier cities has only compounded the problem,” it noted.

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Another resolution moved by the Odisha Tourism Minister Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi said setting up Regional Tourism Councils will facilitate periodic interaction among different states and enhance collaboration.

“We resolve to jointly promote our tourist attractions across the world in order to give a cutting edge to our campaigns,” said the second resolution.

The meeting also expressed concern over the high and varied inter-state tourist vehicle taxes and called for their rationalization across all the states to ensure seamless travel experience. (IANS)