Uttar Pradesh, home of Taj Mahal, isspreading the heritage experience by adding two more ethnic cities to the bouquet. India’s biggest state with 200 million population and 5000 year old history is aggressively adding tourism infrastructure and making concerted efforts to create awareness on its many attractions. It invited travel writers and bloggers from across the world to showcase its Heritage Arc consisting of Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi.
Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP), said at the first Uttar Pradesh Travel Writers conclave on Tuesday: “Taj Mahal is known world over but few know that it is in Uttar Pradesh that also has plenty of other heritage attractions. We have clubbed three main cities of Agra, known for its Taj Mahal, capital Lucknow, known for its cuisine,art, culture and handicraft and the ethnic city of Varanasi on the banks of sacred river Ganges to create the attractive Heritage Arc. Natural and other attractions around these will also be highlighted”
Young Chief Minister who holds a degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Sydney has initiated the annual Travel Writers conclave. As a first, the state hosted 38 travel writers to experience one among the three cities for three days.
Mariellen Ward, a blogger from Canada said: “Varanasi is microcosm of India and I love its vibrancy. This is my second visit here and I still feel there’s a lot to see and learn. I will come back.” Morning and evening aarti (worship) to the sacred river Ganges at the riverfront is an unforgettable experience, almost like a well orchestered dance in ethnic costumes.
Mr Yadav said: “We have created required infrastructure and are in the process of adding more facilities for tourists visiting thesehistoric cities.Two phases of the new 376 acre Janeshwar Mishra park with many water bodies, open airgymnasium and walking and jogging tracks in the heart of Lucknow city is ready. The third phase will have water sports and gondola rides that will open for public on 22nd December.”
UP has nine wildlife circuits and an important Buddhist circuit including Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first sermons.
A Moghul museum in Agra, metro train connectivity within Lucknow city by next year end and cleansing of river Ganges and beautification of ghats (historic river front) at Varanasi are being carried out.
Written by Anand & Madhura Katti