Ancient Cities Set For A Makeover
Those who have visited Ayodhya may often feel that something is missing. The city does not quite live up to the expectations of the visitors who come here looking for something grand. To begin with, the narrow lanes of this ancient city are often dirty, with open drains making the air you breathe in noisome. Despite the fact that Ayodhya remains a focus area for political parties owing to its political significance, not much has been done over the years to improve the city infrastructure.
Another case in point is the city of Agra. Despite the fact that thousands of people visit the city to marvel at the beauty of the Taj Mahal, keep the visit mostly extremely short.
“UP has a rich cultural history and many world-renowned tourist spots. But, assuming that people would jump right outside of, say, the Taj Mahal without noticing the squalor and dirt at the Agra Railway Station would be delusional,” Abha Narain Lambah, a conservation architect and head of Abha Narain lambah Associates, had told the author of the article in an earlier interview.
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However, this might change soon if plans of turning 10 cities into tourist hot-spots are implemented well. Cities that are set for a makeover include Ayodhya, Gaya, Mathura, Varanasi, Sarnath, Gorakhpur, Agra, Amritsar, Kanyakumari and Guwahati.
Apart from a plush hotel and a state-of-the-art campus, these cities will have Wi-Fi-enable railway stations to attract more and more tourists. “If need be”, an airport will also be built to improve the connectivity. A panel of senior officials has already been formed for each of these cities to draw the lines of which the development work would take place, apart from calculating the estimated cost of turning the plans into a reality.
Some of these cities are going to need these upgrades more than others. It is worth mentioning here that when compared to other ancient cities in the state, Varanasi, for instance, Ayodhya is not as popular a tourist spot. Poor infrastructure is the single-biggest reason behind that.
"We want to build a tourist campus in these cities. A tourist should want to stay there and not make it a day trip. The idea is to promote local trade and industry,” a senior Tourism Ministry official was quoted in a Press Trust of India report.
“The idea is to build a whole new experience around the present site. For example, if a tourist goes to Agra, he should not come back to Delhi at the end of the day,” the official added.