The country is looking at tourism in a holistic way: PM Modi

Published By : Admin | January 21, 2022 | 11:17 IST
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“The circumstances in which Somnath temple was destroyed, and the circumstances in which the temple was renovated by the efforts of Sardar Patel, both carry a big message”
“Today, development of tourist centres is not just a part of the government schemes, but a campaign of public participation. The country's heritage sites and the development of our cultural heritage are great examples of this”
The country is looking at tourism in a holistic way. Factors like cleanliness, convenience, time and thinking are going into tourism planning
“It is necessary for our thinking to be innovative and modern. But at the same time it matters a lot that how proud we are of our ancient heritage”

Jai Somnath!

Present in the program are Gujarat Chief Minister Shri Bhupendrabhai Patel, State BJP President and my colleague in Parliament Shri CR Patil ji, Ministers in Gujarat Government, Purnesh Modi, Arvind Raiyani and Devabhai Malam, Junagadh MP Rajesh Chudasama, members of the Somnath Temple Trust, other excellencies and ladies and gentlemen!

It is said in our scriptures in reverence of Lord Somnath --

भक्ति प्रदानाय कृपा अवतीर्णम्, तम् सोमनाथम् शरणम् प्रपद्ये॥

That is, the blessing of Lord Somnath is personified and the treasury of blessings is opened. It is the special blessings of Somnath Dada that a series of development works are being carried out here for some time. I consider it the privilege that I am watching so many activities after joining the Somnath Trust. Several development works, including an exhibition gallery and promenade, were inaugurated here a few months ago. The foundation stone of the Parvati temple was also laid. And today, the Somnath Circuit House is also being inaugurated. I extend hearty congratulations to the Government of Gujarat, the Somnath Temple Trust and all of you on this important occasion.

Friends,

The need for a Circuit House was felt here. In the absence of the Circuit House, there was a lot of pressure on the temple trust for arranging accommodation for those coming from outside. The pressure on the temple has also reduced considerably with the opening of this Circuit House, an independent system. And it is also not too far away from the temple. Now they (trustees) will be able to concentrate more on the temple chores. I am told that this building has been designed in such a way that people staying here would also get a sea view. That is, when people sit in their rooms peacefully, they would also see the waves of the sea as well as the peak of Somnath. In the midst of the waves of the sea and the peak of Somnath, they would also see the consciousness of India standing proud by tearing the forces of time. Be it Diu, Gir, Dwarka, Veda Dwarka, Somnath will in a way become a focal point of the entire tourism sector due to these increasing facilities for those traveling this region. It will become a very important power center.

Friends,

When we look at the journey of our civilization full of challenges, we get an idea of ​​what India has gone through in hundreds of years of slavery. The circumstances in which the Somnath temple was destroyed, and the circumstances in which the temple was renovated by the efforts of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, have a great message for us. The places of faith and culture like Somnath are important centers of what we want to learn from the past of the country during the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom.

Friends,

About one crore devotees come every year to visit the Somnath temple from different states, from different parts of the country and the world. Upon their return, these devotees carry with them many new experiences, ideas and beliefs. Therefore, the more important a journey is, the equally important is its experience. Especially in pilgrimage, we wish that our mind is rooted in God and we are not bothered about problems related to the journey. Somnath temple is also a living example of how the efforts of the government and institutions have decorated many pilgrimage centers. Now there are better arrangements for the devotees and improvement in roads and transport facilities. A better promenade, parking facilities, tourist facilitation center and modern arrangements for waste management have also been developed for cleanliness. The proposal for a splendid Pilgrim Plaza and Complex is also in its final stages. Just now, our Purneshbhai was describing it too. Plans are afoot for a similar development of tourist amenities at Maa Ambaji temple. We have already completed many such development works at Dwarkadhish Temple, Rukmani Temple and Gomti Ghat. These are providing convenience to the tourists and also strengthening the cultural identity of Gujarat.

In the midst of these achievements, I would also like to thank and congratulate all the religious and social organizations of Gujarat on this occasion. The way you are continuing with development and service tasks at a personal level is the best example of the spirit of ‘Sabka Prayas’ (everybody’s effort) from my point of view. The way the Somnath Temple Trust took care of the devotees in the wake of difficulties arising out of Corona and took up the responsibility of society reflects our belief that Shiva is in every creature.

Friends,

We hear about the contribution of tourism to the economy of many countries and it is prominently showcased. We have as much potential as it is in each country of the world in every state and region. There are endless such possibilities. You take the name of any state, what comes to mind first? If you take the name of Gujarat, then Somnath, Dwarka, Statue of Unity, Dholavira, Rann of Kutch and many such wonderful places emerge in your mind. If you take the name of UP, then many places like Ayodhya, Mathura, Kashi, Prayag, Kushinagar, Vindhyachal swamp our minds. The common man always has the desire to visit all these places. Uttarakhand is Devbhoomi in itself. Badrinath ji, Kedarnath ji are there. Talking about Himachal Pradesh, Maa Jwaladevi, Maa Nainadevi are there. The entire Northeast is full of divine and natural aura. Similarly, the names of Tamil Nadu for visiting Rameshwaram, Odisha for Puri, Andhra Pradesh for Tirupati Balaji, Maharashtra for Siddhivinayak ji and Kerala for Sabarimala come to mind. Whichever state you name, many centers of pilgrimage and tourism will come to our mind. These places represent the spirit of our national unity and ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ (One India, Supreme India). Visiting these places enhances national integration. Today the nation is also identifying these places as a staunch source of prosperity. With the development of these places, we can accelerate the development of a large sphere.

Friends,

The country has been working relentlessly for the last seven years to realize the potential of tourism. The development of tourist centers is not just a part of the government scheme, but a campaign of public participation. The heritage sites of the country and the development of our cultural heritage is great example of this. The heritage sites which were lying neglected earlier are now being developed with the efforts of everyone. The private sector has also come forward to cooperate in this regard. Campaigns like Incredible India and Dekho Apna Desh are placing the pride of the country in front of the world and promoting tourism.

Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, 15 theme-based tourist circuits are also being developed in the country. These circuits not only connect different parts of the country but also facilitate tourism by giving it a new identity. Through the Ramayana circuit, you can visit all the places associated with Lord Rama. A special train has also been launched by the Railways in this regard and I am told that it is becoming very popular.

A special train is also going to start from Delhi for Divya Kashi Yatra from tomorrow. Buddha Circuit is making it convenient for tourists from India and abroad to visit all the places of Lord Buddha. Visa rules have also been relaxed for foreign tourists, which will also benefit the country. Right now, there are some problems due to Covid, but I believe the number of tourists will pick up again once the infection subsides. In the vaccination campaign launched by the government, special care has also been taken to ensure that everyone gets vaccinated on a priority basis in our tourist states. States like Goa and Uttarakhand have made rapid progress in this regard.

Friends,

Today the country is looking at tourism in a holistic way. In the present circumstances, four things are necessary to boost tourism. First, cleanliness -- earlier our tourist and pilgrimage places used to be untidy. Today the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has changed this image. With increased cleanliness, tourism is also booming. Another important factor in promoting tourism is convenience. But the scope of facilities should not be restricted to tourist places only. There should be facilities for transport, internet, correct information, medical arrangements and all kinds. And all-round work is happening in the country in this regard.

Friends,

Time is the third important aspect of increasing tourism. It is the era of Twenty-Twenty. People want to cover maximum places in minimum time. The highways, expressways, modern trains and new airports in the country are helping a lot in this regard. Airfares have also come down significantly due to the UDAN scheme. That is, with the reduction in travel time, expenses are coming down and tourism is also flourishing. If we look at Gujarat itself, we have a ropeway in Banaskantha for visiting Ambaji, Pavagadh for visiting Kalika Mata, now there is a ropeway in Girnar and in Satpura, so in all, four ropeways are in place. After the introduction of these ropeways, the convenience of tourists has increased and the number of tourists is also increasing. Right now, many things have come to a halt under the influence of Corona, but we have seen that when school and college students go on education tours, these historical places also teach a lot to them. When facilities are improving at such places across the country, the students will also be able to learn and understand easily and their attachment with the country's heritage will also strengthen.

Friends,

The fourth and very important aspect to increase tourism is our thinking. It is necessary for our thinking to be innovative and modern. But at the same time, we should also be proud of our ancient heritage. It matters a lot. We have this pride in us, and therefore, we are bringing back the stolen idols from India, old heritage from all over the world. Our ancestors have left so much for us. But there was a time when it was hesitant to talk about our religious-cultural identity. The makeover happened only for a few families in Delhi after independence. But today the country is leaving behind that narrow approach and is building new places of pride and giving them grandeur. It is our government that built Baba Saheb Memorial in Delhi. It is our own government that built the APJ Abdul Kalam memorial in Rameshwaram. Similarly, grandeur has been added to places associated with great personalities like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Shyamji Krishna Varma. Adivasi (tribal) museums are also being built across the country to bring to the fore the glorious history of our tribal society. The Statue of Unity built in Kevadiya is the pride of the entire country. Before the start of the Corona period, more than 45 lakh people had already visited the Statue of Unity. Despite the Corona period, more than 75 lakh people have visited the Statue of Unity so far. This is the potential and charm of our newly built places. These efforts will also give a new height to our identity along with tourism in the time to come.

And friends,

When I talk about ‘Vocal for Local’, I have seen some people thinking that Modi's ‘Vocal for Local’ means where to buy lamps during Diwali. Don't limit its meaning to that sense, please. When I suggest ‘Vocal for Local’, there is tourism also in my view. I always insist that if there is a desire of the children in the family to go abroad, to go to Dubai or Singapore, then the family should decide to visit 15-10 important places of the country before planning to go abroad. Experience India first before visiting other places in the world!

Friends,

We need to adopt ‘Vocal for Local’ in every sphere of life. We need to follow this path if we have to make the country prosperous and create opportunities for the youth. During the Amrit Mahotsav of freedom, we are taking a pledge for an India which will be as modern as it is rooted in its traditions. Our pilgrimage and tourist places will work to fill color in this new India. These will become symbols of both our heritage and development. I am confident this relentless journey of the development of the country will continue with the blessings of Somnath Dada.

Once again, I congratulate all of you on the new Circuit House.

Thank you very much.

Jai Somnath!

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