Andhra Pradesh

State banks on heritage tourism to attract world attention

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It looks like the division of combined Andhra Pradesh has given a fresh lease of life to otherwise long-neglected heritage sites of immense cultural value in the 13 districts of the State. It not only spurred the Government into action to protect them but promote tourism.

Post-bifurcation, the Chandrababu Naidu Government in Andhra Pradesh is promoting cultural heritage tourism big time with a twin purpose—to create an identity for the newly-carved State by showcasing the rich cultural treasure it is endowed with, and to attract international tourists.

The current mantra of heritage tourism encompasses elements of living culture, history and natural history of places that the community values and stewards for the future. They also contribute to pride, stability, growth, and economic development.

The ancient town of Amaravati is currently witnessing development of the organic and historic linkages between the ancient town and the surrounding villages under the expertise of Amareswara Galla, Curator and International Heritage Advisor, Amaravati Ancient Town.

Born in Amaravati and having worked in Hoi An Ancient Town in Vietnam, Prof. Galla has been roped in by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to implement a sustainable developmental action plan.

His efforts are aimed at protecting the nearly 200-year- old ginning mill, historic houses in the Pujari Street, Zamindar’s house and other buildings. New attractions are being developed in the hinterland and environmental impacts are also being monitored.

The ancient Dhanyakataka, once the flourishing capital centre in the formation of Andhradesa, is all set to become the heartthrob of the lower River Krishna Valley, thanks to the much-needed flow of funds under HRIDAY and PRASAD schemes, the former focussing on heritage cities and the latter on enhancing pilgrimage destinations. Several Buddhist sites and stupas neglected for years have also seen the light of the day in the recent times.

Identifying tourism sector as a growth engine that in turn generates jobs, the Government has devised new mechanisms to showcase its cultural wealth and entice travellers from across the world.

The Lepakshi festival celebrated on a grand scale in the last week of this February, the famous Narasimha Swamy temple in Kadiri and the Buggaramalingeswara Swamy temple in Tadipatri of Anantapur district, all three under the Archaeological Survey of India, gained prominence post-division.

In Tirupati, a tourist circuit is proposed connecting temples at Kanipakam, Tirupati, Kalahasti, Gudimallam and a few other small temples. A similar scheme is in the offing for Kurnool district envisaging linking of the temples at Mantralayam, Srisailam, Mahanandi, Yaganti and Ahobilam.

The Ontimitta temple in Kadapa gained prominence after Bhadrachalam was lost to Telangana State. For the first time, the Government of AP performed the celestial Rama-Sita wedding in this temple which is now under the TTD jurisdiction.

The ancient Gandikota fort in Jammalamadugu, which is part of a tourism circuit and the Siddhavatam temple, 30 km from Kadapa are also all set for a facelift.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 7:20:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/State-banks-on-heritage-tourism-to-attract-world-attention/article14425816.ece

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