Bidar has such a potential for heritage tourism that it can be developed into one of the most important places on the heritage map of India, a senior heritage tourism promoter has said.
Speaking at a meeting of stakeholders here on Thursday, Debashish Nayak, director, Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University, said that Karez, the underground water supply canal system built in the medieval period, town planning designs, and the fortification in Bidar were unique. Using these as the base, promotion of heritage could be taken up on a comprehensive scale, he said.
He cited examples from cities like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Patiala and Amritsar that had successfully promoted heritage tourism.
He urged the district administration to utilise schools and colleges to promote discussions about heritage conservation and tourism promotion. A series of art, photography and sculpture workshops were conducted using colleges and universities in Ahmedabad and Jaipur. This not only created awareness about tourism promotion efforts being taken up by the government, but also ensured that visitors gained a lot of knowledge about history and culture of these towns, Dr. Nayak said. He gave tips to officers on how to utilise MP and MLA local area development funds for heritage conservation works and to ensure coordination of various departments to ensure fast results. He told them to form clusters of handicraftsmen, weavers, folk artists and classical musicians and performers so that they can be used in tourism promotion efforts.
He urged volunteers to develop a sense of involvement with the city and its monuments. A city’s heritage has to be conserved by its residents. Officials will come and go. Residents can not depend on them for carrying on the effort of heritage conservation, he said.
He observed that builders and traders took greater interest in heritage conservation after they realised that it increased their profits.
He said that Heritage Walks were the most visible of tourism promotion measures. Tourists were attracted to cities through such walks. He said that Ahmedabad was among the first Indian cities to be included in the World Monument Fund list in 1996. Bidar had been listed this year.