A view of the Solah Kambha Mosque in Bidar Fort. The administration wants to promote heritage tourism in the city.— FILE PHOTO
The district administration launched ‘Tourism Expo’, a tourism promotion event to introduced Bidar to tour operators from across the country, in Bidar on Tuesday.
Tour operators from New Delhi, Cochin, Hyderabad, Hampi, Vijayapura and Maharashtra participated in a heritage walk around the old town in the morning. History and archaeology experts took them around historical houses.
B.G. Shetkar, president, Bidar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, flagged off the heritage walk. He said local business persons were eager to welcome tour operators and provide them necessary infrastructure benefits and amenities.
The tour started from Choubarah, and passed through the small lanes of the old city lined with heritage houses as well as the Madrassa of Mahamud Gawan and ended at the Bidar Fort.
Govindan Kutty, head of the team that prepared the heritage master plan for the city, said 350 houses that were over 200 years old were identified as heritage houses. At least ten per cent of them can be converted into heritage homestays, he said.
Later at the Zilla Panchayat, senior officials interacted with the tour operators and assured cooperation. M. Sultan from New Delhi pointed out that clean hotels built at low budgets could help tourist stay overnight at Bidar. Now, most tourists come from Hyderabad, stay for a few hours and go back by evening. “We should try and retain them overnight,” he said. He strongly favoured conversion of heritage houses into home stays.
B. Venkatachalam from Hyderabad said the City Municipal Council should construct toilets near public places of tourist potential.
Dusan Deak, from Slovakia who is a frequent traveller to India, pointed out that Tourism Department should develop separate circuits for tourists with different tastes. Those interested in forts should be taken to the Fort and related monuments.
Others could be taken to spiritual places with Sufi, Datta and Natha Pantha traditions. The rest can be taken to see water structures like the Karez underground aqua ducts, terracotta pipes lines that supply water in heritage structures and the step wells in the nearby farms, he said.
Vinay Malage, coordinator of Team YUVA, a youth association suggested young travellers could be taken on jungle treks.
P.C. Jaffer, Deputy Commissioner, said the district administration was already in talks with some hotel chains. “We are hopeful of starting one soon,” he said.
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