India’s Ministry of Tourism has approved the development of new tourism circuits in five states, worth a total of INR4.5 billion (US$68m).
The funds, which have been allocated under the country’s Swadesh Darshan scheme, will go towards the improvement and creation of tourism infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim.
In the central state of Madhya Pradesh, INR1bn will be invested in the development of a series of facilities on the Heritage Circuit, including a theme park and convention centre in Khajuraho, and a light and sound show in Mandu. This circuit will also extend to Uttarakhand, where INR830m will be spent on new ecotourism huts, upgrades to temples and a sound and light show.
A Coastal Circuit in the southern state of Tamil Nadu will see INR1bn invested in a sound and light show, new beach amenities, and the construction of a pedestrian bridge between the Tiruvalluvar Statue and Vivekananda Rock Memorial.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Ramayana Circuit will focus on two destinations: Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. With a budget of INR700m, the project includes a new food plaza, laser show, a tourist centre, parking areas, and a footbridge connecting the state with neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
And finally in the Himalayan state of Sikkim, INR955m will be spent on ecotourism lodges, a cultural centre, paragliding centre, craft bazaar, mountaineering camp and meditation hall, as part of the North East Circuit.