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Andhra to promote temple tourism in a big way

Centre sanctions Rs.55 crore for Simhachalam

Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao at a review meeting in Visakhapatnam on Friday

Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao at a review meeting in Visakhapatnam on Friday

The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs.55 crore under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) for development of the Sri Varaha Narasimha Swamy temple in Andhra Pradesh.

As part of promoting temple tourism in a big way, the State Government has decided to give a facelift to the facilities at all the famous temples. Kanaka Durga temple at Vijayawada and other temples will have more amenities for the pilgrims.

Tourism Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao told reporters here on Friday after a review meeting that they wanted to boost revenue and increase employment opportunities by giving a fillip to religious tourism.

He said the augmentation plan includes accommodation, medicinal plants, gardens, prayer halls and meditation centres special track for those wishing to trek the Simhachalam hills to have darshan of the presiding deity, a waiting room for 2,000 devotees and development of Varaha Pushkarani.

Rao said he was happy that the Centre has provided the funds under the PRASAD scheme. The funds are sanctioned in response to a representation to Union Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy.

He thanked the Centre for sending a committee to examine the proposals.

He said the proposals for the development of the Simhachalam temple had been sent in the past but the sanction was delayed due to the pandemic. Proposals worth Rs.70 crore were sent for temple development works out of which Rs.55 crore has been sanctioned, the Minister said. The Simhachalam stairway from Madhavadhara will be restored and made available for use.

As part of the development of Pushkarini, construction of bathing ghats, dress changing rooms, lighting and landscaping will be developed for the convenience of the devotees. Due to the large number of devotees making a beeline to the holy shrine on weekends, Ekadashi and Chandanotsavam, it has been decided to improve the queue complex on the lines of Tirumala.

On the day of Gurupurnima, ghat road will be developed for trekking from various areas of Visakhapatnam-similar to the temple at Lord Shiva temple at Arunachalam.

The Minister said that all these works will be started soon and made available to the devotees. He said proposals have been sent to the Centre to develop several famous shrines in the State, including Srisailam, Bejawada Kanakadurgamma Temple, Satyanarayana Swamy temple at Annavaram near Tuni and Sun God Temple at Arasavalli in Srikakulam under the PRASAD scheme.

Rao also thanked Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for giving priority to the development of temple tourism in the State and Union Tourism Minister G. Kishan Reddy for responding immediately for development of amenities at Simhachalam.

Santosh Patnaik
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