Now, ‘connect’ with eminent personalities

Tribune News Service

Tourists visiting the picturesque locales in Himachal can now choose a place connected with an eminent personality or a heritage site, as circuits are being prepared, which will link the connection of people such as Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Rudyard Kipling and Ruskin Bond with the state.

The Department of Language, Art and Culture has already identified a list of 1,147 such sites and personalities, who have had an association with the state even if it dates back to centuries.

These circuits will be developed under the scheme ‘Aaj Purani Rahon Se’as  announced by the CM in the Budget. “Each circuit will have a code and will link all places with which these eminent people have had some connection during their stay or visit to the state,” said KK Sharma, director, Department of Language, Art and Culture.

He said the department will identify some walking trails also as most places in the state never had roads a century ago when some of these people stayed here. A majority of these places such as Haripur-Guler in Kangra, Janjheli in Mandi, Haripur Dhar in Sirmaur, Anni in Kullu are lesser known virgin destinations, he said.

The department has chalked out an extensive plan to prepare maps indicating these personalities and places. Signages will be put up, so that it is easy to locate besides publicising these on the sites of various departments such as Tourism and Language, Art and Culture.

There will be a quick click facility, where the details of the site or the personality can be obtained on the website. To enable adequate publicity of these unexplored destinations, the department will undertake capacity building by training guides in all districts. “To begin with, we will take the services of about 50 guides already working with the Tourism Department,” he said.

Plans are afoot to prepare souvenirs and other artifacts from HP such as Kangra miniature paintings, Chamba Rumaal, Kullu and Kinnauri shawls, bronze products, black pottery, wooden handicrafts, so that tourists can easily purchase authentic products. These will be put up for sale at all HPTDC hotels and at Himachal Bhawan at Chandigarh and Delhi.

The luminaries

Eminent personalities who visited the state include Mahatma Gandhi, who visited Shimla several times around Independence; Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who stayed in a cottage close to the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Chaura Maidan; AO Hume, a British civil servant who lived in a cottage Rothney Castle in Jakhu and was one of the founders of the Indian National Congress; Renowned writers, poets and novelists including Rudyard Kipling, Ruskind Bond. The list will also include names like Anupam Kher; Preity Zinta; Kangana Ranaut; former Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq, who studied at a local school; former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who studied at St Edward’s School; and former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who studied at HPU.