Camel City Bikaner Now Hopes to Take Center Stage in Rural Tourism
- Ayodhya Prasad Singh
- Published on 27 Sep 2022, 6:07 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
- Indian Masterminds' special feature on World Tourism Day 2022': Bikaner is promoting rural and orchard tourism by inviting tourists to explore its culture and enjoy its cuisine.
- Because it is a desert area, the villages around sand dunes are being promoted and tourists will get an opportunity to stay in the villagers’ huts and eat with them.
- The entire exercise is being taken up under the leadership of District Collector of Bikaner, Bhagwati Prasad Kalal, a 2011-batch IAS officer.
Rajasthan’s Bikaner is not in the forefront of the most popular tourist destinations, but, of late, it is carving out a niche for itself in the rural tourism sector. Situated in the northern region of Rajasthan, it is one of the earlier established cities and still displays its ancient opulence through palaces and forts, built of red sandstone, that have withstood the passage of time. The city boasts of some of the world’s best riding camels and is aptly nicknamed ‘camel country’. It is also home to one of the world’s largest camel research and breeding farms; as well as being known for having its own unique temple dedicated to Karni Mata at Deshnok,called the Rats Temple.
But, in recent times, tourists are flocking to Bikaner and there is a reason behind it. Along with sandy areas, citadels, havelis, historical-religious heritage, an attempt is being made to paint a new picture on the tourism map of Rajasthan through agro, rural, border and health tourism, and Bikaner is way ahead in this. A lot of work is being done in rural and orchard tourism for tourists to explore the local culture and enjoy the local cuisine. The focus is also on selling local art, culture and products through innovations within limited resources.
This entire exercise is being taken up under the leadership of District Collector of Bikaner, Bhagwati Prasad Kalal, a 2011-batch IAS officer. Indian Masterminds interacted with the officer to know about the road map for rural tourism.
RURAL TOURISM IN BIKANER
Saying that the district is progressing rapidly in the tourism sector, Mr. Kalal highlighted the famous camel festival as one of the reasons. “Many tourists come from the country and abroad to see this. This year, UNESCO and Tourism Department will organise a two-day Bikaner Festival on 16 and 17 November. It will showcase the culture of Rajasthan and Bikaner. Apart from this, our focus is on rural tourism through developing sand dunes. Because Bikaner has a desert, it can be a good opportunity for tourism. All the villages around sand dunes are being promoted by connecting them with art and culture. To promote tourism by taking art, culture, desert dunes together is our prime objective. We have identified three areas and work is underway there.”
He further said that tourists will get an opportunity to stay in the villagers’ huts and eat with them. Local species are also being planted in these places so that eco-tourism and rural tourism can be enjoyed at one place. A track is also going to be built in the desert along the sand dunes.
Apart from this, the initiative of an open live concert has been taken on the lines of foreign countries. There will also be a ‘Masala Chowk’ in front of the Town Hall. Like abroad, people can sit in an open place and enjoy food there, while live concerts are going on.
“Here the best cuisines of Bikaner will be found and live music concert will go on. It will be the most vibrant place of Bikaner. All local folk dances of Bikaner will be shown here, like the Kalbelia dance. Local folk instruments will be showcased. The construction of a Live Music Corner has already started,” the officer said.
This initiative has been taken to promote the folk dances and the local music and showcase them before tourists. There would be performances by folk artists like Langa, Manganiyar and Kalbelia and the place would be decorated keeping in mind local aesthetics and designs like stone chairs, tables and sheds. Besides coluorful lighting, there would also be a modern art based sculpture as the centerpiece.
ORCHARD TOURISM & THEATRE
Other than rural tourism, orchard tourism and theatre are also being promoted by the administration. In the former, tourists go to one place to see special farming and plantations, like the apple orchards of Himachal. Bikaner is developing Aloe Vera orchard which thrive in less water.
A theatre festival has also been started here,where artists from all over the country come to take part.
The Camel Festival is the biggest attraction of Bikaner for international tourists. The International Camel Festival for the year 2023 will be held on January 14 and 15, for the first time in the post Covid scenario, and it is being promoted in a big way through social media. Mr. Kalal said that other activities are also being planned around this event. Very soon the city will offer a heritage walk through the areas that house the historical havelis. Facilities like lighting, footpath, seating, etc. will be developed on the route.
END OF THE ARTICLE