– Dr. Anukrati Sharma
Rajasthan is a land of traditions and culture. It holds a unique status with its diverse and distinct heritage, culture, tradition, monuments, arts, crafts, architectural style, customs, fairs and festivals. The state is filled with different tourist places. In Rajasthan the most important cities from the aspect of tourist arrivals are Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Mount Abu, Kota, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Bundi.
Rajasthan tourism is not only famous for its forts, palaces, heritage, wildlife, but also popular for its Temple Tourism. The state is offering lots of destinations to the tourists. Among these, the temples carry distinct images and features. Some of the famous temples like Dilwara, Ranakpur, Lord Brahma Temple etc. have succeeded in getting a prominent status on the tourism map. Not only the temples that are located in the major cities, but those which are located in small villages, such as Salasar (Salasar Balaji), Khatu (Khatu Shyam), Jeen Mata, Jhunjhunu (Rani Sati Temple),Shakambhari Mata, Lohargal, Bijolia, Keshavrai Patan, Surya Mandir, Chandrabhaga Temple of Jhalara Patan, Unhel Jain Temple etc. have their own importance and attractions. The tourism industry is one of the largest industries of the state in creating employment opportunities and earnings. The state broadly covers the following tourisms – Heritage, Pilgrimage, Medical, Wedding, Wildlife and MICE tourism.
Popularity of temples of Rajasthan is no more a hidden secret. The temples of the state can amaze the visitors (and devotees) in many terms. The temples are not only famous and attractive to the domestic tourists; they also attract the foreign tourists. These temples have their own charm, distinct architecture, and significance. Temple tourism of Rajasthan needs to be supported by framing the appropriate marketing strategies. Especially, the promotion of the temples is a pre-requisite. The promotion can be more beneficial if it is carried out with the help of internet, social networking and promotional websites. Secondly, the major issues of concern in the temples of Rajasthan are about the hygiene, food facilities and security of the tourists which must be taken care of. Another step which the public and private sectors, involved in tourism industry can take is offering the visitors attractive group packages for different temples of the state.
There is great scope and immense opportunities in temple tourism of the state although not much has been done so far. Many of the temples despite being wonderful and having unique structures and significance are just considered as places of worship. Temples like Kanusa Dham Shiv temple of Kota, Charchoma Shiv Temple, Budadit Surya Temple near Baran come under the Archeological Survey India and have rare architectural beauty of their own but we hardly find them on the tourist map. Tourist can find here some o f the most incredible stone carvings. Many existing things need to be improved, mainly the civic amenities such as drinking water, accommodation and transportations of visitors / tourists / pilgrimages. The managing bodies of these temples need to change from their traditional structures to more professionally managed structures and should be headed by well trained professionals so that every activity of a particular temple can be monitored and promoted effectively. Providing adequate security to visitors is also the prime duty of the temples. During the festivals, extra security should be deployed at all sensitive places. Launch of temples’ websites with their entire details including histories, timings, bookings, reservation of tickets etc. should be undertaken. In spite of rich culture, exquisite sculptures, intricate carvings on the stones and mystic elegance, the temples of Rajasthan have been the least explored, especially those in the regions of Hadoti and Shekhawati. These unexplored temples are most important architectural landmarks for their iconography. It is the high time when the government, private sector and the community promote these hidden treasures. The more opportunity we will give to the tourists, the more importance we will get on the tourism map .We may offer tours and packages exclusively for Rajasthan Pilgrimage or Temple Tours of Rajasthan. Although the government is playing a vital role in the marketing and promotion of tourism in the state, some more efforts are needed to develop the Temple Tourism of Rajasthan.