Taking a leaf from the vibrant night markets in Asia that give tourists close-up
look of life there, the Indian Government is contemplating a slew of measures providing a gamut of
experiences to draw in travellers.
For visitors there is the undeniable attraction in discovering exciting tourist hotspots by hanging around
in bars, discotheques and restaurant lounges to soak in the experience of a city. On the bill are a range
of experiences available sundown ranging from evening cruises, illumination of monuments, sound and
light shows, evening arti, night bazaars and fairs.
While all night open restaurants and night markets are being considered by the Tourism Ministry
to promote tourism, Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism K J is clear that this
meant 'wholesome entertainment' and not night clubs.
Activities around monuments after sunset which could be illuminated after dark are expected to
prove a huge draw.
According to the Minister, "We need to have clean entertainment like shopping, restaurants that's
how you make big money. We cannot just earn through ticketing monuments, we need to have
activities around the monuments too after dark."
The Tourism Ministry under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan-Integrated development of theme
based tourist circuits and PRASHAD-National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual,
Heritage Augmentation Drive is providing Central Financial Assistance to state governments/Union
Territory Administrations/Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
While some night time markets operate year-round, those which pop up only on weekends or are
seasonal are equally big draws.
Funding will be provided for illuminated monuments, illumination of heritage streets, sound and light
shows and laser shows, street lighting, high mast lights, amphitheatres, tourist villages which would
help in promoting tourism to these destinations after sunset as well.
Under various thematic circuits of the Swadesh Darshan scheme, a sum of Rs 5,638.87 crore has been
sanctioned for 67 projects so far, Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism K J Alphons told
the Rajya Sabha in a written reply in Rajya Sabha earlier this month.
The Centre is funding 11 projects at a cost of Rs 895.98 crore under Coastal Circuit tourism, followed by
Rs 780.23 crore for nine projects under the Heritage Circuit and Rs 723.57 crore for developing eight
projects in the North-East Circuit.
The Ministry is developing 10 projects under the Spiritual Circuit at a cost of Rs 678 crore. Next is
the Himalayan Circuit which is receiving funds worth Rs 668.95 crore towards seven projects and
Rs 460.74 crore will go to five projects in the Eco Circuit.
An amount of Rs 381.37 crore has been earmarked for four projects in the Tribal Circuit while the
already popular Buddhist Circuit will get an outlay of Rs 361.97 crore for five projects. For two projects
in the Ramayana Circuit, the Centre has allocated Rs 202.76 crore.
Another relatively new circuit -- Krishna Circuit -- will get Rs 188.8 crore in funds for developing two
projects, marginally higher than the Wildlife Circuit which will get Rs 187.89 crore for two projects.
Bringing up the list are the Desert Circuit (Hot and Cold desert) for which the Centre has announced
outlay of Rs 63.96 crore and the Rural Circuit which has received Rs 44.65 crore for developing one