A Bengal-centric programme in NITCHE TOURISM
'ROMANCE' OF THE PAST !
For quite a few months , I am thinking of a Project on niche tourism in the context of West Bengal. I can term it ‘Heritage Tourism’ too. It will be for people who want to learn about Bengal's history and at the same time, be at the places of historical importance and enjoy the 'romance' of the past : the architecture , art and weapons from the past, the century-old stories and tales.
Historical Bengali novels like 'Durgeshnandini'( Daughter of the Lord of the Fort ), 'Gaurmallhar'(The Music of Gaur) and ' Tungabhadra's Teere' ( On the shore of the Tungabhadra river) are our favourites for decades. I enjoyed a novel written by a young writer.The title is 'Radhika'. He brought tales from 17th century as well as current days' NRIs in the ambit of the story, taking a Reader to a terracotta temple of Bankura district. In a larger context, we find interest in history of our nation is increasing ,.... they read novels like 'The Miniaturist' , 'The Opium Clerk ', and books like ' The White Moghul' or ' The last Moghul' with avid interest. The interest is no longer limited to vernacular literature and the spread attracts people from other States, other countries.
I would like to create the 'romance' of Bengal's history through another channel. I would like to create a tour package where a tourist will savour the history by visiting the places and enjoying the architecture of the historical monuments …… it can be :
· Royal Bengal and
· Religious Bengal.
In ‘Royal Bengal’, a tourist can visit Maldah/Berhampore/Murshidabad/Plassey to savour glimpses of the last millennium . In ‘Religious Bengal’, a tourist will go beyond Dakshineswar/Belur/Mayapur. S/he can visit Kalna/Nabadwip/Bandel/ Chinsurah/Bansberia ..S/he will find how religion and art mingled on the surfaces of our temples , visit one of the oldest churches of India and a Muslim religious architecture too. Bandel, Chinsurah and Chandenagore will provide us with a glimpse of European architecture which came up since 17th century. I have chosen the places in such a manner that each trip , starting from Calcutta, can be wrapped up by 3-4 days.
I shall shortly start preparing an approach document and share the same with my friends. Needless to say, it is a big work and will, therefore, in phases. Contributions of others will be welcome.