Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons recently announced that the Ministry of Tourism sanctioned projects worth Rs.85.23 crore for the development of Spiritual Circuit-III for Kerala under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram recently, the Minister said that the sites identified under the circuit are spread across all 14 districts of the state and cover 133 religious places. He also said the districts where the projects would be implemented include, Kasargode, Wayand, Kannur, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamhitta, Kollam and Thiruvanathapuram.
The Minister said the destinations have been selected keeping in mind the inherent historic, cultural and religious significance of the places. The development works include Community hall, Annadhana Mandapam, Multipurpose hall, toilets, cafeteria, parking facilities, landscaping, pathways, illuminations, signages, dustbins etc. The Circuit covers religious sites all across the state from Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple in the northernmost district of Kasargode to the Madre De Deus Church in Thiruvanathapuram, the southernmost district.
The Circuit will cover several historical religious sites across the state like the Cheraman Jumah Masjid (Kodungallooor), Koodalmanikyam temple (Irinjalakkuda), St. Thomas Church (Malayattoor), Thriparayar Sreerama Temple (Thrissur) etc. In reply to a question, Alphons said that the sites have been identified after elaborate study and discussions with all stakeholders. He pointed out that 60% of domestic tourism is related to spiritual circuits.
Swadesh Darshan scheme is one among the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner. Fifteen thematic circuits have been identified under this scheme, for development namely: North-East Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Sufi Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit. Under this scheme the Government is focusing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 73 projects worth projects for Rs. 5943.17 Crore in 30 States and UTs. Major components of 30 of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 8 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.