Circuit Tourism for India

Circuit Tourism for India – It has been seen, when a tourist from another country visits a highly popular tourist spot in India, her sightseeing is limited to a maximum of two days. This is because other good sites around the place are not fully developed or promoted equally. The most popular tourist spots have been milked to the point of overkill and it is high time a model is developed that promotes a vibrant industry not around a single site of attraction but around an entire region.

Circuit Tourism

This model is named “Circuit Tourism” and the author in this article shows through the example of a single district Thrissur, how this model can create new tourist spots of attraction in hitherto unexplored regions. This can spawn fresh entrepreneurship and employment opportunities leading to investment and economic growth. As the example taken here shows, this model of tourism has the potential to light up the lives of the Other India- be it rural India with poor incomes or the India of the perennially under-served tribals.

Experiences in Thrissur

A brief idea of the thought process which germinated in the mind of the author needs to be elucidated to gain clarity on the model’s vision. This author was posted as Assistant Collector, Thrissur in mid-2016. Coming from the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, the exposure to Kerala till then had been of bare minimum level – coconuts, Onam, literacy, beaches, and Mohanlal.

Attempts were made to understand the culture of Kerala by watching Malayalam films. The images of Thrissur as depicted in those Malayalam films were that of the annual temple festival named “Thrissur Pooram”, the piety of the temple of Guruvayur, caparisoned elephants, and the perennial flow of the Athirapilly waterfalls.

During the field trips across Thrissur in the initial days of getting posted, the realization set in that the tourism potential of Thrissur is hugely untapped. The typical tourist to Thrissur does the following: Check in at Kochi and soak in the colors and sounds of the metropolis, hire a cab to Thrissur for the next day, visit Guruvayoor and Athirapilly falls, upload “God’s own country. Thrissur” pictures on social media and go back to Kochi that very evening: Thrissur is an afterthought for these tourists. This is sheer injustice meted out to the cultural capital of Kerala which has more potential as a tourist hub than what waterfalls and a temple can provide.

The project implemented in Thrissur aims to help tourists who visit Thrissur explore places beyond the conventional ones. This project also helps the tourist to choose one among different circuits of places based on his/her interest. Thus, six circuits are proposed based on what this author has observed and identified as Thrissur’s USPS. These circuits are identified based on colors to attract the tourists’ immediate attention.

1. Blue Circuit Tourism (Water Circuit)

When the words “Water” and “Kerala” are used in the same sentence, the images of Kovalam sands and Alleppey backwaters come to one’s mind. This circuit shows that Thrissur is no less endowed with beautiful water-associated tourist hotspots. The “Blue Circuit Tourism” plan envisages a 7 AM start in Thrissur to arrive in Vazhachal, a pristine waterfall spot, by 8.30 am. After spending an hour in Vazhachal, one can move on to Chappa, a seasonal misty waterfall, which is five kilometers away.

The next stop is at Athirappilly falls by 11 AM. Recently, this falls has been immortalized in the blockbuster film “Baahubali”. A minimum of two hours can be spent wondering how Mother Nature has chosen to bestow all its love on this place. Lunch will be at Thumpoormuzhi, a river diversion project, around 1.30 pm.

From there, the circuit moves to Munakkal beach which one can reach at around 4:30 PM. This beach is noteworthy for the reason that one can spot dolphins here. Once these new spots (other than the usual suspects) gain more tourist footfall, it can lead to the blooming of employment in these areas. Since almost all these areas are in the tribal belt, the aim is to kickstart entrepreneurship and enterprise among tribal youth through tourism.

Rural Tourism in IndiaRural Tourism ResourcesPromoting Rural Tourism
National Tourism PolicyCircuit Tourism for IndiaBenefits of Rural Tourism

2. Brown Circuit Tourism (Dam Circuit)

Thrissur is home to the maximum number of dams in Kerala. Dams- the temples of modern India- serve the vital purposes of drinking water and irrigation. Considering the breathtaking views one can get atop these dams and hence the tourism potential, this project proposes an entire Dam circuit across Thrissur. In this circuit, one leaves Thrissur by 8 in the morning to reach Chimmony dam by 9:30 am, Peechi dam by 11:30 am, and Vazhani dam by 1:30 pm.

After lunch at Vazhani dam, one can go to Poomala dam. After a 16-kilometer journey from there, the tourists can reach Vilangankunnu, A beautiful hillock. The USP of Vilangankunnu is the views one can get to see from there -verdant paddy fields in one direction, a rapidly urbanizing city in another direction and the seawaters paying obeisance to the setting sun in the third.

3. Yellow Circuit Tourism (Cultural Circuit)

Outlook’s traveller’s guide for Kerala provides a tagline for every town and tourist place of Kerala. For Thrissur, the tagline aptly kept is “Kerala’s cultural capital”, The Yellow Circuit takes one across the cultural hubs of the district One heads for Kerala Kalamandalam, 32 kilometers away from Thrissur town, by 8 in the morning. Kalamandalam is a major centre for learning the great Performing Arts of India – from is situated 43 kilometers away. The afternoon schedule includes the Zoo Museum and the Ayurveda Museum which caps a day well spent exploring the diverse cultural riches Thrissur has to offer.

4. Orange Circuit Tourism (Heritage Circuit)

This Circuit Tourism helps a tourist grasp the rich heritage Thrissur has in store. It starts from Thrissur at 8 am and one reaches Paravoor. This is home to a famous synagogue thus showing how Kerala is home to a cosmopolitan tradition of accommodating multiple religions. Kottapuram Fort, Paliam Palace, Pattanam Excavation Centre, and Museum are also covered in this circuit. The Palm Palace is a good example of the Nalukettu type wherein four halls are joined together with a courtyard at the center open to the sky.

5. Green Circuit (Back water Circuit)

The Green Circuit Tourism is designed to promote backwater tourism in Thrissur with Chimmony, Enamavu, and Snehatheeram beaches in focus. Enamavu will be host to a houseboat trip providing exquisite local food. The boat will reach Snehatheeram at around 5.30 pm before sunset. The poetically named “Snehatheeram” which means the shore of love is one of the best beach tourist destinations in India ensuring that the end to a day well-spent leaves one yearning for more for Thrissur and nature.

6. Red Circuit Tourism (Assorted Circuit)

The red circuit is designed keeping in mind that a tourist may want to experience Thrissur in its diverse colors on a single day. There are many such custom-made red circuits. The one shown here is an assorted Circuit Tourism that consists of one place from each theme. The journey begins from Thrissur at 8.30 am. Vilangankunnu, Vazhani Dam, and Zoo/Museum are covered, ending the journey at Snehatheeram beach in the evening in time to soak in the sight of a tired Sun bidding adieu to the day.

Rural Tourism in IndiaRural Tourism ResourcesPromoting Rural Tourism
National Tourism PolicyCircuit Tourism for IndiaBenefits of Rural Tourism

The working of Circuit Tourism

Each circuit comprises five to six tourist hotspots and it can be completed in one day. A single brochure enlists all the circuits in a compact manner. Whenever a tourist visits Thrissur and enquires about sightseeing plans in a hotel, he will be provided with these brochures thus allowing him to choose a circuit based on his taste.

This circuit-based tourism is interlinked with hotels, travel offices, and cab drivers associations, among others. Within six months of this project’s launch, the tourists to Thrissur are already enquiring at hotel receptions/travel desks/ cab drivers to take them to one of the circuits instead of a specific place. Almost all hotels in Thrissur now welcomes a tourist with the Circuit Tourism brochures.

Tourist operators now have begun to include the circuits in their packages. One-minute teasers on each Circuit Tourism have been developed. A tourist can scan the QR code and watch the teaser before selecting the circuit to experience A security app is being developed to track the movement of the tourist and compares it with the actual path of the circuit and issue an SOS alert in case of any deviation from the specified circuit path automatically.

The Economics of Circuit Tourism

One important thread which runs through all these tourist spots is that most of them are located in either rural or tribal belts. Thus, the aims of the project are not only from a tourism perspective but also to promote alternative modes of livelihood for the unemployed youth in the rural areas of Thrissur. In most of the tourist destinations identified in Circuit Tourism. These efforts are in place to include a canteen run by a Self Help Group comprising women from the neighborhood.

The cleaning and maintenance contracts are given to these Self Help Groups. The local youth have been given priority for any employment opportunities in these destinations. It has been observed that the number of tourist vehicles coming to these circuits has taken a huge leap in the past few months. This has, in turn, led to the establishment of new fuel filling stations, repair sheds, and service stations in these areas thus resulting in the employment of local youth.

One important side-effect has been that tourists have begun to stay back in Thrissur rather than travel from Kochi for a day’s visit. This has boosted the hospitality sector big time. The Domino effect has ensured that there is a positive impact on the business of local restaurants, handicrafts, and textile stores. A spurt in handicraft sales has led to a blossoming of local artisans.

What the Model means for Kerala (and India)?

Kerala provides a unique development model to the entire country. It is sustained by a strong welfare state, remittances from Malayalis abroad, and the services sector. The mini- Industrial revolution which transformed Garden Cities into Silicon Valleys in neighboring states bypassed God’s own state. Kerala needs high revenues to finance its welfare needs from pensions to healthcare to education. Since these revenues are not going to be generated from rapid industrialization, tourism gains huge importance in the Kerala story. Thus, this project outwardly seeks to promote tourism in hitherto unexplored corners of Thrissur but behind it is the vision of running the welfare machinery of the Kerala state itself.

Kerala is the only state in the country that can call itself “God’s own country” and escape without much criticism. This is because of how nature has been kind to Kerala and Keralites have been kind to nature. This bountiful potential should not be restricted to the usual spots but should diversify itself so that the world outside can partake more of the state’s visual and aural pleasures.

This Circuit Tourism project strives to set a benchmark that can be emulated by districts across the state resulting in a circuit conglomeration catering to tourists from the global community. This model can easily be scaled across the entire nation based on local potential and demand. In addition to all these larger aims, this project also wants to ensure that if at another Bahubali movie is made, it should feature the hitherto unknown falls of Thrissur rather than the usual Athirapilly falls.

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nancy singh
nancy singh
10 months ago

Andhra Pradesh is famous for its varied culture and tradition. Andhra Pradesh is enamoured with thousands of religious centres, where weekly, monthly or annual Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are held. Every village and town in Andhra Pradesh has some kind of temple or place of worship where religious festivals are held, accompanied by fairs. Some of the Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are of local importance, while others have a wider significance.

Last edited 10 months ago by Rohit Sharma