The Bantony Castle Shimla would be renovated by spending an amount of Rs. 25 crore in order to develop as a major tourist attraction. This was stated by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while inaugurating the five day long State level Gram Shilp Mela which was organized by the State Language Art and Culture Department here today.Chief Minister said that Bantony Castle was one of the historic and monumental building of Shimla town and has a very rich history. He said that this complex as a whole would be developed in such a way that it not only becomes a tourist attraction but also a centre of rich cultural diversity of the State. He said that the building was also an example of beautiful anglo-gothic architecture. He said that since this building was strategically located on the Mall Road thus could be an added attraction for the tourists.The Chief Minister said that the State has immense potential due to its cultural diversity and rich history and added that it has several historic buildings and monuments which could be developed as major tourist attractions.Chief Minister said that organizing 'Gram Shilp Mela' was a new beginning for the Bantony Castle as artisans from different parts of the State got an opportunity to exhibit their artifacts.He said that each district of the State was unique in itself and added that the State Government would provide all possible help to the artisans to provide a market for their products.
He said that the Government would also organize District level Gram Shilp Melas besides Inter-state Gram Shilp Melas to promote the artifacts of the State. He said that artisans from all the districts of the State were participating in this Gram Shilp Mela and it was the duty of each one of us to promote this rich cultural diversity of the State.He said that State Government has announced a new scheme named 'Aaj Purani Rahon Se' for exploring folklores, historic events and cultural tourism in the State. He said that the government has also decided to introduce miniaturized cultural souvenirs of Himachal Pradesh such as musical instruments, Chamba Rumal, Kangra paintings etc. He said that this would help the tourists in carrying and preserving famous artifacts of the State with them.Chief Minister also released brochure and Directory of Artisans brought out by the LAC Department on the occasion.Secretary LAC Dr Purnima Chauhan welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present of the occasion. She said that the Himachal Pradesh has a rich cultural diversity and the Gram Shilp Mela provides an opportunity to showcase the rich cultural diversity of the State. She said that Gram Shilp Melas would be held in other parts of the State also. She said that department would endeavour to prepare miniatures of all the artifacts of the Himachli handicraft.Rupali Thakur Director Language Art and Culture presented vote of thanks.Present of the occasion were Vice Chairman Khadi Board Shri Sanjiv Katwal, Mayor Municipal Corporation Shimla Kusum Sadret, Deputy Commissioner Shimla Amit Kashyap, Director IPR Anupam Kashyap, Advisor Economic and Statistical Department Pradeep Chauhan, Director North Zone Culture Centre Prof Sobhgyavardhan.