In order to give impetus to ethnic tourism in the state, the Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Mr. Navjot Singh Sidhu has finalized a blue print to further develop Virasat-e-Khalsa as a ‘Strategic Tourist Spot’ in the state besides upgrading the basic amenities and infrastructure at Sri Anandpur Sahib-the birth place of Khalsa for the convenience of devotees.Presiding over a meeting of Anandpur Sahib Foundation, the Minister said that since Virasat-e-Khalsa was attracting heavy tourist footfall from across the globe, it was a high time to develop tented accommodation, budget hotels, food courts and souvenir shops in its vicinity. The Minister also asked the foundation to get a comprehensive layout plan prepared from the architects of prestigious project to further develop these infrastructural facilities over remaining chunk of nearly 60 acres land.The Tourism Minister entrusted the task of making a detailed presentation in this regard to foundation so as to ensure continuity of the project without disturbing its basic design and structure.The Minister also informed in the meeting that the Government of India under ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’ had already approved a sum of Rs. 99 crore for the development of historical and religious sites across the state, of which 29 crore would be exclusively incurred on the all round development of Sri Anandpur Sahib.
Acknowledging the proposal mooted by the Finance Minister Mr. Manpreet Singh Badal to connect Sri Anandpur Sahib with Sri Naina Devi through rope way which was hanging fire since long, Mr. Sidhu said he would soon take up this issue with his Himachal Pradesh counterpart to expedite the project, which would further enhance the tourism potential in the region.Underscoring the need to create a façade in the holy city of Sri Anandpur Sahib on the pattern of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, Mr. Sidhu asked the Secretary Tourism Mr. Vikas Pratap to chalk out a detailed plan to ensure uniformity of all the buildings, shops and establishments in a holistic manner. Mr. Vikas Pratap apprised the Minister that the Department was already working on these lines under Swadesh Darshan Project and soon take up this project to enhance its rich cultural legacy from heritage perspective.The Tourism Minister also stressed the need to enhance the forest cover in and around Sri Anandpur Sahib keeping in view its scenic beauty on one hand and maintaining eco-system on the other.It was informed in the meeting that the prestigious Khalsa Heritage Project was gradually becoming the center of attraction with aggregating footfall of 92,60,564 visitors is probably the highest for country’s any memorial or monument in such a short span of less than seven years. Prominent amongst those present in the meeting included Cooperation and Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Additional Chief Secretary Revenue Vini Mahajan, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Secretary Tourism Vikas Pratap Secretary PWD Hussan Lal and Special Secretary Finance Dr. Abhinav Trikha.