Taj Mahal - Not so 'wonder'ful for the Yogi government
Lucknow/Agra: Taj Mahal – the symbol of love is rated among the Seven Wonders of the World and people from several countries visit India just to have a glimpse of the Indian architectural masterpiece. But unfortunately, the monument is not as astonishing for the Uttar Pradesh government as it is considered by the world.
Yes, we can say so because a booklet issued by the tourism department of the Yogi Adityanath government, in which they have mentioned the best tourist destinations of the state, Taj Mahal has failed to find a place.
The booklet released by UP Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Monday also mentions the achievements of the UP government in the past six months and the budgetary allocation to the tourist destinations of the state.
The booklet titled 'Uttar Pradesh Tourism - Immense Prospects' claims that the state government has planned to develop Sitapur, Vrindavan, Govardhan, Barsana, Gokul, Chitrakoot, Kushinagar, Bundelkhand, Mirzapur and Sonbhadra as the most attractive tourist sports in the state under the 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme.
The booklet even featured the Gorakhpur-based Gorakhnath temple but shockingly did not have any page for the historic Taj Mahal.
The state government has also allocated Rs 139 crore for the development of Gorakhpur, Dumariyaganj and Devipatan into tourist spots, but has no budget for the maintenance of Taj Mahal.
What the UP Tourism booklet consists?
The first page of the booklet has the pictures of UP Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
In the next pages, the state government has answered questions like what is the Yogi government doing for increasing tourism in the state? What is the current state of tourism in UP? It has also revealed the tourism development plan in the state.
The next two pages have been dedicated to the Ganga Aarti of Varanasi, while next two pages show the beauty of Mathura. The page after that shows Ramayan and Buddha circuit. The next pages contain information about Ayodhya in which CM Yogi has been shown doing Saryu Aarti. After that the pages depict Gorakhnath Math and Devipatan Shakti Peeth and give some information about other religious places in the state.
Reaction of the Opposition:
Expressing shock over the ignorance of Taj Mahal, Samajwadi Party Chief Spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary slammed the state government saying that the incident has exposed the communal face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its leaders.
Doing damage repair, the UP tourism department said that Taj Mahal has not been ignored and there are a number of projects underway for the development of the monument. "Taj Mahal has not been mentioned in the brochure because its maintenance is looked after by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)," the department added.
The clarification, however, doesn’t sound relevant enough to omit Taj Mahal from the list of most attractive places to visit in the entire country. There are speculations that the Indian architectural masterpiece has been ignored because of the Hinduism philosophy of the Yogi Adityanath-led government.
The speculations are rife because on June 15, 2017, Yogi Adityanath had refused to accept Taj Mahal as a part of the state while speaking at a programme in Darbhanga, Bihar.
"Taj Mahal is just a normal building made on our soil by the attackers," he had said.
Significantly, over 62 lakh tourists had visited Taj Mahal in 2016
Reaction of Agra tourism industry:
Hotel and Tourist Association member Sandeep Arora says, "It is impossible to imagine tourism in UP without Taj Mahal. The government is free to promote the other tourist destinations of the state but not at the cost of Taj Mahal."
Tourism Guild member Rajiv Saxena says, "The UP government has ignored the monument which has been recognised as the 'World Heritage Site' by UNESCO. This is absolutely wrong on the government's side."