Spiritual tourism in India is on the rise. For the last few years, Indians have chosen religious sites against recreational destinations. This blog explores this trend and factors that contribute to spiritual travels.
The government of India’s Pro-Tourism policies have resulted in an unprecedented surge in spiritual tourism in the country. In less than a decade, tourists have opted for religious tours ditching recreational travels. Destinations like Varanasi, Mathura, and Ayodhya receive more tourists than destinations like Goa.
This change can be attributed to multiple factors. First and foremost is the infrastructural development of religious sites. Following the tourism policies of the Government of India, a lot of hospitality players grabbed the opportunity to create sound infrastructure in the vicinity of spiritual sites. In his post-budget webinar ‘Developing Tourism in Mission Mode’, India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi emphasised the need to think out-of-the-box plans to take tourism to new heights.
This was a clear indication for hospitality brands to raise state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities for tourists. The public-private partnership model promoted by the government yielded excellent results for tourists. The best examples are temples in Varanasi and Kedarnath. Before the renovation of Kashi Vishwanath, around 80 lakh people used to visit the temple in a year. However, the number of visitors crossed 7 crore after the renovation. Similarly, Kedarnath temple witnessed footfalls of 15 lakh devotees as compared to 4-5 lakh before the reconstruction of Kedarghati.
Speaking to Praveg Limited, Indrani Ghose, a famous travel blogger shared her thoughts, “In recent years, India has seen a remarkable transformation in its spiritual tourism landscape. This transformation can be attributed to a concerted effort to renovate and modernize pilgrim sites, upgrade the supporting infrastructure, and enhance transportation systems.”
Another notable change is that young travellers begin to prefer spiritual sites over recreational destinations. A couple of years back, the turf of spiritual tourism was mostly dominated by retired citizens, who were willing to spend their savings on yatras (pilgrimage).
Indrani makes an important point here, “The realities of contemporary life, with its demanding job pressures and the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, have left many young individuals yearning for a sense of inner peace and spiritual solace. The challenges and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic have prompted introspection and a renewed focus on personal well-being. In response to these factors, there has been a noticeable surge in the interest of spiritual tourism among the youth.”
Another travel blogger Murali Karthik opines, “India has so many temples that are more than 1000 years old, including the Thanjavur Brihadeeswarar, Darasuram Airavateswarar temple and others. Many young travellers in our nation are not only spiritually inclined but also have a keen interest in history; they want to relive the history by visiting places of spiritual significance.”
Apart from infrastructure facilities, hospitality players offer a lot of exciting attractions around the religious sites. A good case in point is Varanasi, where some private entities offer adventure sports on the bank of the Ganga. This obviously attracts tourists to the sites, where they can spend their holidays with the members of their families.
Indrani further added, “This multifaceted approach has made the country’s holy destinations even more appealing to visitors. For instance, consider the implementation of innovative solutions like ropeways to facilitate access to the Pavagadh Shakti Peeth near Vadodara or the introduction of exciting activities such as boating and hot air balloon rides in the spiritual city of Varanasi.”
This interestingly new experience of spiritual travel could be the reason why young travellers visit temples and other religious sites. Better connectivity from major Indian cities is another significant reason people begin to visit the pilgrim sites.
Finally, the country has witnessed increased religious sentiments in the last few years, and this plays a crucial role in attracting people from diverse backgrounds. The convergence of improved infrastructure, exciting experiences, and a growing need for inner tranquillity has acted as a catalyst for the rise of spiritual tourism among young people in India.
All in all, religious tourism is strengthening the Indian economy in leaps and bounds. From here, the tourism sector is going to flourish in years to come. The visionary leadership at Praveg has sensed this opportunity and has begun to invest handsomely in tourism with its innovative hospitality solutions.