In a unique move to let tourists enjoy local art and culture, the state Tourism department is developing cultural tourism destinations at different parts of the state.
Sources said the state Tourism department has taken up steps to create infrastructure to develop cultural tourism destinations at places including Jharkhali in South 24-Parganas, Sabujdeep at Balagarh in Hooghly and Gajoldoba in North Bengal.
In each of these places, there will be a separate area exclusively for performance of artists. At the same time local artisans will be making handicrafts in these tourist spots and can sell the same to tourists.
There are mainly two islands in Sabujdwip. One is of around 55 acre and the other of 44 acre. The work to develop it as an eco-friendly cultural tourism spot has started a month ago and it will be opened for tourists in the coming winter.
There are also plans to set up an ampitheatre in Sabujdwip where artisans, mainly those who are enrolled with Lok Prasar Scheme of the state government, will be performing. As per the plan, local artisans will be allowed to make, display and sell their handicrafts.
During the winter, another attraction in the island are the migratory birds. Thus, a bird-watching tower will be constructed from where people will get a clear view. The bird-watching tower itself is going to be another point of attraction in the island.
To reach the islands via the Hooghly, visitors need to be ferried on boats. In a bid to make the journey comfortable and safe for tourists, the Tourism department has decided to engage a vessel. At the same time a jetty has also been constructed on the bank of river Hooghly from where the vessel will operate.
Construction of one of the approach roads to the tourist spot is complete and the work of the other one from Balagarh Station will be completed soon.
Measures have also been taken to build four guest houses and 12 eco-friendly cottages at Jharkhali with accommodation facility of around 96 people. One may spend a day or two at Jharkhali on way to another tourist spot at Sojnekhali.
Gajoldoba is another tourist spot which has been identified as a cultural tourism destination.
The state Tourism department is also planning to conduct cultural festivals in Bishnupur which is rich in Hindustani vocal classical music. Renowned vocalist Jadu Bhatta, who was Rabindranath Tagore's music teacher, hailed from Bishnupur. The place has gharana of its own where Dhrupad in Bengali is sung with musical accompaniments. Programmes like Hornbill Festival will also be organised in Junglemahal area.
The department has taken up a policy to develop all its infrastructures within a year in such a way that tourists' first priority will be to stay at those places before opting for any private property.