New pilgrim trails set to come up in North Bengal
Siliguri: From the temples of the bandit queen Devi Chaudhurani and Bhavani Pathak from Bamkin Chandra Chattopadhyaya's novel to the Bhramari Devi Trisrota temple believed to be among the 51 Shakti Peethas (where Devi Sati's left leg had fallen), North Bengal has a lot to offer. Encashing on this, the tourism department of West Bengal has been promoting religious tourism by incorporating these spots in new pilgrimage circuits.
"These destinations don't just have religious connotations but have rich mythological, historical and literary connects. Most of these temples are set in picturesque backdrops in the midst of forests, hills and caves. Visits to spots like the Mahakal caves in Jayanti invokes a sense of adventure also," stated Samrat Sanyal of the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network.
Though these places are well known, a lot of organised and well planned out efforts are required to connect the dots to chalk out pilgrimage circuits. The state tourism department is playing a pivotal role in promoting new religious trails.
"We need to make them more attractive and promote special calendar festivals and events of these temples. In India, a major chunk of tourism revolves around pilgrimages," added Sanyal.
The tourism department of West Bengal has been working to give a facelift to these age-old sites. "We have already constructed a new kitchen and dining block along with public toilets at the Bhramari Devi temple in Bodagunj in Jalpaiguri. This includes hand wash, reception, entrance lobby, safe drinking water facilities, and janitor's rooms. In the second phase, we will be constructing a dormitory. The dining hall is being used," stated Sweta Rai, Assistant Engineer, Tourism.
Located in Bodagunj in the Jalpaiguri district, the Bhramari Devi temple attracts tourists and pilgrims alike from all over the country and abroad. It is located in the Baikathapur forest at a distance of 32km from Siliguri and 18km from Jalpaiguri town. The temple is at a proximity of 11km from "Bhorer Alo," Gajoldoba, the mega tourism project of the West Bengal government.
"The State Government has done a lot to build infrastructure and promote this temple. Now we urge the State Government to form a trustee board to run the temple," stated Lal Thakur, the head priest of the temple.
"Local economy grows with the promotion of such circuits. New livelihoods also emerge. Shops selling fruits, garlands and sweets have come up with tourist and pilgrim onrush to the Bhramari temple," stated former tourism minister Gautam Deb.