Ministry of Tourism has decided to expand Buddhist tourism circuit under Swadesh Darshan Scheme to 21 more states to make it India’s first trans-national tourist circuit. Earlier it was envisaged only to seven major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Now, Ministry of Tourism has identified stupas and viharas in these 21 states, around which small intra-state Buddhist zones will be developed. The states now that will be covered includes Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Goa, Gujarat and Jammu & Kashmir.
The expansion of Buddhist tourism circuit aims to catch new-age Buddhist tourists from the West, besides those from traditional markets in South East Asia. The ministry is in talks with World Bank and Japanese government for funding of infrastructure projects connected with Buddhist tourism circuit. It also plans to involve the private sector in building tourism infrastructure pertaining to the circuit
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
The Union Ministry of Tourism had launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with an aim to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner. They will be developed by synergizing efforts to focus on concerns and needs of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities. Under this scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development. They are Buddhist Circuit, North-East India Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.