Centre plans to make Wagah a tourist hot spot

quot;We have already sanctioned about Rs 4 crore as required by the Punjab government. The sites are being developed for a day-long trip. The area is being restored with rest houses and good roads for tourists," said Ambika Soni, union tourism minister.

The seven sites that have been shortlisted around Wagah border are as diverse as that of spiritual interest like Ram Tirath Mandir or related to modern times like General Shyam Singh Attari’s samadhi that will be of interest to both the domestic population and the NRI segment.

"A team including the minister, Punjab tourism minister and officials jointly inspected the border to work out a unique experience for visitors," Amitabh Kant, joint secretary (tourism), said.

According to officials, the intent behind the project was to make Wagah — so far a border outpost with its daily highlight of the ‘beating retreat’ — more than just a destination that exhibited military prowess.

Amongst the locales that the tourism board will focus on are Rajasansi village that has a deep rooted carpet weaving craft. An artistically built centre will be set up along with signages, street furniture and landscaping work.

Ram Tirath Mandir, 11 km from Amritsar, dates back to Ramayana and commemorates Maharishi Valmiki’s heritage. The place has an ancient tank, temples and a hut where Luv and Kush, Sita’s twin sons, were born.

Other places of historic interest are Pul Kanjari, a small brick bridge, about 15 km from Indo-Pak border that was built by Raja Ranjit Singh for his dancers, and Sarai Amanat Khan complex that dates to the Mughal period with ornamental gateways and ques with Persian inscriptions.

A symbol of modern India is General Shyam Singh Attari’s samadhi and mahal. Plans are afoot to showcase the country’s only international railway station at Attari.

Punjab tourism board plans to build toilets, horticulture and civil works in these areas and provide basic facilities like water seating arrangements and tourist information centres.

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