The State Tourism department’s disinterest in promoting the temple circuit pilgrimage in Rockfort City is a huge dampener
The concept of package tourism is yet to catch up in Tiruchi. This despite the presence of several famous temples in and around the city.
The Reason is hands-off policy of the State Toursim department vis-a-vis the tourism potential of Rockfort City.
The department is yet to tap the potential of temple tourism in Tiruchi, rue hotel industry representatives.
According to tourism industry observers, pilgrims consider the Rockfort City merely as transit point for visits to temples in Thanjavur-Kumbakonam belt.
That may not be true. Those who know the importance of Tiruchi do make it a point to spend a day or two in the town to visit the major temples temples in and around Tiruchi encompassing Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Thiruvanaikovil Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswarar Temple, Rockfort Sri Thayumanaswamy Temple, Vayalur Sri Subramaniaswamy Temple, Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple, Gunaseelam Sri Prasanna Venkatachalapathi temple, Thiruvellarai Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal Temple, Uthamarkovil, Woraiyur Arulmigu Vekkaliamman Temple and Tirupattur Sri Brahmapureeswarar Temple.
According to a senior official of Tourism department, there is no plan as such to introduce package tourism in the temple circuit in Tiruchi. The absence of package tourism covering the temple circuit mostly leaves visitors in a helpless situation.
The international air connectivity draws a number of tourists from Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
The visitors source basic information from the help desks in hotels and take the trouble of arranging for transport by themselves.
On its part, the Tiruchi Travel Federation has been encouraging travel agents to offer tour packages.
“But a regular package by the Tourism department will be a major attraction for tourists. Package options such as Vaishnavite shrines and Amman shrines can be offered. More often, the tourists rely much on the information provided by the department owing to the trust factor. The need for the Tourism department to strengthen its presence in Tiruchi has arisen,” V. Vasudevan, president of Tiruchi Travel Federation, said.
The TTF has also felt the need for presence of qualified guides in adequate numbers in the district. The fact is that once the package tour is promoted, the temple circuit pilgrimage will gain popularity, Mr. Vasudevan said.
For this to happen, the Tourism department should reach out to potential tourists with brochures detailing the opening and closing time of temples and their religious and historical significance, and year calendars of the major festivals, according to regular visitors.
“As such, information flow is insufficient. There are instances of tourists regretting their absence at Chithirai festivities due to ignorance about the event,” Mr. Vasudevan said.
He points out that the sharing of proper information about major festivals will also go a long way in attracting a number of tourists to Tiruchi.
Having released a map of Tiruchi detailing the tourist points six months back, the TTF has planned to bring out booklets containing complete information on what one can do in Tiruchi right from visiting temples and going on shopping to taking part in festivals.
The booklet, which will be launched after two months, will be brought out on a quarterly basis, Mr. Vasudevan said.