| A folk dancer performs at Dilli Haat in New Delhi and (above) tourists at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya on Wednesday. Tourists to Vaishali, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and other places will soon be able to visit similar trendy markets. Picture by Suman
Come 2013, Bihar would have haats (fairs) on the lines of the popular Dilli Haat.
Aiming at recreation for tourists after sunset, the tourism department is planning to come up with evening markets at popular tourist destinations in the state.
Tourism minister Sunil Kumar said a place in Rajgir has been chosen for the purpose and more such locations would be shortlisted soon.
“Places like Rajgir and Nalanda are popular tourist destinations in Bihar. However, tourists visiting these places leave by the evening. The reason is that they don’t have much to do after sunset. We are working on a mall road kind of a concept. These would be fully lit-up market places with shops and entertainment like lazer shows,” Sunil said.
He added: “The first evening market place would come up in Pandu Pokhar near Rajgir. The market area would be similar to that of Dilli Haat or the Chowpatty in Mumbai. Places like Vaishali, Nalanda and Bodhgaya, too, would have similar market places.”
Apart from shops selling clothes and merchandise, there would be food courts too.
“Lip-smacking delicacies would be served at dedicated food courts. The market areas would be tastefully decorated with lights. There would be sitting arrangements, where people can enjoy lazer and other entertaining shows. We are preparing a final plan. As of now, the work on the market place at Pandu Pokhar will start early next year. The exact date will be announced soon,” the minister said.
On the other hand, the sound and light shows apart from the lazer exhibitions, would start at Golghar from the first week of January, an officer with the tourism department said. “The shows would start at Golghar soon. The coming year would be very exciting starting with Kite Festival on January 14. As far as the mall road plan is concerned, it would be a sort of an evening entertainment for tourists,” said tourism department principal secretary Deepak Kumar.
Minister Sunil Kumar informed there has been a rise in tourist footfall in Bihar this year. “The number of foreign tourists last year stood at 9.72 lakh. This year, till October, it has touched 8 lakh. By December-end we are sure to reach the 10-lakh mark. The number of domestic tourists visiting Bihar in 2011 stood at 1.84 crore. Till October this year, Bihar has recorded a footfall of 1.88 crore tourists. The increasing numbers is a healthy sign,” Sunil said.