Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekend thoughts

On a recent visit to Orissa, via West Bengal, I couldn't but think of how very similar these two states are to the big tourism story in India, Kerala. Blessed with a large coastline, an enormous lagoon of 1100 (Chilika) and some fantastic old temples, Orissa is a great place to visit. Bengal is almost similar with its Sunderbans (an amazing swamp eco system), but tourism in both these places is nothing as compared to Kerala. Orissa can mint money with some smart marketing of its heritage.

In contrast during a stop over at Hyderabad, we happened to visit the NTR park. NTR park, apart from a memorial to the late chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, is nothing as compared to the heritage of Orissa. But beautiful packaging, branding, order and professional helpers make it a good place for families and kids alike.

Having visited some tourist sites abroad, Orissa can tap into its heritage like they do. Konark T-shirts, souvenirs, sound and light shows are just a part of the exercise that can be undertaken. But like other Indian heritages, they languish.

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