Pandharpur Yatra to be given tourism accreditation


MUMBAI, Maharashtra – “Visit Golden Maharashtra” – a joint initiative of Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), and the government of Maharashtra – will provide special tourism accreditation to Pandharpur Yatra, as part of its year-long promotion of Maharashtra.

Pandharpur Yatra, the world’s largest religious padyatra, is comprised of over 1 million pilgrims traveling for 21 days to Vithoba temple by foot. Numerous palkhis from various towns and villages join the main palkhi that starts from Sant Tukaram Temple at Dehu in Pune district. The yatra culminates at the Vithoba temple on Ashadi Ekadasi, which this year falls on July 21.

Visit Golden Maharashtra, mandated with promoting Maharashtra as a global tourism powerhouse and facilitating various types of tourism and various locations for tourism in the 50th anniversary of Maharashtra, will offer special accreditations to key initiatives. The accreditation will mean provisioning of information and logistical support, promotions to place the activity or destination on the global tourism map, marketing support, and facilitating private players to introduce special packages. Key travel and trade bodies are partnering the “Visit Golden Maharashtra” initiative.

“The significance and relevance of Pandharpur yatra is not currently positioned to its potential. Besides being the world’s single largest religious padyatra, it holds importance to a very large section of the society. Its potential within the religious tourism segment is vast. We intend to identify and hard promote such tourist attractions,” said Vinod Gupta, vice president-international, MEDC.

“Maharashtra is a land abundant in natural glory. Besides scenic beaches on the konkan coast, the towering Sahyadri ranges, wildlife reserves at Tadoba and Pench, the state also offers potential for harnessing unexplored segments like adventure tourism, eco-tourism, wine tourism, and bollywood tourism,” added Vinod Gupta.

Launched in April 2010 by Dr. Vijaykumar Gavit, minister for tourism; Shri Vithal Kamat, president, Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC); Shri Anand Kulkarni, principal secretary, Department of Tourism; Shri Avinash Dhakne, managing director, MTDC; trade body chairpersons; industry captains; and other dignitaries, “Visit Golden Maharashtra” has conducted an industry conference to chart strategies for tourism growth of Maharashtra. The initiative proposes to hold year-long activities to showcase Maharashtra to the rest of the globe and initiate policy measures to drive tourism growth.

Currently, it is in the process of drawing up a white paper on tourism. It is scheduled to be published and presented to the chief minister in July. Various other initiatives have been lined up and will be held across the various parts of the state of Maharashtra. “Visit Golden Maharashtra is one of the most ambitious tourism initiatives of the state and will herald this golden state to a golden era,” concluded Vinod Gupta.