Grand plans to develop tourism circuit

Restoring past glory:A team of the Archaeology and Tourism Department inspecting the Buddhist maha stupa at Nelakondapalli of Khammam district on Thursday.— PHOTO: G.N. RAO

Restoring past glory:A team of the Archaeology and Tourism Department inspecting the Buddhist maha stupa at Nelakondapalli of Khammam district on Thursday.— PHOTO: G.N. RAO

The Hindu, October 21, 2016 07:49 IST

It will encompass the Buddhist maha stupa, two ancient Siva temples of Kakatiya era, and the historic fort of Khammam

A grand plan is on the anvil to develop a tourism circuit encompassing the famous Buddhist maha stupa at Nelakondapalli, two ancient Siva temples of Kakatiya era in Kusumanchi, and the historic fort of Khammam — all located within a 30 km radius in Khammam district.

In a significant step in the direction of improving access to the ancient Buddhist site at Nelakondapalli, the Roads and Buildings Department initiated a plan to widen the existing single-lane 1.8 km-long approach road from Khammam-Kodad highway to Mujjugudem, where the Buddhist maha stupa is located.

Minister for Roads and Buildings T. Nageswara Rao laid the foundation stone for the road widening works said to cost Rs 4.49 crore, at Mujjugudem on Thursday. He also reviewed the tourism promotion plans with the officials concerned at Nelakondapalli.

The sprawling Buddhist site, which attracted monks from across South Asia during the bygone era, is set to hog the limelight if the ambitious plans mooted by the government departments to preserve and tap the tourism potential are any indication.

The Archaeology Department has already taken up renovation at the Nelakondapalli site with an estimated outlay of Rs. 60 lakh to revive its past glory.

Mr. Rao directed the officials of the R&B Department to widen the existing approach road to the Buddhist site into a four-lane facility.

He further asked the officials of the Archaeology and Tourism Departments to prepare a detailed project report (DPR)for developing a tourism circuit comprising the places of tourist interest in Khammam division.

A joint team of officials, including the Deputy Director of Archaeology Department Padmanabha, archaeological consultant S. Rangacharyulu, and Khammam district Tourism Officer Suman Chakravarti, visited the Buddhist site as part of a field study to prepare a DPR for the tourism circuit plan.

Former sarpanch of Mujjugudem Unnam Venkaiah urged the officials to take concrete steps to conserve the ancient heritage site and provide amenities at the Buddhist monument to attract tourists from across the country and abroad.

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