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  India   All India  22 Sep 2018  Sprucing up valour lanes to draw tourists

Sprucing up valour lanes to draw tourists

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANJAY BOHRA
Published : Sep 22, 2018, 1:34 am IST
Updated : Sep 22, 2018, 1:34 am IST

Idea floated by Lt. Gen. Cherish Mathson can add to Rajasthan’s charm.

A statue depicting the battle of Haldighati fought on June 18, 1576 between Mughals and Rajputs in Rajasthan.
 A statue depicting the battle of Haldighati fought on June 18, 1576 between Mughals and Rajputs in Rajasthan.

Jaipur: “For some grain of bajra (millet, which is the main crop of barren Marwar in Rajasthan), I almost lost the entire kingdom of Hindustan.”

Thus spoke Shershah Suri in the 16th century.

He was compelled to make this statement after winning the Battle of Sammel near Jodhpur in which a few hundred Rajput warriors put up a valiant fight against his humongous Army of 80,000.

For long, Rajasthan’s magnificent forts, palaces, havelis and sand dunes have mesmerised tourists from all corners of the world. Soon, it will provide a trip down memory lane to learn about interesting nuggets about its famous battles and offer a chance to relive some important yet less famous battles fought on the land of great Rajput warriors.

If the medieval history is replete with the battles of Haldghati, Sammel, Jalore and Tunga; post-independence, the Indian Army’s gallant effort to spurn attack from Pakistan in Longewala in Jaisalmer district is also a glorious chapter in the modern war history.

Already popular in the United States and South Africa, the idea of battlefield tourism has caught the fancy of Indian industry. This unique form of tourism can be started off as a pilot project in Rajasthan. The matter was discussed during recently held annual conclave of Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur city. It was mooted by none other than Lt. Gen. Cherish Mathson, general officer commanding-in-chief of South Western Command of Indian Army. “There is a huge bank of people ready to respond to battlefield tourism if the right infrastructure to facilitate the same can be developed,” the general said.

To prove his point, Lt. General mentioned the war museum of Jaisalmer which attracts a large number of tourists more than even the Fort of Jaisalmer. He suggested that battlefields like Longewala in 1971 Indo-Pak war can also be developed into important centres of tourism apart from medieval battlefelds like Haldighati, Chittorgarh and Jodhpur which have witnessed bloody battles showing amazing valour.

“We will explore this idea and make a detailed roadmap based on Lt. General Mathson’s suggestion,” said Rajendra Pachar, chairman of the IHHA convention.

According to vice-president of Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR), Khalid Khan, there could be a war museum, displaying the arms used in the battle, pictures, paintings or other kind of souvenirs and a light and sound show to recreate the battle scene. However, Mr Khalid who is also an ex-president of Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO), said that the purpose is not limited to promoting tourism only. “It is also about knowing and learning our history besides encouraging nationalism and patriotism among Indian visitors,” Mr Khan said.

Tags: shershah suri, battle of sammel