In Tamal Nadu, spiritual tourism is bringing lakhs of people, with statistics indicating that districts with popular temples have emerged as top draws, reports Times Of India.
The temple town of Kancheepuram ranked first followed closely by Chennai. According to statistic which was collected by directorate of tourism, both Chennai and Kancheepuram collectively account for 20 per cent of the total 38.59 crore domestic tourists who visited the state last year.
Ramanathapuram, Dindigul and Thanjavur that have ancient temples such as Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram, Dhandayuthapani Swamy Temple in Palani and UNESCO-notified Brihadeeswarar Temple have been ranked third, fourth and fifth, based on the number of domestic tourist arrivals.
While Madurai and Kanyakumari figure among the top 10 destinations, Queen of Hill Stations, the Nilgiris, secured 11 position.
For international tourist arrivals the ranking was measured on data collected from check-in at hotels, information from the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department and number of visitors to ticketed monuments of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Indian Association of Tour Operators Tamil Nadu chairman Pandian K said, “The number of spiritual tourists among inbound travellers is growing at a rate of 20 per cent a year. Naadi jothidam and navagraha pilgrimage in Thanjavur region is a hit not only among the Indian diaspora, but foreign nationals, as well.”
He further said, “Exclusive packages are booked overseas for visiting Tamil Nadu temples and the ‘Panchabootha stalams’, involving the worship of five elements of nature, was unique to the state.”,
With regards to improving tourist infrastructure around temples, he said, “Toilets with international standards should be built near temples. Streets leading to the temples must be kept clean.”
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