The Ministry of Tourism has included the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar in its Swadesh Darshan Scheme II.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
- Launched in 2015, the Swadesh Darshan Scheme aims at developing sustainable and responsible tourism destinations in the country.
- It is a 100% centrally funded initiative with the goal of enhancing tourism’s contribution to local economies, creating jobs, and increasing private sector investment in tourism and hospitality.
Need for Inclusion
- Architect Ajay Kulkarni, a member of non-profit group Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), emphasized that Ajanta and Ellora caves should have been part of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme long ago.
- Despite their UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the caves lack necessary infrastructure.
- Inclusion in the central scheme aims to ensure the provision of world-class facilities at both sites.
- Preserving and enhancing local cultural and natural resources is a major objective of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
- The state government is expected to designate a project implementing agency for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme II.
- Inclusion of Ajanta and Ellora caves is seen as a significant boost for local tourism and hospitality sectors.
Expansion and Recent Developments
- With the inclusion of Ajanta and Ellora caves, the Swadesh Darshan Scheme II now covers 57 destinations across 32 states and Union Territories.
- Additionally, the Ghrishneshwar Temple in Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar district has been included in the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive scheme.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) with Answers:
- What is the main objective of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme?
- a) Enhancing local economies
- b) Promoting international tourism
- c) Funding infrastructure projects
- d) Developing industrial zones
- Which organization emphasized the need for Ajanta and Ellora caves to be included in the Swadesh Darshan Scheme?
- a) Ministry of Tourism
- b) Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)
- c) Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC)
- d) UNESCO
- How many destinations are covered under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme II with the inclusion of Ajanta and Ellora caves?
- a) 57
- b) 32
- c) 100
- d) 10