Thursday, July 18, 2024

Lack of Tourism Circuits keeps historical places buried

Culture and Heritage visits should be mandatory at the school level

Dr.M. Suresh Babu, State President, Praja Science Vedika

As Rayalaseema holds a unique position in the spread of culture and heritage, the Government should develop these places of heritage importance and there is an immediate need to have a tourism circuit. The neglected forts, caves and monuments in Anantapur and Kurnool Districts should be revamped by the tourism department and tourism circuit should be set up.  As there is no connectivity from one place to another, tourists confine themselves to visiting only few places. The development of tourism circuits is essential for creating sustainable and well-rounded tourism experiences, fostering economic development, preserving cultural and natural heritage, and promoting community involvement in the tourism industry. Tourism circuits refer to well-defined routes or areas that connect various tourist attractions and provide a structured and comprehensive travel experience. Developing tourism circuits is considered the need of the hour.

Boyanavandlapalle caves

Caves at Boyanavandla palle near Chandana were thrown open to public viewing. The entrance of the cave with 60 m of depth and is the third longest cave in the Subcontinent. Cave site is located 10km north to Rayalacheruvu and 28 km to Gooty. These caves are located in green and serene atmosphere. Though the caves are located in Nandyal District, they easily accessible to Anantapur District.

Belum Caves, also known as Belum Guhalu in Andhra Pradesh is the second longest cave in the Indian subcontinent open to public. Measuring 3,229 m (10,593.8 ft), the cave is second natural cave only after Krem Liat Prah caves in Meghalaya. These caves are renowned for their speleothem structures, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations.

More than thousand years old

With long passages, narrow galleries, and spacious tanks filled with fresh water, this cave is more than a thousand year old, and was formed by constant flow of underground water over a period of time. The entrance of the cave called Pataalaganga is the deepest point of the cave with 46 m of depth, nearly 151 ft.

The caves hold immense historical significance as there are several indications that these were occupied by Jain and Buddhist monks many centuries ago. The relics that were found inside the cave were later transported to a museum at Ananthapur. Archaeological survey of India (ASI) had discovered vessels of the pre-Buddhism era which are supposedly more than 4500 years old!

Belum Caves were first recorded in an 1884 expedition report by Robert Bruce Foote, who was a British archaeologist. But even after that, these remained unnoticed for several decades and much later in the years 1982 and 1983, a German team conducted a survey and explored these caves thoroughly.

Belum caves abused until recently

Situated in Belum Village of Kurnool district, Belum caves were used to dump waste products. Later, the villagers along with policemen and Andhra government worked quite hard to clean the caves and develop it as a tourist destination. After nearly 20 years of hard work, these caves were declared protected site in the year 1988 by the Andhra Pradesh government.    It was only in the year 1999 that the development of the Belum Cave began by the state tourism development corporation and by 2002, the caves were thrown open to the public viewing

There will be a significant effect on teachers and students Academic Knowledge and their Sensitivity of field trips to historical-cultural heritage Sites.  Heritage visit empowers a multi-cultural and inclusive student body to overcome the social, cultural, economic, and geographic barriers. This type of learning system embraces transformational student-centered education that cultivates leadership and a commitment to the promotion of a more just society. Students learn the information on visiting various heritage sites, forts, and monuments.  A proposal to form tourism circuits to connect interior historic places in Rayalaseema region has been neglected and confined to papers. Forts, Monuments, great sculptures, temples, and exclusive locations could not be brought to light due to lack of proper transport connectivity and other facilities. Except during special occasions, the tourist spots have been in dark throughout the year. The concept of connectivity is to provide easy access to interior locations along with familiar spots. But no action was initiated by the departments concerned.

Anantapur and Kurnool have many ancient temples, monuments, caves  and forts. Each is unique in its own way and every construction clearly depicts the richness of ancient art when modern facilities were unknown. The scenic landscapes and the ancient culture of these places take tourists a different world on our short tour of the land. There is an immediate need to connect all incredible landmarks in Rayalaseema and Bellary neighboring Karnataka state. Next-generation will understand the valour of these places.

Dr. M. Suresh Babu
Dr. M. Suresh Babu
Dr. M. Suresh Babu has been a Professor, Dean and Principal in various engineering colleges and institutions in Hyderabad and Anantapur. His approach to teaching is “For the student, by the student and to the student.” He is associated with several Civil Society Organizations like Praja Science Vedika and Election Watch.



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