- By: Deepali Nandwani
Dekho Apna Desh, a multi-channel campaign, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi early this year to encourage Indians to explore their own country and help support local economies. Already, through videos, social media posts and webinars hosted by the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture, it has made people sit up and take note of India’s spectacular travel potential—nature, culture, spiritual, heritage, culinary, destinations, and much more.
Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel, is quoted to have said in an interview: “Our focus is on rebooting the tourism economy by reviving demand. Efforts will be put to promote domestic tourism through the Dekho Apna Desh and Incredible India campaigns. We are making efforts to engage with our stakeholders and citizens to sustain their interest in travelling. Our focus is on rebooting the tourism economy by reviving demand.”
Several online posts have introduced Indians to their built and cultural heritage: From quizzes on where the world’s second-largest wall is located to scenic images of tea estates in Munnar and asking people to share little-known-facts of India.
A campaign was also launched to celebrate International Yoga Day, from 15 to 21 June. The global celebration of yoga was initiated on 21 June, 2015 by the United Nations, who recognised its universal appeal. The entire world gets together with India, the motherland of this spiritual and fitness science, to celebrate its life-enhancing force once a year.
The other initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture under the Dekho Apna Desh campaign is a series of webinars. In the latest one, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudeva spoke with Mr Patel and India’s leading names from the world of food, fashion, aviation and hospitality, on Bharat: A Cultural Treasure, as part of the Dekho Apna Desh campaign.
Rupinder Brar, Addl DG (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism and Incredible India invited the yogi, mystic and poet to engage in a conversation with Mr Patel and a panel of leading lights from aviation, hospitality, travel and fashion industries: Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet; Ritesh Agarwal, Founder, OYO; Anita Dongre, Fashion Designer; Ranveer Brar, Celebrity Chef; and Ranju Alex, Vice President (Marketing)–Marriott.
Mr Patel began the session with his soliloquy on the country’s rich heritage and Yoga, its ancient spiritual tradition, particularly keeping in view Yoga Day which coincided with the session.
Sadhguru spoke about his flying experience (he is a trained pilot), the beauty and depth of Indian cuisine and our hospitality traditions. Among the destinations, Sadhguru recommended: the Himalayan range and the Western Ghats, both diametrically different but equally interesting landscapes. For spiritual explorations, he mentioned the Thanjavur temples, the Belur temples and Ajanta and Ellora, which are engineering marvels, as important destinations that are rarely focused on. For cultural experiences, he believes India should market its large repository of culinary traditions, clothing and culture.
Sadhguru encouraged Indians to explore rarely travelled-to-destinations such as the Kumbhalgarh Fort in Rajasthan, which has the second-largest wall in the world that not many know of, even in India.