Agra: The Taj Mahal, one of the ‘seven wonders of the world,’ attracting lakhs of tourists each year, has failed to feature in Uttar Pradesh’s latest tourism booklet.
Titled Apaar Sambhavnaye or ‘Boundless Possibilities’, the brochure, released by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department displays most of the other cultural and heritage sites in the State, particularly those associated with the Hindu religious tourism, reported The Hindu, a newspaper based in India.
The brochure has raised eyebrows, especially as it comes a few months after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said the Taj Mahal did not represent Indian culture, but the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita did, triggering criticism.
However, Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the State was “committed” to developing the “world famous” Taj Mahal and tourist spots related to it.
“The development of Taj Mahal and Agra is among the priorities of the Central and State governments,” she said.
Agra was being developed as a Smart City, she said, adding that efforts were on to start a Metro rail there.
The brochure has a picture of the Ganga Aarti in Varanasi on its cover featuring Mr. Adityanath and Ms. Joshi, while its inside pages cover most of the cultural and religious sites of tourism and circuits like the Ramayana, Budhha, Krishna, Bundelkhand, Vindhya and Awadh.
The brochure highlights the religious and cultural significance of Varanasi and its ghats, the coming Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, while promoting Ayodhya as the birthplace of Lord Ram and Mathura-Vrindavan for its connection with Lord Krishna.
It also presents the Gorakhpeeth in Gorakhpur, of which the Chief Minister himself is the head priest, as a tourist destination, along with the Devipatan Shakti Peeth.