New Delhi: The Union Tourism and Culture Minister Smt. Ambika Soni will lay the foundation stone of the Display Hall-cum-Tourist Facilitation Center at Village Khurali, Tehsil Garhshankar, District Hoshiarpur on 7th January, 2009. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Punjab S. Hira Singh Gabria will also grace the occasion.
The project aims at promoting and popularizing Village Khurali as a Rural Tourist Destination Village place where a great saint of mediaeval India, Guru Ravidass visited and stayed for a period of four (04) years, two (02) months and eleven (11) days between the years 1515-1519 AD. The project of establishing of Village Khurali as a Tourist Destination village has been envisaged keeping in view the focus of the National tourism Policy, 2002 on developing rural tourism with the ultimate objective of providing sustainable livelihoods and integrated rural development.
At the place where Guru Ravidass stayed and meditated, a Gurudwara has been built, which is well-maintained. As with other Gurdwaras, there is a separate langar hall within the Gurdwara premises. One wheel of the flour mill is lying in the Gurdwara alongwith three stones with which Guru Ravidass uses to distribute grains among the local populace. Alongside Charan Ganga, a langar hall with a shed for people is already there.
Since there is large following of Guru Ravidass in north and central India, it is proposed that if this place of historical and immense Rural Tourist Destination Village of importance is developed, this would not only increase tourist inflow to Hoshiarpur district but will also do good to the local populace, majority of which is able to meet just two ends meet because of small landholdings and poor soil profile.
The primary targeted beneficiaries are villagers of Khurali and nearby villages, who are disadvantaged in the sense that most of them are poor since their landholdings are small, the quality of soil is poor and groundwater is available only at a depth of around 1100 feet. The other beneficiaries include the women and unemployed youth, who will get self-employment opportunities in tourism-support activities such as lodging, cuisine, guiding and by providing to and fro transportation services from Garhshankar, a sub-divisional headquarter situated on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh a State Highway.
The Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs. 159.57 lakh in October, 2008 for the grant of Central Financial Assistance (CFA). 80% of the sanctioned amount of Rs. 159.57 lakh has already been released for the project. The CFA will be utilized for construction of Display Hall-cum-Tourist facilitation center at Ground Floor, Tourist perception center at first and ladies and gents toilets, public health charges, construction of retaining wall, providing & fixing reflective tape sign board. The project shall be commissioned within a maximum period of six months from the date of issue of sanction i.e. 15th October, 2008.