Time to turn spiritual sites into tourism hotspots with technology

Many holy sites in India are historically important. The government should allocate funds and implement policies for the protection and renovation of such places.
Time to turn spiritual sites into tourism hotspots with technology

India is the land of ancient traditions and knowledge. With its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscape and spiritual sites, it can become a global centre of spiritual tourism. Recognising the occasion, the Modi government can play a key role by implementing policies and initiatives around it. One of the major factors is to ensure adequate infrastructure in and around spiritual centres.

The government should invest in improving the transport network, including road, railway and air connectivity, to make these destinations more accessible. Additionally, advanced accommodation options and basic facilities like clean water, sanitation and electricity can enhance the tourist experience.

Many holy sites in India are historically important. The government should allocate funds and implement policies for the protection and renovation of such places. This includes maintaining the structural integrity of temples, monasteries and heritage buildings. Spiritual tourism often runs alongside wellness tourism. The country can offer programmes promoting yoga, meditation and ayurveda. By supporting welfare centres and resorts in spiritual sites, it can attract tourists interested in re-living its mind and body. Effective marketing is necessary to attract tourists. 

The government can cooperate with the private sector to launch India’s spiritual diversity. This includes online promotion, social media marketing and participation in international travel expos. To ensure a positive experience for visitors, the government can invest in training programmes for guides, hospitality employees and service providers at these sites. Installing explanatory centres and cultural exhibitions in and around the places can offer a deeper understanding of their history, importance and philosophy. These centres can present multimedia presentations, artworks and interactive displays to educate tourists.

The government should fund research and documentation efforts to highlight the untold stories related to these spiritual centres. Encouraging scholars, historians and archaeologists to research can add another layer of cultural and historical importance to these sites. Many spiritual places are located in rich areas with natural beauty and other attractions. Developing policies that promote connectivity between these sites and nearby tourist destinations can encourage travellers to learn more about the offerings of this field.

Ancient cultures have long held a rich tapestry of spiritual beliefs and traditions that have greatly contributed to the human story. With the erosion of physical artefacts and the dispersion of indigenous communities, however, the preservation and transmission of these traditions has become increasingly challenging. This is where the fusion of technology, particularly virtual reality (VR) and holograms, can bridge the gap between the past and present. VR Labs must be set up not only in the vicinity of spiritual sites but also in the educational institutes, so that GenNext connects itself with the ancient roots.

For instance, one can step into a virtual reconstruction of an ancient temple, walk through sacred forests, or even participate in age-old rituals, all while feeling a deep sense of presence. Many sacred sites and buildings have deteriorated over time. VR can recreate these in their original glory, giving people an opportunity to explore them and understand their significance.

Holograms can bring ancient spiritual leaders, philosophers, or cultural icons back to life in an interactive manner. Individuals can also participate in workshops and rituals guided by these ancient spiritual leaders. Holographic displays in museums can offer visitors a dynamic way to explore ancient artifacts and traditions. The integration of VR and holograms will enhance cultural appreciation, foster cross-cultural understanding, and deepen our connection to the spiritual dimensions of our world. 

India’s spiritual heritage is a valuable property that can be used to promote tourism and the country’s economy. By investing in infrastructure, conservation, marketing and training and simplifying visa processes, India can become a global centre for spiritual tourism, which can share its intensive knowledge and cultural wealth with the world.

Sumeet Bhasin

Director, Public Policy Research Centre

Posts on X (formerly known as Twitter): @sumeetbhasin

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The New Indian Express