The aroma of biryani slow-cooked over wood fire, a unique flower festival, beautiful waterfalls inside pristine tiger forests, Hyderabad's famous Charminar and Salar Jung Museum and a modern IT hub: all this has led the newly-created state of Telangana to dream big about its tourism potential.
Barely three months into existence, India's 29th state, Telangana, has set its eyes on developing a robust tourism industry by investing Rs.100 crore (over $15 million) to erect hospitality infrastructure, increase convenience for in-bound travellers and promote its unique cultural identity.
"Tourism being a thrust area, there is no dearth of resources for development of instructure. Projects with a total outlay of over Rs.100 crore are being executed with the assistance of the central and state government," Telangana's principal secretary for planning, tourism and culture B.P. Acharya told IANS.
"We are in the process of identifying many more new initiatives. The state government already has a tax incentive policy in place to promote the industry."
According to Acharya, the state government will make all-out efforts to promote the industry as a positive multiplier effect for the economy.
State capital Hyderabad is currently a major draw for the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) activities, due to its robust IT industry, world class convention centre and modern airport.
Not to mention Hyderabad's rich culinary traditions made famous by the uniquely cooked biryanis, the cultural attributes and historical sites have remained intact since the time of the nizams.
However, apart from the capital, the state wants to promote unexplored destinations like tiger reserves at Kawal, Jannaram, Tadavai and Mannanur which are being developed for adventure and eco-tourism.
Cultural events such as Bhatukamma, India's largest flower festival, is another attraction that the state wants to promote.
"Bhatukamma, India's largest festival of flowers, being celebrated now, is a unique platform to celebrate life and womanhood and also the cultural identity of Telangana," Acharya added.
The grand finale of the festival, which is the equilent of Navratri, will witness 35 tonnes of flowers used by over 25,000 women to offer their floral tribute to Goddess Gouri with pomp and gaiety.
The state is also trying to attract top hotel chains, which already have multiple properties in Hyderabad to other major cities.