Recently in December 2008, I visited Scotland. Scotland is beautiful, scenic and breathtaking. The most unforgettable part is the “above par” courtesy of the Scottish people. Being an Indian you are tempted to draw comparisons on several occasions, and wish to see all of it happen there too.
One of my visits was to the Scottish Parliament, Scotland’s landmark for 21st century democracy, located in the world heritage city of Edinburgh. Entry was free. With minimal security check, we were ushered inside the main hall of the Parliament. Scotland’s parliament was given the official Queen’s seal in 1990 and hence the architecture, more than modern.
The authorities ensured that you get all the help to understand about the Parliament with the literature and professionally guided tours. The main debating gallery was the key attraction inside the building, which, too allowed visitors (even when the Parliament is in session, however this needs to be pre-booked). I was surprised at the easy access given to the public
Imagine being able to visit the Indian Parliament or for that matter any State Assembly. Unless you have a pass from an MP or MLA or if you are a journalist, it is likely that you will be turned away.
In the United Kingdom, there are several other stately homes and palaces, which are in active use, where visitors are allowed free or at a nominal entry fee. Examples include Holyrood Palace, Buckingham Palace et al.
India too has a huge list of architectural marvel (not just the Parliament, Rashtrapati Bhavan or the State Assemblies), which can be thrown open to the visitors. This would not only increase the tourist inflow to the country and help in generating worthy revenue for their upkeep, but also increase deeper insight & fame about India’s rich heritage and culture.
Majority of the nations across the globe, are still unaware of the historical depth of our country and if at all they do plan a visit to India, it is only limited and focused.
As a first step the government should list out the highly potential places of interest ( e.g. the ones which are less used and offer a lot of interesting facts about historical and modern India), that are not currently open to the public in general. Do a small survey and beef up the security if required. As an alternative, a pilot can be done on a handful of these. The options are unlimited.
Hopefully, the government will soon realize the importance of the architectural beauty of India and open its doors to the large international tourists waiting out there and may be rake in a few moolah in the process, as well!
Image Credit: T Rangam