Aimed at boosting adventure and heritage segments, Maharashtra inks MoU with ASI

Maharashtra boasts of over 350 forts, many of them dotted along its meandering coastline, reminding tourists of its eventful bygone era and the mighty Maratha empire which once ruled this coastal state. Forts have been an important element in the larger tourism profile of the state, with Sindhudurg, Kaigad and Pratapgarh already witnessing decent turn-out of domestic and international tourists. In a development that could further jettison sindhudurg_fort1tourism in the state and come as a major attraction for travellers heading to Maharashtra seeking a heady mix of heritage and adventure, combined in one, MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) has recently inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to develop tourist facilities across 90 forts currently under the management of the central preservation agency.

With this development, Maharashtra has become the third state to have a MoU in place, after Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, to develop tourist facilities at sites controlled and managed by ASI. The MoU puts MDTC in charge for carrying out construction of tourist-friendly infrastructure in and around these 90 shortlisted forts. The state government is expected to appoint a director to strategize a conservation plan, who in consultation with an architect would chalk out a comprehensive action plan. In the first leg of the restoration process, more prominent forts like Sindhudurg and Shivneri will be taken up for development.

The MoU entails construction of facilities like toilets, drinking water, shelters, cafeterias, signages, parking spots and pathways among others. As per the details, MTDC is also expected to create a tourist information centre at each of these 90 forts while a 7-member core committee to monitor will monitor the restoration process. 

The government is also mooting developing forts as centres for cultural activities. There are plans to organise ‘Fort Festivals’ and events such as ‘Diwali at Forts’ to develop them as tourist hotspots. Principal Secretary for Tourism and Culture Valsa Nair was quoted in an English daily “the objective is to make these forts culturally active for at least five days a year.”

The state tourism department had organised a five-day festival at the Raigad fort last year, which aimed at celebrating the feats of Chatrapati Shivaji. 

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