SL Tourism promotes Murugan-Shiva Shakthi trails among Hindu Pilgrims
Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry has initiated a new Indian tourist promotion plan titled Murugan-Shiva Shakthi trails offering for Indian pilgrims by Air to visit North and East to places of Hindu worship.
Pallay International airport has been redeveloped to facilitate flights from New Delhi to Jaffna, tourism officials said.
Sri Lanka’s tourism officials, conscious of the dire need to shore up the country’s economy, plan to woo a greater number of Indian tourists, who constitute the single largest segment of foreign tourists, through new packages such as the Murugan-Shiva Shakthi trails.
Their optimism stems from the fact that there is a proposal to resume air passenger services from the Palaly airport, in Jaffna, to destinations in the southern part of India. .
Tourism minister Harin Fernando who was in Ahmedabad Journalists “We are trying to bring in a big crowd at once about 2,000 pilgrims to Jaffna airport, and from there starting by road.
‘We are looking at exploring these new avenues. We also have a lot of wellness, yoga, meditation and Ayurvedic medicines. There are a lot of values that India and Sri Lanka share,” the minister said.
As part of the Murugan trail, two important places — Nallur Kandaswamy or Murugan temple in Jaffna of the Northern Province, and Kataragama of the Uva Province in the southeast — have been included.
Referring to the ongoing 25-day-long festival in Nallur (which concludes on August 27), Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, told a group of journalists, from India, recently, in Colombo, that the festival was expected to draw over a million devotees, including 1,00,000 from the diaspora. A “special calendar” of events was being prepared for Hindu devotees.
Answering to a question raise by an Indian Journalist as to whether the Northern Province would be a regular feature in the packages for tourists, Mr. Gajabahu replied in the affirmative and asserted “we have been actively promoting the North on trade FAMs [familiarisation trips].” The East, too, would receive more focus in view of its diverse cultural significance that encompassed Islam. However, he conceded that marketing of the North had not been done “much.”
The question was raised, in the context of coverage of Naguleeswaram in Jaffna and Thiruketheeswaram in Mannar, both coming under five abodes of Lord Shiva in Sri Lanka, in the new Murugan trail.
The other three abodes included Thirukoneeswaram temple, Trincomalee, in the Eastern Province, Munneeswaram temple in the north-west and Tondeeshwaram temple, near Matara, in the south. The trail would also include shrines such as Nagapooshani Amman temple and Nagadeepa Purana Vihara, both in Nainativu, off Jaffna.