PATNA: The state tourism department is all set to develop the ghats of the city, like Varanasi, to increase tourist flow. For starters, four socio-cultural spots have been identified———Collectorate ghat, Kali ghat, Mahendru ghat and Bhadra ghat.
“The idea is to give the banks an aesthetic makeover so that they can be a huge draw with tourists,” said Rashmi Verma, principal secretary, Bihar Tourism.
She added, “During my recent interaction with East Asian tour operators in New Delhi, they said Asian tourists have shown a keen desire to visit the river ghats of Patna.”
Even tourists from the US, France and Germany have shown interest in the ancient river. “Four ghats will be beautified in the first phase. Among the attractions, there will be aarti’ shows and cultural programmes on the patterns of Varanasi,” she said.
The famo us river ghat at Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district will also be developed in the later stage, said an official. Varanasi is still the most favourite destination for European and American tourists, who lap up the customs and traditions that they get to see along these banks. The 4-km stretch, covering the ghats, looks mesmerising during morning and evening aarti’.
The state urban development department has also chalked out an ambitious plan to develop a walkway for pedestrians, illuminate heritage buildings along the river and develop inter-ghat spaces by landscaping and constructing gardens. The landscaping will be done along the inter-ghat spaces between Collectorate ghat and Gaighat, along the 6-km stretch. The proposed walkway, six metres wide, would stretch 5.5 km from the Collectorate ghat to Gaighat.
The pathway would be of great help to those visiting the bank during festivals like Chhath (sun worship). The walkway will prevent disposal of solid waste into the river or on the bank and likely to check encroachments along the bank.
Last year, the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) started operating an air-conditioned floating restaurant, MV Ganga Vihar, from Gandhi ghat with food and cruise twice a day. The cruise received a huge response.
BSTDC has completed the construction of a double-storey air-conditioned restaurant at Gandhi ghat, which will be operational soon.