Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kerala Backwaters, Rajasthan eclipse Taj Mahal as dream Destination

Rajasthan with its ornate palaces and impressive havelis amidst the glorious sand dunes and the pristine backwaters of Kerala have obscured India's iconic Taj Mahal in an international survey that was that rated the top most 133 tourists attractions all around the globe.

The survey was conducted by National Geographic Society's Center for sustainable eco locations, has published in the latest issue of Traveler Magazine.

Rajasthan has been declared as the world's 19th dream destination; while beautiful backwaters of Kerala has been rated 23rd.

The Taj Mahal – 'Seventh Wonder of the World' along with Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri have been alloted 30th place in the survey.

One of the panelists opined that Rajasthan looks like Tuscany, a region in north central Itlay known for its landscapes and its artistic bequest.

As per the survey reports, Rajasthan has a "strong sense of cultural identity" and "remarkable appeal and mystique".

However, the survey expressed its concern about the tourism benefits not reaching the local communities.

"Improved tourist facilities fuelled an eight-point jump from five years ago, though concerns remain that tourism benefits are not reaching local communities," it said.

The lakes, rivers and canals in the southern Indian state of Kerala, "on which visitors ply aboard houseboats, present a unique travel and cultural experience".

However, the survey said "the number of boats is not so large" that environmental degradation is feared.

The survey said, Agra, the host of three iconic World Heritage sites - Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri - is "in dire need of environmental planning".

"Things are getting better for these historic sites mainly through the hard efforts of local heritage protection activists."


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