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Business News/ News / India/  From ancient structures to luxury retreats: Varanasi sees boom in spiritual tourism
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From ancient structures to luxury retreats: Varanasi sees boom in spiritual tourism

Varanasi witnessed a staggering influx of tourists in 2023, with over 5.38 crore visitors, including 13,700 from foreign shores, as per data from the UP tourism department.

Varanasi witnessed a staggering influx of tourists, with over 5.38 crore visitors in 2023. (Representative Image)Premium
Varanasi witnessed a staggering influx of tourists, with over 5.38 crore visitors in 2023. (Representative Image)

The city of Varanasi is renowned for its sacred Ganga river, majestic ghats, delectable cuisine, elegant silk sarees, ancient universities, and temples. Popular for the miscellany of spirituality, culture, art, food, and heritage, Varanasi is endearingly monikered as Kashi or Banaras. The city, for ages, has long been the ultimate pilgrimage for the devotees of Hinduism worldwide.

In 2023, Varanasi witnessed a staggering influx of tourists, with over 5.38 crore visitors, including 13,700 from foreign shores, as per data from the UP tourism department. This marked a substantial increase from the 54.8 lakh visitors recorded in 2014, coinciding with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rise to power at the Centre and his electoral victory in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, a BJP stronghold since 1991.

The surge in tourist arrivals has catalyzed the economic growth of the 'Spiritual Capital of India,' with tourism-related income experiencing a remarkable 65% surge, particularly following the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor. This growth can be attributed to significant improvements in infrastructure, such as airports, well-connected roads, and luxurious accommodation options, all while maintaining a steadfast commitment to preserving its rich heritage.

One such ancient building is Dalmia Bhawan, set to be transformed into ‘Sabo Boutique Hotel’, a luxury hotel, which aims to contribute to Kashi's tourism sector.

The 200-year-old ‘Danish architecture’ cherish the historic memories with Annie Besant, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindra Nath Tagore, and Sarojini Naidu, said Kunal Dalmia, adding that it has witnessed India's journey from colonialism to independence and now as the global tourism hub from the eyes of Varanasi.

“With the increasing influx of travellers to the city, Banaras will continue to shine on , our Boutique Heritage Hotel is going to make a lasting impression on the city and for this quantum jump, the city needed great infrastructure to create an experience for discerning tourists," said Kunal Dalmia, owner of Dalmia Bhawan, situated between two popular Ghats of Banaras, Assi Ghat and Dashaswhamedh Ghat.

He attributed the rise of luxury and spiritual tourism in India to a combination of improved connectivity, enhanced infrastructure and modernization of the pilgrimage cities under various programs offered by the Government of India including PRASAD scheme.

To cater this inflated demand of spiritual tourism in Varanasi, the Dalmia family is determined to create a lasting impression on the city with the transformation of 19th century garden home into a modern SABO Boutique hotel that is being reconstructed in the honour of Kunal Dalmia's mother Savitri Devi, tourism expert Nitin Kumar Singh, exploring Varanasi’s historical buildings and Hindu Civilization, told us.

“We are soon going to transform our family treasure Dalmia Bhawan into SABO Boutique Hotel to cater to the rising demand of spiritual tourism creating unique experiences for knowledgeable travellers. Our family has had a close bond with this city over ages and our philanthropic gestures in preserving the culture of the city runs in the family," Kunal Dalmia added.

Besides the hospitality sector, the Dalmia's have also contributed to Banaras' art, culture and education as late LN Dalmia had gifted a 275-room hostel in the memory of his father Duli Chandji Dalmia known as “Dalmia Hostel" and a Home Science block to Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in the memory of his wife Savitri Devi Dalmia (Sabo) known as Savitri Devi Dalmia Vigyan Bhawan".

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Published: 14 Apr 2024, 07:02 AM IST
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