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Pilgrim’s Progress: Indian Tourism Has Remained Rooted To Faith

Pilgrimage remains the Indian traveller’s primary motivation. But around that, everything else has changed down the decades.

Pilgrim’s Progress: Indian Tourism Has Remained Rooted To Faith
Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
Pilgrim’s Progress: Indian Tourism Has Remained Rooted To Faith
outlookindia.com
2021-08-14T08:45:00+05:30

It was a strange period. Having attained freedom from the British, India underwent radical changes—not only politically, but also in the realms of geography, culture, society, economy and national behaviour. Our obeisance to religion, however, hardly tapered. Even today—despite sections bathed in modernity and lateral thinking—religion is the bedrock of life.

In a conversation with a teenager sitting snugly in the sprawling ‘recreation’ room of a house in a posh part of Delhi, I realised that some presumptions are far removed from the larger reality. For him, vacationing meant skiing in the Swiss Alps, shopping in Knightsbridge in London, or a wildlife safari in Kenya. He was shocked to hear that spiritual or religion-based tourism accounts for over 60 per cent of domestic flows.

Pilgrimage tourism has grown over the decades, but during the formative years of independent India, it was the primary travel that people undertook, apart from events like marriages. Members of joint families gathered around the dining table as the patriarch...

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