To promote riverine tourism along the river Brahmaputra, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Sagarmala Development Corporation Limited (SDCL), Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and Department of Inland Waterways Transport (DIWT), Government of Assam in Guwahati with the aim to develop a “Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit”. It proposes to connect the sacred historic temples Kamakhya, Pandunath, Ashwaklanta, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar, and Auniati Satra on the banks of the Brahmaputra.
To allow easy access to the seven historic religious sites, ‘Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit’ will provide a modern ferry service, ‘Hop On Hop Off’, unlocking the immense potential of inland waterways. This project is to be executed through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), with an estimated investment of ₹45 crores and is slated to be finished within 12 months. Guwahati, a gateway to Northeast India, has changed over the years and the city has witnessed the confluence of culture over the passage of time. Brahmaputra River, witness of glory and sorrows, flows through the heart of the Guwahati. Brahmaputra, since time immemorial, has sculpted the cultural and historical landscape of Assam. The sacred landmarks along the Brahmaputra speak of the glorious past of Assam, the river has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, the long-stretched ancient trade routes, and the growth of spiritual traditions. Riverine-Based Religious Tourism Circuit will showcase this historicity as well as the heritage of the region and connect the religious sites in Guwahati through the picturesque riverine tapestry.
The circuit aims to promote tourism and Guwahati is the home of a number of revered religious sites and has immense potential to attract tourism. It will allow the tourist to seamlessly experience the spiritual ambiance, enabling pilgrims and tourists to seamlessly visit these sacred places. The visitor’s experience can be enhanced with the rise of investments in infrastructure, accommodation, and transportation along the Brahmaputra river, stimulating economic growth of the region in turn generating employment opportunities. It would not only reflect the spiritual aspect of this city but also highlight the cultural heritage and showcase the unique traditions, art forms, and folklore as it is a melting pot of diverse cultures and ethnicities. The project is one of the many initiatives of the Centre with the aim to bolster its Act East policy and will provide a significant boost in tourism in Assam.
To make the journey more engaging and educational, the circuit can embrace technological advancements by utilizing augmented reality, virtual tours, and interactive guides that can provide historical and cultural insights, making the journey more engaging and educational. Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit will foster regional integration, serving as a platform for cultural exchange thereby promoting an appreciation for the heritage of Assam. Collaboration with neighboring states can expand the circuit further which will in turn lead to a network of riverine-based religious tourism circuits. This project reflects how transformation can be achieved by transportation.
In conclusion, the Riverine-Based Religious Tourism Circuit will allow the tourists to delve into the historical, spiritual and cultural heritage of the region, contributing to the preservation of natural heritage. It will offer visitors a journey through the epochs and traditions, in turn promoting sustainable tourism. Riverine-based religious tourism circuit in Guwahati has the potential to contribute to the economic growth of the region by catalysing investment in infrastructure and spurring technological advancements