24 January, 2021

Virus Keeps Nirvana-Seekers, Pilgrims Away From Buddha's Land As Hotels Languish

Tourism business in Bodh Gaya has taken a massive hit. Last year, more than 3.5 crore tourists visited the state. Of them, almost 11 lakh were foreigners

Virus Keeps Nirvana-Seekers, Pilgrims Away From Buddha's Land As Hotels Languish

Bodh Gaya has been desolate ever since the lockdown was enforced. The pilgrims, tourists, nirvana-seekers and mendicants who frequented the holy town, where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment more than two and a half millennia ago, are missing. Their absence has dealt a crippling blow to the tourism industry that sustained the local economy for centuries. “The virus has ruined the tourism ecosystem,” says Sanjay Singh, general secretary, Bodh Gaya Hotel Association. “There are about 40 large and 70-80 smaller hotels in the town, but these have remained shut for over three months.”

 Singh, who owns Delta International Hotel, adds that the government has all­owed hotels to reopen, but business remains negligible because of lack of visitors. “We are neither getting dom­estic tourists nor foreign ones, who were the backbone of our revenues. Worse, there are no corporate clients or wedding bookings because of social distancing norms. I don’t see any ray of hope. I doubt things will improve soon,” he says. “People...



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