Swadesh Darshan Scheme, a project undertaken by the Kerala government’s Department of Tourism, is one of its flagship projects for development of thematic circuits in a planned and prioritized manner in major pilgrim and tourism centres in the state.
The scheme was launched in 2014-5 by the Government of India. Till date, the Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 77 projects worth Rs. 6131.88 crore to 30 States and Union Territories.
In Kerala, the project consists of seven clusters, out of which Habitat will be handling three. As part of the scheme, Habitat will be taking up infrastructure development in 147 pilgrim centres across Kerala, which include temples, mosques and churches. These are located in Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Thrissur and Ernakulam.
This scheme was kickstarted with the development of facilities in the premises of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, which is one of the most famous shrines in Kerala visited by thousands from within and outside the country.
The main idea of this scheme is to improve amenities for the people flocking to see these sacred places and the heritage zones around them. The proposed infrastructure will not only facilitate the domestic tourists but also foreign visitors. They will be universal-friendly that would satisfy all the tourists from different parts of the world. For example, the toilets will be built in such a way that these take care of the physically challenged also.
Each centre will be provided with seven amenities, such as multipurpose hall, dining hall, auditorium, interlocking pathway for parking, toilet blocks and drinking water outlet. While constructing the facilities, architects from Habitat had visited each pilgrim centre to understand the requirement of the pilgrims/tourists and also design them in accordance with the Department of Tourism criteria.
The basic architectural plan of every existing facility will be preserved while adding to them new amenities.