Namaste Orchha goes global

A giant Baobab tree, dimly lit banks of Betwa river and a spate of music is the never imagined mystical experience you can expect from the “Namaste Orchha” festival in Madhya Pradesh.

Hindustani classical vocal singer Shubha Mudgal will perform alongside a giant African Baobab, a 500-year-old tree planted by Maharaja Vir Singh Deo. Additionally, there will be performances by Swanand Kirkire, Manoj Bajpayee, Shilpa Rao, and Indian Ocean.

Organisers have put together a “Maha-Aarti on the banks of river Betwa for a complete experience of the mythical city of Ram Raja. For the three-day festival, starting on March 6 the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board is imparting training to tourist guides in foreign languages.

The natural beauty, the archaeological and historical significance of Orchha, local food and folk arts will also be promoted in the festival. The Madhya Pradesh government plans to develop the ancient Ram Raja Temple in Orchha into a major pilgrimage and tourist attraction on the lines of Somnath Temple, Tirumala Tirupati and Golden Temple.

The archaeological, forest and urban administrations have been working on a cohesive development project of Orchha. A master plan has been finalised on the lines of Somnath Temple and Golden Temple for the development of the Ram Raja Temple. Besides the entry and exit routes, the temple courtyard will be developed and given a grand appearance. This will also help in the economic progress of the people of Orchha.

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Business is empowerment

Local women are being given free training in e-rickshaw driving in Orchha. Trained women will take tourists around Orchha on e-rickshaw. In the first phase of training, 20 women from Orchha and nearby villages interested in this work are being trained to run e-rickshaws.

Women are also being given training in driving, general repairing of e-rickshaws, how to talk to guests, knowledge of the language and general computer information. Driving licenses will also be given to women under training.

At the Orchha Festival, hotel, restaurant operators and shopkeepers are being trained to welcome and treat foreign tourists. They have been told to behave well and treat the tourists with respect by following the “Atithi Devo Bhava” (Guest is equivalent to God) tradition. During the festival, special attention has been given to cleanliness in Orchha.

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