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Sat Nov 17 14:20:27 IST
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Blog Entry# 3757128
Posted: Aug 28 (15:39)

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Rail News
Aug 28 (15:38)   New Tourist train to chug on the banks of Sambhar Lake , new rake with luxury AC coaches has arrived

Fox belly coffee roasters~   5 news posts
Entry# 3757128   News Entry# 353689         Tags   Past Edits
JAIPUR: When rains arrive in July, joy erupts in Sambhar. In the chirping cacophony of avian life, Sambhar lake turns into an orchestra for the soul. Dainty, pink flamingos, storks and pelicans accompanied with a few flocks of redshanks, sandpipers, and dark-winged stilts fly in to the shallow saline wetland stretching around 90 sq. km, their winter sojourn, after Rann of Kutch.While birds seduce their human lovers with sounds and whispers, the clear night sky in the secluded vastness silently coverts many into star-gazers who step into its territory. But Sambhar is not just a natural paradise. The process of salt extraction and the toy-like train running on the narrow gauge line to carry the commodity puts the clock back to the British era.Of late, Bollywood has found an interest in Sambhar as it looks for exotic locations. Vikas Bahl’s ‘Super 30’ starring Hrithik Roshan was shot here earlier this year....
A locale for Jodha Akbar, Delhi 6, Veer, Drona, Tever, Ram-Leela, and Highway, Sambhar Salt Lake Flats has even attracted some car manufacturers to use the vast vacant expanses for promotional visuals.Despite the potential, its tourism still remains untapped. But this is set to change soon as the government has pumped in about Rs 100 crore to promote this hidden gem. Under the Swadesh Darshan programme, funds have been sanctioned for development of tourist infrastructure including amenities and facilities, beautification and refurbishment of existing assets and improving the road network.Managing director of Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) Haulianlal Guite said, “Sambhar has immense potential as an exotic tourist destination. Over the last couple of years, we have created new infrastructure meeting a range of needs of tourists and revamped existing assets to convert Sambhar into a tourist town. This will not only create new sources of livelihood for the local people but also preserve the scenic beauty and the rich avian life of the largest inland saline wetland in the country.”The 117-year old meter gauge train line has been relaid over the stretch of about 11 km along the lake. Coaches and engine have already arrived. The tourist train having four coaches, which is expected to start its maiden ride in a couple of months, will bring tourists up and close with the winged wonders and breathtaking vistas of the lake merging with the skyline.A senior official of the corporation said much of the work for developing infrastructure and creating experiences has been completed. Facilities for tourists are in pace now, he added.“Cycle tracks, caravan parks, open air theatre, log huts, parking spaces, festival ground for crafts and arts, renovation and beautification of Shakambari Mata temple, Devyani Kund among others have been undertaken for creating tourist infrastructure in and around Sambhar. But the train ride would be something unique. We have created many facilities for tourists along the train route to enjoy the ride,” said Jitendra Joshi, divisional engineer, RTDC.The town has a rich past and an intriguing British history because of its salt, which was used by the colonizers to control people and geographies. The process of extracting and refining the basic household commodity still remains the same as it was more than 100 years ago. The circuit house built by the British tells the story of the bygone era. “While Sambhar is unique for ecology, mythology and history, it’s an unmatched tourism potential needs to be tapped carefully. Large-scale construction would go against the very nature of the destination. “We have to create experiences with facilities in sync with its rich biodiversity,” said director of Sambhar Heritage Resort which came up only six months ago. Sambhar does not have many hotels but now there is an interest due to the focus of RTDC on making it a well-known tourist destination.“Before RTDC started developing infrastructure, land prices remained stagnant for decades. But now, seeing the future potential, prices have appreciated by 25%,” said Vinod Kumar Sambharia, a local political leader alluding to the interest from people who want to cash in on the future demand.

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