Haryana’s folk music, slow village life, historical significance need a marketing push
Haryana is not a hotspot on most people’s tourism maps. But a good look into what Haryana can offer, can draw domestic tourists towards the state.
The Ministry of Tourism had organised a webinar on “Haryana: Culture, Cuisine and Tourism” showcasing the rich and varied heritage of Haryana, as part of its Dekho Apna Desh series. The webinar was moderated by Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry Of Tourism and was presented by Rajbir Deswal, a retired IPS officer and practising advocate along with Mahasingh Poonia, Director of cultural youth and Affairs, Kurukshetra University and Ashish Dahiya, a professor at the Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management, M.D University, Rohtak.
The presenters started the session by highlighting the history and mythology of Haryana. The session then threw light into some lesser known information about the state like regional divisions based on soil i.e. (Khadar, Nardak, Bagad, Bangar), demographic basis i.e. (Ahirwal, Mewat, Braj) and on the basis of eco-cultural zones i.e. (Ahirwal, Mewat, Bagar, Nardak, Khadar).
The session traced how the state got its name from being known as the land of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The name of Haryana came from ‘Hari ka aana’, the presenters said. Haryana has more than 1000 archaeological sites which depicts the history of Haryana and the three famous battles that were fought in Panipat in 1526, 1556 and 1761.
Haryana’s economy is largely agriculture-based. People socialise by sitting around in chaupals and enjoying their hookahs. The folk dances of Haryana like Ghangor and Jhoomar showcases its culture along with its folk music. Haryana is a land of museums, having more than 20 of them. It can also be known as the state of festivals.
The presenters highlighted the charm of the rural Haryana – the visit to villages to enjoy the essence of Haryana by roaming around the fields and enjoying the greenery and easy pace of life.
Haryana was the first state to launch a Masters’ degree course in Tourism Management. Haryana has five Hotel Management Institutes under the Ministry of Tourism.
Abundance of milk and milk products like curd, buttermilk, cheese can be found in every part of Haryana. According to the season and month, one can enjoy various delicacies like Churma, Methi ka Saag, Kakkari, Baingan Bharta, Rabri Sattu, Aam Tapka, Ghee Bura and more.
One can also enjoy the Haryanvi Thali which showcases the simplicity in the food of Haryana. It contains Ganthe (Onions), Kachri, Mixed Lentils Curry or Daal, Methi Gajar ki Sabzi, Kacche Aam ki sabzi, Bajre ki roti, Besan Masala Roti, Hara Dhania Cholia, Mithe Chawal, Churma, Kheer, Lassi, Aam ka achar, Bhune Aloo, Tamatar Chutney and Raita. Then there are sweets like Ghewar, Rewri, Pede, Gazarpak etc. Haryana has so much to serve. While travelling on a highway one cannot afford to miss the piping hot food from Dhaba.
Apart from that, Haryana has many places that tourists can visit. Sonipat is a typical jaat heartland near Delhi and then there is Panipat which has places like Lodhi’s Grave, Kabuli Bagh Mosque, Panipat Museum and Tomb of Bu Ali Shah. Hisar offers interesting sites like Bluebird lake and Asirgarh Fort, Rakhigarhi.
The presenters shared travel Itineraries for 3-4 days and also for seven days, for capturing the real spirit of Haryana. The places covered include Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kaithal, Pehowa, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Yamuna Nagar and Pinjore. The three-day itinerary covers Pinjore-Sirsa-Fatehabad- Rakhi Garhi- Hisar- Bhiwani- Rohtak-Jhajjar- Rewari –Gurgram- Ferozepur- Jhirka.
Rupinder Brar in her concluding remarks spoke about the Ministry of Tourism’s Incredible India tourist facilitator certification programme which will also act as an enabler for transforming a local citizen with no specified skills having proficiency in a regional language into a potential bread earner for their households. This will further help citizens to own up the local culture and show it to the visitors, she said.