Madhya Pradesh Sails Into The Cruise Tourism Market

A 120km route on the Narmada River from the Statue of Oneness in Madhya Pradesh to the Statue of Unity in Gujarat marks the latter's foray into the cruise industry
The Narmada is the largest flowing river in Madhya Pradesh
The Narmada is the largest flowing river in Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh is set to enter the cruise industry after it signed an agreement with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the Gujarat state government. The news follows the announcement that the state will get two new airports to boost tourism to its religious and cultural sites.

According to the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, the cruise will operate from Ekatma Dham (Statue of Oneness) located at Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh to the Statue of Unity located at Kevadiya, Gujarat. According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the three parties, IWAI will provide two floating jetties each to Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple (right) in Madhya Pradesh
The Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple (right) in Madhya PradeshFabio Lamanna/

The agreement ensures the movement of cruise ships on the Narmada River between Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat without any hindrance. A 120km route has been mapped from the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya to Chandankhedi, Kukshi. From Kukshi, tourists will be taken by road to the Statue of Oneness at Omkareshwar. On the way they will also be able to visit Maheshwar, Mandleshwar and Mandu. Two jetties, also known as pontoons, will be established at Chandankhedi-Kukshi and Sakarja-Alirajpur each, and two at Hanfeshwar-Chota Udaipur and the Statue of Unity-Kevadiya.

A pontoon is a floating platform installed on a pier or shore which can safely carry the weight of several people. Cruise tourism is a way for travellers to enjoy the local culture, traditions, lifestyle and cuisine of a place while undertaking an adventurous and comfortable journey in picturesque surroundings.

A pontoon
A pontoon

The government of Madhya Pradesh will develop the required infrastructure and other facilities to promote this type of tourism. They are hopeful that the economic development tied to this project will bring widespread benefits to the local community.

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