In a significant move to transform Kangra district into a thriving tourism hub, the state government of Himachal Pradesh has announced an investment of INR 3,000 crore to develop the necessary infrastructure.
While reviewing the ongoing tourism initiatives and key projects in Kangra District at a meeting with the district administration officials in Dharamshala, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu emphasised the importance of revitalising traditional tourist destinations and said that several measures are being undertaken to establish Kangra as the premier Tourism capital of the state.
To facilitate improved air connectivity, the expansion of Kangra airport and the construction of heliports in Rakkar and Palampur are already underway. The first phase of the airport expansion will extend the runway length to 1900 meters, enabling the operation of A-320 type aircraft. Subsequently, in the second phase, the runway will be further extended to a total length of 3010 meters. The total cost of acquisition for the first phase is estimated at INR 572.07 crore.
Additionally, the heliports in Rakkar and Palampur have been identified for development, with an estimated cost of INR 6.66 crore and INR nine crore respectively.
The CM also directed the identification and development of trekking trails to promote adventure tourism in the region. He reiterated that the government aims to leverage the unique natural landscapes of Kangra district to attract adventure enthusiasts from around the world.
In addition to infrastructure development, several other tourism projects are in the pipeline, shared Sukhu. These include the construction of an International Convention Centre in Dharamshala, with an estimated cost of INR 130 crore, to promote conference tourism. A golf course is also proposed to be developed in the heritage village of Garli, occupying around 318 kanals of land.
Moreover, the government has also identified land for a proposed Wellness Resort in Nagrota, along with the creation of an artificial lake with fountains.
The development of Ice and Roller-Skating Rinks, a tourist village in Narghota and a destination resort at Menjha near Palampur are among the other notable projects.
Sukhu also discussed plans for the beautification and enhancement of various towns and attractions in Kangra district. Projects include multilevel parking, upgrading of roads and streets, landscape improvements, and the renovation of iconic landmarks.
To enable the establishment of a vibrant day tourism hub, the Nangal Chowk area near Pong Dam, renowned for its shallow waters, will be excluded from the wildlife sanctuary. The development plans for this area include an array of exciting facilities such as hot air ballooning, jetty, angling points, angler huts, paddle boats, and an amusement park featuring activities like paintball and rock climbing.
Additionally, Mathial and Kathrah Khas, situated adjacent to the Dhameta area, hold potential for offering motorboat rides, cruises, yacht experiences, and thrilling rides.
Sukhu also stressed the importance of identifying an appropriate location to create a man-made lake spanning almost two kilometers along a perennial rivulet.
The review also highlighted the proposal for a Zoological Park in the Bankhandi area of the Dehra assembly segment, which will span over 195 hectares of land and offer visitors a unique wildlife experience. The first phase of development will involve an expenditure of INR 260 crore.
The comprehensive development plans aim to position Kangra district as a top tourist destination, boost the local economy and create employment opportunities.