BEHRAMPORE: Kiriteshwari, a village around 18km from Murshidabad that houses the Kiriteshwari temple, one of the Shakti Piths among the 51, has been declared the best tourism village in India by the Centre, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Glad to share and announce that Kiriteshwari in the Murshidabad district of West Bengal has been selected by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as the Best Tourism Village of India. The selection happened in the Best Tourism Village Competition,2023, from among 795 applications received from 31 States/ UTs. MoT, GoI will give away awards on 27th September in New Delhi. I congratulate the people of the village,” the CM announced on X.
The competition, according to the tourism ministry website, “seeks to honour a village that best exemplifies a rural tourism destination. It showcases cultural and natural assets, preserves and promotes community-based values, goods and lifestyles” of Indian villages. The site says the competition also “promotes the commitment of villages towards sustainability in all of its aspects – economic, social and environmental. Its goal is to make tourism one of the drivers of positive change, rural development, and community well-being.”
A ministry source said Kiriteshwari’s heritage value, eco-friendly atmosphere and tourist amenities had helped it grab the top honour.
19 homestays for temple village get nod | page 7
Behrampore: Kiriteshwari is around 5km from the Bhagirathi riverbank and 2km from Dahapara halt on the Azimganj-Katwa line. By road, it is 9km from Palsandamore on NH-34.
The village is named after the historical 1,000-year-old Kiriteshwari temple. The original temple was destroyed in 1405. Lalgola king Darpanarayan re-established it later.
Ahead of the honour, the district tourism department had developed infrastructure around the temple area for pilgrims and tourists. The district administration has also approved 19 homestays in the village.
The village attracts many pilgrims during the months of Poush and Baisakh, when they also visit Jagatbandhu Dham in the neighbourhood. These temples, along with Charbangla, Raj Rajeswari, Bhaskar Pandit and Bhattabati Shiv temple, have emerged as a pilgrimage circuit.
Murshidabad DM Rajarshi Mitra said it was a remarkable achievement, given that so many villages from Bengal had been nominated in the preliminary stage. “The tourism ministry had asked us to prepare a document and make a presentation in three days. Additional DM (general) Sumant Sahay and OC tourism, Jayanta Mandal, were instrumental in preparing the document in that short time,” Mitra said.