India must promote Tourist Regions beyond the Golden Triangle

There is more to India than the Golden Triangle
  • There is more to India than the Golden Triangle. Article suggest 5 regions that should be promoted and has a To Do List for Central & state governments.

For decades we were told about the Golden Triangle consisting of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. It has come to a stage where one feels these are India’s best and only tourist destinations. Actually, there is a lot more to India. 


This article suggest five regions that must be promoted aggressively. Some destinations are in backward areas. Tourism will promote employment, enhance incomes and development of the region.


The first such region is Gwalior, Orchha (UNESCO recently declared both as World Heritage Cities), Khajuraho and Jhansi.

Gwalior Fort

Padavali Temple, Morena.

Gwalior is under explored and could be a base for visiting not only Orchha and Khajuraho but also Jhansi, Dholpur (Chambal ravines) and Morena Temples.


Gwalior is connected by air and train with good places to stay. Currently, only one airline flies into Gwalior. Need more.


It has lots to see for eg Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace Museum, Rock-Cut Jain Colossi and Sas Bahu Temple (architectural marvel). Morena has three temples namely Bateshwar (restored by ASI team headed by Prof K K Muhammad), Chausath Yogini (whose round shape is believed to have inspired Parliament design) and Padavali (sculptures are a masterpiece).

Datia Palace.

Enroute from Gwalior to Jhansi is the 7 storied palace at Datia. For the devout Datia has a Shaktipeeth and Jain Temples. Close by is the Jhansi Fort, immortalized by the Rani of Jhansi.


About 19 kms from Jhansi is the heritage town of Orchha. It is known for its Chhatris (cenotaphs), sun-set and Raj/Jahangir Mahal. If there is water one can go river rafting in river Betwa on whose banks Orchha is. For the devout there is Ram Raja Temple (here Ram is worshipped as King) and Chaturbhuj Temple. Bundela style Paintings inside the fort and Lakshmi Narayan Temple are worth seeing.


It has hotels catering to various price points. Town is very clean.


Jhansi is well connected by train. It is an overnight journey from Mumbai if one takes the Delhi Rajdhani Express from C.S.T. Wish the train stopped at Gwalior–would give a fillip to tourism. Similarly, the Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Bhopal stops at Jhansi. 

Bundela Paintings, Orchha.

Jhansi to Khajuraho is 175 kms. I am told that work on making the existing road to a four lane one is in progress. The temples of Khajuraho do not need any elaboration.


Khajuraho to Gwalior is a longish drive at 280 kms. Wish there is a direct 4 lane highway connecting the two.


Orchha, Khajuraho and Jhansi are in Bundelkhand, under-developed parts of the region. More tourists will increase economic activity. It could also motivate sellers of world famous Chanderi (app 122 kms away) saris to open shops in Orchha. Close to Khajuraho is the Panna Wildlife Park and 175 kms away is the pilgrimage town of Chitrakoot, both attractive destinations.


Madhya Pradesh Tourism has good hotel accommodation in each location, barring Jhansi where Uttar Pradesh Tourism have their hotel.


What is missing in an aggressive marketing promotion for the region? MP Tourism must start conducted tours out of Gwalior. This shall attract travelers who want safety and find it too expensive to cover each location alone. For packaged tours MP Tourism could seek guidance from Tamil Nadu Tourism who have been running tours for years.

Ajanta Caves.

The second region that needs to be promoted is Ajanta and Ellora. Both are located in the backward Marathwada region of Maharashtra. There is nothing in the world like this. Aurangabad is the base town to visit them.


Ajanta has only Buddhist Caves (29) whilst Ellora has 34 caves of which 17 are Hindu, 12 Buddhist and 5 Jain. Of these the most known is Kailasa.  

Kailasa Temple, Ellora 

Kailasa Temple Ellora is a single rock complex which was carved from top to the bottom. The temple complex is “83 metres long, 46 m wide and 33 m deep.” It was excavated by cutting away more than 50 million tons of rock from the sloping hill.


The Centre can help by making a 4 lane highway from Aurangabad to Ellora (31 kms) and Ajanta (95 kms). 


The third region for promotion is Konark in Odisha. Tourists who visit Konark can also see Bhubaneshwar, Ratnagiri Monastery, Peace Stupa besides buying handicrafts from Pipli ie enroute. 

Ratnagiri Monastery near Bhubaneshwar.

The Sun Temple at Konark was conceived as chariot with 12 pairs of wheels drawn by 7 galloping horses, all carved from stone. The 12 wheels represent 12 months of the year. The chariot (7 horses) represents 7 days of the week n 24 hours of the day in its concept.


The Centre can help by making the entire Bhubaneshwar Konarak highway 4 lane.  

Bahubali Pranams.

The fourth region to be promoted are Belur (Chennakeshava Temple) and Halebidu in Karnataka. Belur is 220 kms from Bengaluru. Enroute worth seeing is Bahubali Gomateshwara at Sravanabelgola.


The Belur temple is used making soft soapstone with very intricate carvings. Temples are worth seeing. In particular the Belur temple is known for sculptures of ladies, on its external wall, called Madanikas.

Madanikas - Lady seeing herself in the mirror. 

Bengaluru is well connected across India. Karnataka Tourism runs conducted tours already from Bengaluru.

Gopuram Srirangam Temple, Trichy 

The fifth region to be promoted are Trichy and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.


Tourists can see India’s biggest temples namely Sri Rangam Trichy, Brihadesvara Thanjavur (Tanjore) and Gangai kondacholapuram (height of 182 feet) and Maratha Palace in Tanjore.


The Big Temple Tanjore is built out of granite, the vimana tower above the sanctum is one of the tallest (60.96 metres). On top of Vimana is a Stone Sikhara that weighs 81 tons. It is still a mystery on how it was carried to such height.

Vimana, Big Temple.

The distance between Trichy and Tanjore is 57 kms. Trichy is well connected.


Simply put, the Central and state governments must promote these five regions.  This shall introduce the world and Indians to India besides promoting development of backward / under promoted regions.


Broadly speaking the Centre should focus on improving connectivity (highway/air/rail) and promotion with state governments doing the rest.


Receive Site Updates