Inspired by Rajasthan, the Uttar Pradesh government is all set to promote its forts and palaces as destination wedding sites and give a fillip to the state’s economy. The initiative has been taken under the Tourism policy-2022, which seeks to make Uttar Pradesh a trillion-dollar economy by 2027. An official said that a proposal on the matter is expected to come up in the cabinet meeting very soon. “Uttar Pradesh is a very attractive place to make marriage memorable with royal pomp and cultural heritage,” UP Principal Secretary for Tourism and Culture Mukesh Kumar Meshram told PTI. Meshram said that besides the Taj Mahal, the state is replete with forts and palaces, all with serious potential to offer themselves as a destination wedding site.
“There are many places such as Mathura-Vrindavan, which is the city of spiritual love, there is Chunar fort, and then there is Mahoba’s ‘Mastani Mahal’ associated with Bajirao-Mastani’s deep love. There are several palaces in Bundelkhand, each with a story behind it. We are going to highlight them all,” he said. According to a state official, about 40,000 marriages took place in Rajasthan between November 2022 and March 2023. The state had a turnover of about Rs 2,500 crore in the marriage business alone, which took a beating because of the COVID pandemic, he said. According to Meshram, the number of tourists, domestic or foreigners, who thronged the Taj or places in Varanasi for destination weddings, thinned out during the pandemic. But, he said, things are looking up again.
The tourism department has identified 100 places in the state, with 10 historical-mythological places, such as Chunar Fort of Mirzapur, Chattar Manzil of Lucknow, Jal Mahal of Barsana of Mathura, and Barua Sagar of Jhansi, prominent among them. These places can go into business from next year, Meshram said, adding the proposal is ready to go before the state cabinet. “The program will be developed on a PPP (Public-Private Partnership) basis and all the facilities will be provided in the same premises without making any change in the original architecture of our heritage forts and palaces,” he said. Meshram said the idea is in line with the view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who want to strengthen the economy of the state, while also preserving its heritage, especially the Bundelkhand regions.