Swadesh Darshan Scheme

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India has launched Swadesh Darshan scheme for integrated development of tourist circuits based on specific themes. In pursuance to the Budget Announcements of 2014-15, Swadesh Darshan, together with PRASAD – another notable tourism scheme, was launched in January 2015. The projects sanctioned under the two schemes have been proposed to be commissioned in 18 to 36 months. Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, thirteen thematic circuits have been identified for development. It may be noted here that thematic circuits are tourist circuits developed on the basis of specific themes, such as ethnicity, religion and culture. The circuits are, in effect, the destinations covering targeted tourist spots and attractions renowned for their cultural heritage, spiritual significance, and ecotourism and thereby may provide a deep insight and holistic perspective to the visiting tourists about diverse ethno-cultural richness of the country. The tourist circuits are to be   developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner by taking into consideration concerns and needs of all stakeholders. Thus they, on the one hand, make the tourists experience pleasure of tourism while they are moving through these places and on the other hand help in generating employment opportunities for the local populace. The whole idea of Swadesh Darshan scheme is based on the concept of developing a tourist circuit which covers or passes through a route on which at least three major tourist destinations must be located in such manner that none of them should exist in same town, village or city. The said circuit must have well defined entry and exit points and should not be separated by long distance so that a tourist may be naturally motivated to visit all the spots falling within the region or area of the circuit. The thematic circuits identified by the government for promoting heritage, ethnic and cultural tourism is listed below—

  • North-East India Circuit
  • Buddhist Circuit
  • Himalayan Circuit
  • Coastal Circuit
  • Krishna Circuit
  • Desert Circuit
  • Tribal Circuit
  • Eco Circuit
  • Wildlife Circuit
  • Rural Circuit
  • Spiritual Circuit
  • Ramayana Circuit
  • Heritage Circuit

Swadesh Darshan Scheme:At a Glance


  • The Union Ministry of Tourism had launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in 2014-15 with an aim to develop theme based tourist circuits in the country.
  • These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
  •  They will be developed by synergizing efforts to focus on concerns and needs of all stakeholders to enrich tourist experience and enhance employment opportunities.
  • Under this scheme, 13 thematic circuits have been identified for development. They are Buddhist Circuit, North-East India Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

Swadesh Darshan Scheme is 100% centrally funded. Recently the Tourism Ministry in July 2016 sanctioned 25 projects worth `2,048 crore for 21 States and Union Territories under the scheme .The States and UTs for which the projects have been sanctioned are Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra. It is worthmentioning that the   funding of individual project varies from state to state based on the detailed project report prepared by Programme Management Consultant. To achieve targets and realize vision of the scheme a National Steering Committee (NSC) has been formed with Minister in charge of Ministry of Tourism as its Chairman. It is this committee that will play the role of nodal agency in identifying the projects to be undertaken as theme circuits.

Ramayana and Krishna Circuits


The Union Government has approved Ramayana and Krishna Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Union Ministry of Tourism.


Important Facts :


Ramayana Circuit: Under it 11 tourist destinations spread across 6 states have been proposed. The covered destinations are:


(i) Uttar Pradesh : Ayodhya, Shringhverpur Nandigram and Chitrakoot (ii) Bihar : Sitamarhi, Buxar and Darbhanga (iii) Telangana : Bhadrachalam (iv) Chhattisgarh : Jagdalpur
(v) Karnataka : Hampi (vi) Tamil Nadu : Rameshwaram


Besides expert committee has suggested to include Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Nagpur and Nashik (Maharashtra) in the proposed circuit.


Krishna Circuit: Under it 12 destinations spread across 5 states have been proposed. The destinations covered are :


(i) Gujarat : Dwarka (ii) Rajasthan : Nathdwara, Jaipur and Sikar (iii) Uttar Pradesh : Mathura, Vrindavan, Barsana, Gokul, Nandgaon and Govardhan (iv)Odisha : Puri
(v) Haryana : Kurukshetra

The specific objectives as laid down under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme focusing on the development of  theme based circuits include: creating   awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism which may spur  growth  in sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area; promoting  local arts, culture and handicrafts, with a view to  generate livelihoods in the identified regions; harnessing  tourism potential for triggering economic development and finally putting in place integrated infrastructure by giving prominence to community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach.

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