UP govt to discuss plan to turn forts, palaces into hotels

| | Lucknow
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UP govt to discuss plan to turn forts, palaces into hotels

Wednesday, 22 March 2023 | PNS | Lucknow

In order to promote heritage tourism, the Maharajas and Taluqdars across the state have been invited to chalk out a strategy with government officials on Wednesday to turn their palaces, forts and mansions into hotels.

“In this meeting, discussions will be held on renovating the old forts on PPP model and throwing them open for tourists,” Tourism Minister Jaiveer Singh said on Tuesday. The meeting will be held in the Tilak Hall of Vidhan Bhawan.

Singh said that many investors, who have had experience of turning palaces into hotels, experts from tourism departments and chairman of the Legislative Council would participate in the meeting.

“Tourism activities will be promoted in the state by renovating these forts like in Rajasthan. Bundelkhand will be in focus as there are 31 forts and palaces which can be turned into hotels,” the minister said.

The focus will be on Jhansi Fort — once the stronghold of the Chandela Kings between the 11th and 17th centuries — which has a sprawling 17-acre land as it can be restored and developed into a swanky hotel. 

The UP Tourism Board has already done the groundwork and shortlisted palaces after evaluation by CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and private consultants.

The others include Talbehat Fort in Lalitpur, Baruasagar Fort in Jhansi, Chhattar Manzil in Lucknow, and Chunar Fort in Mirzapur.

“This will be a bid to replicate the Rajasthan tourism model, where the old forts have been turned into hotels. In Uttar Pradesh, we have a lot of potential from the perspective of religious, spiritual, and heritage sites. There are several buildings which are either abandoned or in a poor shape, and we have put them up for adaptive re-use for conservation. We would like to start giving these to private investors on lease and under public-private partnerships,” the minister said.

A majority of the forts are owned by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Singh said: “As we have Purvanchal and Bundelkhand Expressways that will help with last-mile connectivity, we can expect good footfall in these fort-turned-hotels. This will also help us tap the domestic tourist market.”

Even six historic buildings in Lucknow could be turned into heritage hotels. These include Chhattar Manzil, Roushan-ud-Daula Kothi, Gulistaan-e-Eram, Kothi Darshan Vilas and Farhat Bux Kothi. In the new tourism policy of UP, the state government has announced grants, concessions and incentives for converting old palaces.

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