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In Context Of Religious Tourism: A Trip from BGSBU To Religio-historic Destinations
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In Context Of Religious Tourism: A Trip from BGSBU To Religio-historic Destinations

We came across about the history and biography of the famous saint of Pir Panjal, Hazrat Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah. The faith and attachment of Muslims including people of other communities with these religious destinations became evident to a great extent

Post by on Friday, April 1, 2022

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Travelling outside to diverse places from the usual environment is the reality of today’s global world. Man has been very fascinating to travel since inception. To explore new places and interact with people belonging to other cultures and faiths have been an important part of man’s life on earth. Nonetheless, all of us at one point of time or other have taken part in some tourism activity; whether it is a visit to our friends or relatives staying at a nearby city or a day trip to visit the shrines, mausoleums or monuments of the city or maybe a trip to a foreign country for a holiday and so on.


During any of these tourism activities you must have noticed that many people are involved in providing the services such as the travel agent, guide, transporter, ushers, souvenir, sellers and so on, together which form tourism industry. In modern world, tourism industry is constantly changing and evolving, primarily because of its linkage with more than seven other industries such as; aviation, accommodation, surface transportation, water transportation, telecommunication, attraction management, travel facilitators, manufacturers of handicraft and souvenirs designed for visitors and related outlets and so on.


Religious Tourism is undoubtedly a new idea in tourism industry. It has got its entry very recently in tourism industry. Regarding its meaning, Religious tourism is defined in a specific way especially by tourism practitioners and industrialists. They focus exclusively on tourism packages. The debate on the nature of the definition of religious tourism as defined by industrialists is highly debatable among the scholars. The notions of ‘package tourism’ and ‘process tourism’ are discussed often in context of the industrialist’s definition of religious tourism. Anyway, religious tourism generally refers to those tourists who visit exclusively to religious destinations and for religious purposes. But it actually means more than that.


A person who travels to any destinations and encounters to any religious destination during travel can be considered as religious tourist. In this broader context, A Trip from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri to Shadrah Sherriff and from main city of Rajouri to Chingus fort undertaken by myself (as a researcher of religio-historic tourism) with my fellow colleagues for leisure purpose but on way encountered by various destinations of Religio-historic in nature viz. Jamia Masjid Rajouri, Shrine of Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah at Shadrah Sheriff, Thanamandi, Law Bawli, Dhanidhar Fort, Chingus Fort, Being concerned with religious tourism, Sufism, Shrines, Architecture etc and journeying to experience the destinations make us as ‘religious tourists’ and the activity as ;religious tourism’ is a question needed to explore.



Indeed, it needs deep scholarship in both the disciplines of tourism and religion to explore the issue. But as a humble student of Islamic Studies researching on religious tourism, the author considers it as religious tourism. For, to call this band of tourists as religious tourists is not in any way contradictious. Surely, we have enjoyed the natural beauty of Rajouri. As the Rajouri is situated at the foothills of Pir Panjal Range, the snow-clad Pir Panjal Range has its own attraction. In fact it stands out more prominent than the Himalayas as it is nearer to the plains and its majestic slopes are awe-inspiring. At the same time gained valuable information and experience regarding the diverse aspects of religious and historic destinations.


We came across about the history and biography of the famous saint of Pir Panjal Hazrat Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah. The faith and attachment of Muslims including people of other communities with these religious destinations became evident to a great extent. Further, we were familiarized with the history of the Mughal reminisces which are evident in and outside the city of Rajouri. Chingus Fort in this context is so important that it underlines the death of Mughal Emperor Jahangir who died on way from Kashmir to Dehli in 1627 A.D. it is believed that in order to avoid war of succession the Empress buried the intestines and other abdominal parts of his body in the fort and made his dead body to sit on the elephant as if he was alive (Chingus derives its name from Persian ‘Chingun’ means ‘Intestines’).


In the whole of the tourism programme, the most worried thing, we observe is the environmental concern at tourism destinations. From University to Shadrah and from University to Chingus Fort; religious to secular, environmental conservation is nowhere considered as important. From the bottom to top, everyone acts just as mere spectators and is busy in looting the valuable treasure of natural resources. It may somewhat be understood that why political leaders are silent but it really worries a serious student how religious organizations and preachers are not doing anything for the preservation of environment. The Mujawirs and other associated ones of religious destinations too are not paying any attention towards ongoing environmental predicament. Religious tourism which acts as ‘responsible tourism’ is fully impregnated with the teachings of environmental conservation. Religion is an effective tool to cope environmental crisis; the only need is to propagate the message of Islam in terms of environmental pollution. For the sake of humanity, it is our prime responsibility to work collectively and contribute in their ways for the conservation of environment. 


Besides this, one more experienced thing is how we are actually degrading our tourism industry. The cheating of religious stakeholders with consumers/tourists is a known thing. We too have experienced the fact. The unbridled greed of humans including the isolationistic approach with the religious teachings especially Islam seems the main causes responsible behind such kind of immoralities. It is the high time to consider the issues of tourism in general and religious tourism in particular and follow ethical teachings of Islam to minimize the contemporary issues of tourism industry in Kashmir.


(The Author is an Assistant Professor at Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri. He can be reached at; sartaja01@gmail.com)

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