Thursday, May 21, 2009

Junagadh Tourism - Summer Palace Holiday Camp Chorwad

Junagadh Saurastra Tourism Hub Holiday Camp,Chorwad languishes in neglect. Holiday Camp (Chorwad),Well-known tourist place Holiday Camp situated on the picturesque shoreline of Chorwad is languishing due to lack of maintenance and Tourism Corporation of Gujarat's (TCGL) dilemma whether to privatise the property or renovate it.

The chief attraction of Holiday Camp is Summer Palace, which is on the verge of collapse.

It was constructed in 1928 just 10 meters away from the scenic coastal village Chorwad in Junagadh at an estimated cost of Rs 1.50 lakh by the last nawab of erstwhile Junagadh state Mahabat Khan.

The heritage palace was the official residence of the nawab during the summers till 1947. The adjoining building constructed by the state government four decades back to woo tourists is also in a dilapidated condition. After Partition, the Nawab of Junagadh went to Karachi in pakistan and the property was attached by the Road & Building Department of Saurashtra state.

After the formation of Gujarat state in 1960, the property was taken over by Public Works Department. In 1979, to promote tourism in the area, the palace and adjoining land along with cottages were handed over to TCGL and later on developed as Holiday Camp.

"Till 1990, thousands of tourists used to visit and stay at the camp and economy of the coastal village was booming. Especially businesses of traditional cloths, decorative material made out of seashell, handicrafts, restaurants and other tourism-related commercial activities flourished and locals had lucrative options of livelihood.

But with the palace being neglected, the tourist flow has dwindled, said Parun Sevara, a resident of Chorwad.
Porch of the palace has come down.

Belgian Chandeliers, Italian furniture, fabulous showpieces and invaluable paintings and other antique items have got destroyed or stolen, said an employee of TCGL.
PS Ganguli, manager of Holiday Camp, said at present, a restaurant run by TCGL is functional and 24 cottages on the backyard of Summer Palace are being rented to tourists.

However, occupancy rate remains extremely low as the cottages are not sea facing, said Ganguli.
When contacted, Gujarat State Tourism Minister Jaynarayan Vyas said the state government understands the need to attend to the issue urgently and some concrete measures would be taken soon to boost tourism in the area.

TCGL chairman Kamlesh Patel said the corporation is in the process of revamping Holiday Camp and various options, including privatisation, are being explored.

Dhirubhai was keen to buy Summer Palace :- Patriarch of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the late Dhirubhai Ambani, who spent his early life in the coastal village of Chorwad, was interested in buying the Summer Palace and wanted to develop the resor to promote his native place as tourist destination.

Negotiations also took place between top officials of state tourism department and representatives of RIL around a decade ago.

However, the deal could not come through and now the property is abandoned. The renovation of the palace would cost around Rs 2 crore but the TCGL is not keen to spend that much at the moment.

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