Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has begun it’s preparations for the Commonwealth games. To start with, the state tourism department is imparting training to tourist guides in spoken English skills.
A large number of foreigners are expected to visit the state during the Games from October 3-14, mostly Britons, to revive the Raj connection. Prominent places which will be high on the list of the foreign tourists will be Shimla, Kasauli, Subathu, Dharamshala and Dalhousie.
Director Tourism, Arun Sharma said the process of registering tourist guides and imparting them english language lessons has been started so that they can reply to basic questions of the tourists. He said the first batch of 40 guides from Shimla have already been trained and they were also informed about the historical monuments and buildings located at Shimla.
Training programmes will also be started at other tourist destinations of Dharamshala, Dalhousie and Kasauli. The department targets to train 200 guides before the Games begins.
Sharma said to attract visitors, the tourism department would be releasing a book ‘Har Ghar Kuch Kahta Hai’ (Every house has its own story), a compendium of historical buildings of Shimla. The book would be displayed at prominent tourist information centres and the venues of the Games.
The tourism department also plans to put signboards outside prominent historical buildings with a brief history.
Shimla still has British-era heritage buildings legacy. Prominent among them are Ellerslie (housing the state secretariat), Vidhan Sabha, Peterhoff, United Services Club, Town Hall, Barnes Court housing Raj Bhavan, Vice regal Lodge housing the premier Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, and the Gorton Castle.
Shimla is frequented by the Britons who are looking to know more about their ancestors. Most of them visit the old cemeteries to pay respect to their family members.
Pic: Geetali Tare