KOLKATA: Want to watch little Krishna slay giant Kalia snake in the Yamuna? Want to steal butter or go cow grazing with him? If all goes well, visitors to Nadia’s Mayapur, will be able to do all this and much more in a Disneyland like massive park that’s being planned as the centre of a tourism hub of international standards just outside the Iskcon temple premises. The project will be done in collaboration with the state government, because none other than CM Mamata Banerjee had personally requested the religious order to do so during her visit to Mayapur in February.
Banerjee held separate talks with Alfred Ford, a scion of the Ford family and an initiated devotee of Iskcon, to help start the tourism hub, not only in the spiritual context but also because Mayapur is the epicentre of traditional Bengal handlooms and handicrafts by virtue of its location.
Iskcon has drawn up a detailed plan for the project and just submitted it to the CM for her approval. Ford has agreed to invest Rs 2000 crore in order to bring the project to life. Iskcon officials met tourism department officials on Tuesday and were informed that the clearance would be given soon.
“The hub can accommodate 1.5 lakh people at a time. Alfred Ford, who is known as Ambarish Das within the Iskcon order, is getting experts from theme parks of across the world to set the Krishnaland (in Disneyland style) in order,,” said Radharaman Das, spokesperson of Iskcon. “The project is way beyond spirituality. We are focussed towards promoting Bengal handlooms and handicrafts from Nadia and Murshidabad. We have specified in our report how the hub will become a marketplace for the artisans,” he added.
The report specifies that there will be a dress code for all devotees, foreigners and Indians, who will be allowed to wear only Indian clothes — saree for women and dhoti for men — all to be woven by handloom weavers of Shantipur and Fulia. Similarly, inside the hub only earthenware utensils will be used for serving food/prasada and water. “These will be sourced from the hundreds of potters who live around Mayapur. We will also try to use saal plates and bowls and tie up with the clay doll makers of Ghurni. With 1.5 lakh devotees visiting daily, you can imagine how the hub itself will get converted into a ready market for our artisans,” Das explained.
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