Famous for tiger and camel safaris, Rajasthan will soon have a new attraction for tourists: cow safari. Well, the state, which has taken cow welfare to new heights by setting up exclusive ministry for cow protection and imposed a 20 per cent cess on liquor to fund government owned gaushalas, has come up with this stellar plan.
The Hingonia Gaushala on the outskirts of Jaipur that was in news for deaths of thousands of cows two years ago has thought of using people’s love for cows. It now has nearly 15,000 cows. Visitors would watch the cows graze in the open land, feed them, clean them, massage them and milk them while temporarily residing at the state-run cow rehabilitation centre. The safari includes climb-up machan huts on trees where visitors can stay. While the cow safari will be free for visitors, tariff will be fixed for staying in the machan huts overnight.
According to Radha Priya Das of Akshya Patra Foundation, the safari, which is set to begin after Janmashtami, will take people on bullock carts through the muddy terrain and water bodies of the forest area housing the Hingonia Gaushala. “The development of huts on trees and a wall around the forest area has begun. The project will be launched on Janmash-tami,” said Mr. Das who is in charge of the Gaushala.
The government had signed a pact with Akshya Patra for maintenance of the Hingonia Gaushala. Development of tourism was a key feature of memorandum of understanding between Akshya Patra and Jaipur Municipal Corporation. Akshya Patra is also developing a breeding centre for ‘desi’ cows for which 30 bulls and 20 cows of the Tharparkar breed have been brought from Bikaner.