Walk into the lanes of India and in every two blocks, you will find idolisation of God in every possible form. You will find a temple, a mosque, a Gurudwara or a church that symbolise religion and spirituality. With tech evading into every sector, it wasn’t long before the $40 billion religion and spirituality industry was tapped upon.
While apps that make way for e-worship have been around for long, it still doesn’t take away the faith that people repose on the practice of visiting various spiritual places across the country in person.
That’s where the concept of spiritual tourism comes in. We see people in droves flocking different states just before the biggest religious festivals taking place there and this happens round the year, across the country.
This is a lucrative business and travel agents make hay before these religious ceremonies, designing special tour packages for the same.
Technology has now taken over, where start-ups have come about with the specific purpose of making sure that people from the comfort of their homes can not just book tickets for religious travels but also get more information about the places.
Start-ups like Hajjnet (based out of Dubai) with their mobile apps, help Muslims plan their annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
Entrepreneur India takes a look at start-ups that are facilitating spiritual tourism in India
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One of the four dhams of Hinduism in India, Badrinath is located in Uttarakhand. Thousands of devotees flock the small town to visit the Badrinath temple. Considering the number of tourists travelling each year, the government of Uttarakhand launched the Shubh Badrinath Yatra App to make things easier for the travelers. From information about accommodation to travel, the app also gives people information about nearby ATMs, petrol pumps, repair shops etc. Sure to come in handy for tourists!
Book your Holy Trip
Founded by Rachna Gulati, the app is a one-stop platform for all information regarding religious travels in India. With a listing of 600 religious places across religions, the app allows people to book their travel, accommodation and even gives you information about the cities you will be travelling to.
A Dash of Culture
While the others look at specific travel-related queries and problems, Roobaroo walks takes it a step further to make it personalized for travellers. They organize walks in cities that help tourists not just see the spiritual places in a city but also explore its culture. While they offer walking tours, yoga classes, food experiences and an art ride, they also show the fun side of the city. Currently, they are functional in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Right in Time
Entrepreneurship is all about cashing in on the opportunity and that’s also seen in the festival specific start-ups that have come about. For example, an app is created just for a specific travel, to give you more information and also help you plan your stay. The ‘Nabakalebara of Puri Jagannath’ App was created to celebrate the Nabakalebara (when the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan are replaced in the Jagannath Temple) which happens once in every 12th or 19th year of the previous Nabakalebara. Similarly, the ‘Navratri Dhamal’ App caters to Navratri, giving devotees updates about the seven days of the festival.