Karnataka state government is planning to develop four heritage cities under the Smart City Project of the Union Government. The state government has already written to the central government seeking to include Mysuru, Kalaburagi, Vijayapura and Ballari under the ambitious project.
While Mysuru is known for its rich heritage which includes palaces and monuments of Wadiyar dynasty Vijayapura (formerly Bijapur) is known for its world famous Gol Gumbaz the mausoleum of king Muhammad Adil Shah, Adil Shah Dynasty. On the other hand, Kalaburagi was the seat of Bahamani sultans and Ballari was connected to the Vijayanagara empire. The cities have historical monuments dating back many centuries.
It should be noted that tourism is one of the major sources of revenue in Karnataka. In fact, tourism contributed 14.8 per cent towards Karnataka’s GDP and supported over 16 million jobs. Karnataka is the most popular state in the country for tourism. It is home to 507 of the 3600 centrally protected monuments in India, the largest number after Uttar Pradesh. The State Directorate of Archaeology and Museums protects an additional 752 monuments and another 25,000 monuments are yet to receive protection. Developing the above four cities under Smart City Project would give further boost to the tourism industry in the state.
Interestingly, seven cities in Karnataka, that is, Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Belagavi, Davangere and Hubballi-Dharwad, are already being developed under the Smart City Mission. If the Centre accepts the proposal, all the top 10 cities of the state after Bengaluru will come under the national project which aims at transforming urban clusters into “user-friendly” living spaces.