Padmaavat ban a boon for Rajasthan Tourism!

You may not be able to see Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat in Rajasthan because the film has been banned in the state by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, but you can visit the home town of the fabled Queen Padmini on whom the film is reportedly based. In a strange development, the ban on Padmaavat has boosted tourism in Rajasthan, especially the Mewar region where all the action in the period film takes place. According to sources, a large number of tourists from across India have been flocking to Mewar ever since the controversy erupted over Bhansali's period drama. The numbers almost doubled in Padmini's home town of Chittorgarh – to 81,009 in December 2017 from 40,733 in December 2016.

Of particular interest to tourists, according to the town's assistant tourist officer Sharad Vyas, is Chittorgarh Fort where Padmini is said to have performed jauhar (self-immolation) after her husband's defeat at the hands of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi Sultanate. “The town has gained national fame all of a sudden with so much happening over Padmaavat," Vyas told IANS.

"People have become more aware about history. They come and ask about stories related to Padmini, (her husband) Rawal Ratan Singh and Alauddin Khilji. Surprisingly, they come prepared with historical facts and want to see the places where history was made," Sunil Sen, a government guide in Chittorgarh added.

Most of the tourists want to see the mirror where, according to legend, the Queen's face was shown to Khilji. But the biggest tourist attraction is the place where Padmini performed jauhar with around 16,000 women after her husband's defeat. On Sunday, December 31, the tickets for the fort were exhausted and in spite of long queues, the gates had to be closed early. Even the demand for guides has risen as people want to hear stories about the legendary queen. Tourists coming to the town have also been to Udaipur to learn about its ruler Maharana Pratap. Hotel managers in Udaipur confirmed that the tourist numbers have gone up. “Earlier, we used to see a big number of foreign travellers. However, this season, the trend has changed. There are a big number of domestic tourists," an Udaipur hotelier said.