Effect of Hill Tourism Development Association Kurseong

The Grotto has huge potential to become tourist hotspot

Report by:
22 May 2014

The northern fringes of Kurseong town houses St. Mary’s Hills where ‘The Grotto’ is a famous destination for locals as well as tourists who visit Kurseong. Despite the existence of such a hotspot, the tourism department is virtually lying asleep over a gold mine. It is high time the department develops the area to bring forth its immense tourism potential.

Kurseong does not boast of many tourist destination and the few visitors who trickle here is mostly because of the place’s natural beauty. But besides this gift by nature, there is no infrastructure to promote tourism at all and nothing is being done in this regard. The natural sites Kurseong boasts of include ‘The Grotto’ and the ‘Eagle’s Crag’, to name a few.

The Grotto has a statue of the Virgin Mother Mary. Families and young couples of different faiths visit the site and offer prayers. The surroundings of the Grotto are blessed by a dense forest covering and a peaceful environment. People believe the statue of Mary possesses divine powers and they light candles to seek her blessings. A natural spring runs besides the statue and that too is considered holy.

Local residents Prashant Rai said, “Whenever guests visit our home, they enquire about the places to visit in Kurseong and I always take them to The Grotto where they are dumbstruck by the silence and serenity of the dense forest, the holy environment and the beautiful scenery they get to view.

Another local named Sunil Sharma said The Grotto and its natural beauty is an ideal spot for tourism authorities to make a blueprint for enhancing the infrastructure to attract more tourists. In its present state too, the place attracts a large number of people despite lacking any infrastructure and one wonders the popularity the area could gain if it is developed conscientiously by the concerned department.

When asked a local GTA member was asked about this, he said they have been planning several projects to develop tourism on a large scale in the hills.

“We will definitely look into the potential and viability of developing the areas in and around The Grotto, he added.

CAPTION: The Grotto in Kurseong–FILE PIKS

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