A tourism gold mine

about 6 months ago
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How about a visit to a coal mine? That might sound bizarre but indeed, coal mine is becoming a hot spot for tourists in India.

Currently, we have only one coal mine opened in Maharashtra and the footfall is so good that others are considering doing the same. The one open now for visit is the one where  Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has got into a collaboration with Western Coalfields Limited (WCL). People get to visit the underground as well as surface mines in Saoner, near Nagpur.  

It would indeed be an experience of a life time to actually go down into the belly of the earth and see how the miners work – something which they do day-after-day. The movie Kaala Pathar is the closest we have ever come to experiencing life inside a coal mine.

Tourists are taken 1.5 kms below the surface, surrounded by coal, the only light in the pitch black being the light affixed to the helmet. People go down below the earth’s surface by a unique man-riding system, where the actual coal mining takes place. Visitors are given the knowledge of all the security precautions that are taken inside the mines to avoid any casualties. Experienced and designated officials are available at the point to explain the mining procedures in detail. This is an operational mine and people actually see “real” work.

Inspired by the success of the Nagpur circuit, WCL has started a similar venture at Rajur in Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district. Next in the offing are four sites across in coal mines of Madhya Pradesh. Jharkhand is also eyeing the tourism potential of their mines.

Countries like US, Australia, Canada, Norway, Japan, Finland and Bolivia are already doing this “mine tourism” and looks like India has just discovered a new tourism gold mine.

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