Launch of Military Heritage Tourism and Inaugural Military Heritage Guided Tour

New Delhi (India), August 22: Military Heritage Tourism is an unique concept, culminated into a viable Project with the collaboration of three institutions viz United Services Institution of India (USI), a premier 153 years old tri-service think tank; CSC e Governance India Ltd (CSC), a SPV of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India (CSC); and P C Training Institute Limited (PCTI), the 33 years old Delhi based leading   technology and educational institution and service provider.  

The Military Heritage Tourism Project aims to explore and promote India’s very rich and largely untapped military heritage legacy by identifying key heritage sites and transforming them into vibrant tourist destinations, open to both domestic and international visitors.

As per the terms agreed between the three partner institutions, USI will play a pivotal role in identifying and meticulously documenting potential tourist destinations of historical significance, while PCTI will orchestrate the guided tours, ensuring a seamless and enlightening experience for visitors. The promotion of these heritage sites and local support to the visitors will be facilitated through CSC – SPV’s vast network of Common Service Centers. 

The Military Heritage Tour Project was launched at USI on 12th August 2023 by Dy Chief of Integrated Defence Services, Lt Gen Majinder Singh, YSM, PVSM, in the presence of Maj Gen B K Sharma, PVSM, SM and Bar (Retd), Director General, USI; Dr Akshay Jha, COO, CSC; Mrs Deep Shikha, Founder Director, PCTI; Lt Gen AKS Chandele, PVSM, AVSM (Retd), Former DG, EME, Indian Army; and Squadron Leader Rana T S Chinna (Retd), Director, Centre for Military History and Conflict Studies, USI. 

With the Launch, the inaugural Military Heritage Guided Tour to Hussainiwala Border area in Firozpur Cantt , Punjab, was flagged off. The selection of Hussainiwala as the pioneering circuit for this endeavor is deeply significant. The site holds historical importance as it witnessed significant battles during the 1965 and 1971 wars. Beyond its wartime relevance, Hussainiwala stands as a tribute to national heroes Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, with a National Martyr’s Memorial graced by an eternal flame symbolizing their valor. The renowned Border Flag Drill and Retreat ceremony at Hussainiwala is another big attraction.

The inaugural tour with 54 members on board started its voyage on 12th August 2023 from New Delhi by Punjab Mail to Ferozpur Cantt. The tour party was welcomed by a serving high rank army officer at Ferozpur Cantt Railway Station on 13th August morning. After checking in the Hotel and having breakfast, the tour members were guided by the army officer to visit places of historical significance viz End Point of Railway tracks  at Hussainiwala, which,  in the pre-independence days was the way to Lahore, Peshawar and other cities of Pakistan; bridge over Sutluze river connecting India and Pakistan Border; War Memorial; Samadhis of the national heroes Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev; the tunnels through which the trains in the past would pass to reach Pakistan; a short film presentation on train journey from Hussainiwala to Pakistan cities; Flag Drill and Retreat Ceremony at India Pakistan Border in the evening followed by play of Army Band and Light and Sound Show. All along, the Army Officer narrated the historical and military significance of all places and answered the questions raised by the touring members. 

Next day, 14th August 2023, the touring members were taken on a fun trip to Water Park at the outskirts of Ferozpur. Some of the members exercised the other option of visiting an Ayurvedic Therapy Centre for therapy followed by lunch. At the Waterpark, the touring members enjoyed fun activities and were treated to lunch followed by a movie show of Gadar 2, a patriotic fervor movie. In the evening, a visit to Saragarhi Gurudwara, a religious shrine with historical background was organized. The Granthi at the Gurudwara addressed the visitors and explained its historical significance and the brave deeds and supreme sacrifices made by the Sikhs for the freedom of the country. At the end, just before the dinner and departure for New Delhi, a talk by Mr Bhaskar, son of an intelligence officer, explaining the extremely hard and torturous conditions under which his father worked to provide intelligence information to Indian troops and the sacrifices made by him for the country, was an apt finish to a very thrilling and exciting inaugural military heritage guided tour.  

As the Military Heritage Tour Project spreads its wings,  it promises to ignite a renewed appreciation for India’s rich military legacy, offering an immersive journey through time, battles, and valor. This groundbreaking initiative not only revisits history but also invites visitors to stand witness to the remarkable stories etched in the heart of the nation’s military heritage.

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