IIM-L students craft itinerary to showcase Lucknow’s spiritual riches - Hindustan Times
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IIM-L students craft itinerary to showcase Lucknow’s spiritual riches

Dec 03, 2023 10:55 PM IST

The students captured photographs of these temples, documented their histories, and noted important days when footfall increases.

LUCKNOW Students from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM-L), are on a mission to promote religious tourism and are exploring the possibility of creating a religious itinerary for Lucknow to enhance the city’s image. In pursuit of this goal, they embarked on a religious tourism trip to various significant temples in the state capital on Sunday.

Students visited temples with a quest to explore historical and spiritual perspectives. (HT Photo)
Students visited temples with a quest to explore historical and spiritual perspectives. (HT Photo)

As part of their destination marketing assignment, a group of students enrolled in the Destination Marketing course at IIM-L visited Chandrika Devi Temple, Aliganj Hanuman Mandir, Nageshwar Mandir at Aliganj, Hanuman Setu Mandir on the banks of the river Gomti, Mankameshwar Mandir, Ayappa Temple in Gomti Nagar, and Bhootnath Mandir. Their aim is to create a religious tourism itinerary for Lucknow city.

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The students captured photographs of these temples, documented their histories, and noted important days when footfall increases. This experience was entirely new for management students, who had not undertaken such activities in the past. Last month, the IIM-L students conducted a heritage walk in various parts of the old city, continuing a tradition from previous years.

“Students visited each of these temples with a quest to explore historical and spiritual perspectives. They spent nearly 30 minutes at each site, identifying the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and noting down points that could enhance each destination’s appeal to tourists,” said Prof Devashish Dasgupta, a senior faculty member at IIM-L.

The city itself, believed to have been established by Laxman, the younger brother of Lord Ram from the Ramayana period, was once called Laxmanpuri. Over time, it gained fame for historical buildings from the Nawabi era and later for a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine. Somewhere along the way, the city’s religious elements got overshadowed, a student observed.

The students studied the target audience (devotees), inquired from priests about daily footfall, and planned to conduct a historical analysis, preparing a need-gap analysis benchmarking against best practices across India, as explained by Prof. Dasgupta. This initiative is independent of the U.P. government tourism and cultural department and is an integral part of the Destination Marketing course at IIM-L.

Apurva Gomase said, “It was a wonderful experience to visit various temples with different types of architecture. The devotees at each temple were distinct, and the atmospheres varied. It was a memorable part of my journey at IIM Lucknow.” Sanyam Jain added, “Each temple offered a unique experience, providing me with a deeper understanding of Hindu culture and spirituality.”

Salil Shankar said, “Visiting the Ayyappa temple was particularly memorable, as it gave a feeling of being in South India, even though physically being in the core of Lucknow. To me, this is the beauty of the course — to develop a connection with various cultures by curating experiences that touch them from within.”

The students will also formulate a marketing strategy, incorporating digital and social media interventions. They were encouraged to consider other places in Lucknow, such as the famous Buddheshwar Temple, Ramakrishna Mutt at Nirala Nagar, the nearly 160-year-old Kali Bari Temple at Ghasiyari Mandi, and more.

The students believe they can add new value to Lucknow’s destination branding through the visited destinations, asserting that the city is not only about Nawabs and Kebabs but also hosts numerous places of religious importance.

Prof Dasgupta concluded, “We will prepare a brief PR strategy and social media plan to address any gaps. Each student, in their report, will include a set of group pictures at different destinations, explaining various variables and their relationships at the end.”

(Photo caption: IIM-L students at Ayappa Temple in Lucknow on Sunday)

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