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Tourist hot spot in Puttaparti

New Delhi, July 17: Puttaparti, the centre of Satya Sai Baba in Anantapur
district, has been approved by Union tourism minister Renuka Chowdhary for
development as a major tourist destination. Andhra Pradesh tourism minister
Geetha Reddy is the prime mover of the project to develop Puttaparti into a
major international tourist destination. The project has been expeditiously
approved as a major event is to take place in 2006, the 80th birth anniversary
of Satya Sai Baba. Puttaparti is sought to be developed before the event as a
large number of tourists from abroad are expected to flock there in 2006.

Under the scheme, the roads and surroundings will be improved. Landscaping of
parks and illumination will be taken up, and solid waste and sewerage
management, wayside amenities and tourist accommodation will be created.

Satya Sai Baba transformed Puttaparti, a nondescript village, into an
international centre. Puttaparti now boasts of an international centre for
higher learning and a super-speciality hospital where any ailment is treated and
every surgery performed free of cost. Prashanti Nilayam, the ashram of Satya Sai
Baba, attracts a large number of devotees throughout the year. Prashanti Nilayam
means abode of peace. The ashram, inaugurated in 1950, is a huge complex with
room for thousands with canteens, shops, a museum, library and a vast assembly
hall where Sai Baba gives darshan twice daily.

A considerable number of devotees turn out for his birthday celebrations in
Puttaparti, where he delivers a message to his devotees. Other destinations
approved for development as tourist destinations are Pochampally, which was the
venue for the launch of the Bhoodan Movement by Acharya Vinobha Bhave and is a
centre famous for silk sarees; Chinchinada, Konaseema and Srikalahasti.
Konaseema is a set of breathtakingly picturesque islands floating in a 50-km
stretch of the Godavari river near Rajahmundry.


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