"We will further increase the budgetary expenditure on tourism as we want to develop the state through it. Tourism creates employment opportunities, highlights the importance of historical and cultural heritage and promotes exchange of art and culture. It also promotes respect towards other cultures and civilisation," Manjhi said.
The Bihar Chief Minister was speaking after inaugurating the 15-day long Rajgir Mahatosav at Qila Maidan at Rajgir in Nalanda district. The programme known for song and dance renditions by artists of national and international repute will continue till January 11, 2015.
"We will develop all tourist and cultural places in the state by creating necessary infrastructure and facilities for tourists. The number of visitors to the state is continuously increasing since 2005 and over 2 crore domestic and foreign tourists now come here every year. More visitors mean more income and growth of the local economy," he said.
The Chief Minister added that efforts were on to construct five-star hotels at important tourist places to provide better residential and transport facilities to those who visit Bihar.
Manjhi announced that the Jetian route, which Lord Buddha took to arrive at Rajgir after his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya will be renovated and developed for the benefits of pilgrims who want to follow in his footsteps.
"Projects worth Rs 120 crore are underway to develop tourist facilities in Rajgir and Nalanda. These include the development of Ghorakatora Lake and Pandav Pokhar, as well as, construction of ropeway at Rajgir," Manjhi added.
Talking about Rajgir Mahotsav, Manjhi highlighted that the duration of the function was increased from three to 15 days as instructed by former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and it is playing an important role in not only showcasing our legacy, but also projecting the unity in diversity of our country to those who attend it.
The Mahotsav will see performances by noted Kathak danseuse Gracy Singh, singers Javed Ali and Preetam, Bharatnatyam exponent Devyani, folk troupes from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as, several other artists.

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