Rethinking Tourism in Jagannatha Puri: An Anthropological Study of Domestic Tourists

The previous years of total lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic brought the global touristic movements to a pause, and also led to a changed outlook towards life and human activities. Out of this renewed outlook emerged the theme for the 2022 World Tourism Day- ‘Rethinking Tourism’, which emphasizes the need to seize this opportunity to rethink how we do tourism to attain the ultimate goal of sustainability. Rethinking and reorganizing the tourism industry poses a challenge for us, but it is also a promising opportunity for rebuilding a sustainable tourism industry through multi-disciplinary insights. In this context, anthropologists have a crucial role to play in studying the host societies, the tourists and the sociocultural impacts of host-guest interactions, as well as the impact of tourism development in a destination. The present study provides an anthropological insight into the motivations and behavior of domestic tourists visiting the famous Hindu pilgrimage destination and the coastal city Puri, Odisha. The findings of this research reflect leisure and a compelling urge to escape the routinized life as the major motivations behind visiting Puri, besides another major motive of pilgrimage. On the other hand, the touristic behavior towards the heritage assets reflects less responsible practices which may prove unsustainable in the long run.