Sustainable Practices in Secondary Agriculture: Integrating Buddhist Circuit & Agritourism in India

Mohit Sharma and Ritambhara Singh
Mohit Sharma and Ritambhara Singh
Secondary Agriculture
Secondary Agriculture

India is known for its rich cultural diversity. For spiritual reasons, it is also one of the most sought-after destinations in the World.  The pace of technology and developmental interventions in recent times have raised a need for sustainability and an alarm for humanity. There is a constant push for the enhancement of social, economic, and environmental values of a particular tourist place as these are the core pillars of sustainability. But in today’s chaotic World, spirituality may be considered as an important fourth pillar of sustainability in the tourism industry.

In order to nurture the concept, identification of such spiritual circuits is crucial. Among major circuits contributing additional spiritual components, Buddhist circuit is the one that has grabbed much attention of the policy planners.  It is important pilgrimage destination for around 450 million practicing Buddhists as well as tourists interested in history and culture. Buddhist circuit has its roots in India and passes through the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Kushinagar, Sharvasti, Sarnath and Kaushambi in Uttar Pradesh and Bodhgaya, Rajgir/Nalanda and Vaishali in Bihar are the districts in two states that fall into the Buddhist circuit. According to the World Bank report 2019-20, Rs. 500 crores were invested in this region towards the improvement of this site and related infrastructure during 2014-2018. Linking Agrotourism spots to the Buddhist circuit can bring greater economic benefit to the region, by creating income and employment opportunities in the region and also enhancing farm incomes.

Promoting Agrotourism as secondary farm activity

The development of agrotourism in India is in a very naïve stage. Importance of agritourism can be realized from the fact that it provides diversified scope in agricultural activities and is also helpful for offsetting the price fluctuations faced in traditional marketing practices.  Hence Agrotourism shall be promoted as one of the key secondary agriculture activities. Homestays may be developed in association with the FPOs around which will not only connect visitors with the village life and economy but will also save substantially on the cost of infrastructure. Additionally, it will create win-win situation for the farmers and visitors. The urban visitors can learn about the practices of growing food and the hardships that farmers face. This may encourage them more to save food and grow their own in urban centers. Additionally, urban consumer can order and purchase from farmer site directly.

Why Agrotourism with Buddhist circuits

In Dhammapada, there are approximately 450 verses out of which 250 are on agriculture and environment. It is also interesting to note that very first food Buddha took after enlightenment was fried floor (Sattu) and honey. As in recent times, we emphasize on connecting ‘krishi with rishi’, the linkages between agriculture and Buddhism cannot be ignored. Further, developing the current circuit in lines of Agriculture will enrich the existing Buddhist locations and will lead to local prosperity, economic development as well as sustaining environment.

Figure 1: Conceptualized model for linking Buddhist circuit with agritourism in India
Figure 1: Conceptualized model for linking Buddhist circuit with agritourism in India

Figure 1 illustrates the existing Buddhist circuits in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The existing policy interventions in agriculture can be connected with the development of agri-circuits to create win-win opportunity for farmers and visitors.

Also, it is attempted by the author to figure out the institutional infrastructure available in various locations of Buddhist circuits and existing intervention of agricultural policy in these areas. It is believed that with the network of existing facilities, both the circuits can be merged and existing framework of institutional development can be more strengthened.



Farming enterprise

One District One Product



Kushinagar, U.P.

Wheat, paddy, maize, sugarcane

Banana fiber products

KVK availability


Shravasti, U.P.

Rice, sugarcane

Tribal products

Popularity of local product by Tharu tribe


Sarnath, U.P.

Vegetable and fruit cluster

Banarasi Silk Sari

KVK availability


Kausambi, U.P.

Crops: wheat, rice, banana

Food processing (banana)

Banana belt; KVK availability


Bodhgaya, Bihar

Paddy, sugarcane, potato


KVK, ATMA availability


Nalanda, Rajgir

Paddy, potato


KVK availability



Paddy, Wheat, Maize, oil-seeds


KVK availability

Table 1: Brief details of the existing locations in Buddhist circuits along with agri-circuit availability

Source: Author’s own compilation from various sources

Way forward

There is a need for stakeholder engagement like International Buddhist Confederation, Ministry of Tourism-GoI, Department of tourism, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Government of Bihar and local agricultural institutions, NGOs, farmer organizations, visitors etc., to develop the circuit under discussion. It will be helpful for development of agri-tours based on the crop season, exchange of local culture, history etc. The marketing and branding of such locations can be further strengthened by positive word of mouth and promotion of local products linked with the quality in services offered in these spots. KVKs under Agricultural Universities can play a greater role in capacity building of the farmers, especially for development of agricultural components in the existing tourism facilities. Moreover, tourists would also be visiting KVKs to get a glimpse on the latest technological developments in the field of agriculture. There is also a need to push the ‘Destination Social Responsibility’ of the visitors via capacity building programmes. This will ultimately bring symbiotic association with farming community, visitors and further will lead to economic development and local prosperity. 


Mohit Sharma* and Ritambhara Singh**

* Assistant Professor, School of Agribusiness and Rural Management, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa, Samastipur, Bihar Email: mohit.sharma@rpcau.ac.in; +919549034035

** Associate Professor, School of Agribusiness and Rural Management, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa, Samastipur, Bihar

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