City of joy draws Mother Teresa visitors

Officials in the Indian city of Calcutta say they are experiencing a mini boom in tourism thanks to the beatification of Mother Teresa at the Vatican last month.

    Nuns praying at the tomb of Mother Teresa in Calcutta

    The state run tourism office said that the number of people visiting the city had gone up 10% since she was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

    Tarapada Das, assistant director of the state-run tourism office, said people wanted to see where Mother Teresa had lived and worked.

    ''They are visiting the headquarters of Missionaries in the city, to pay homage to the tomb of Mother Teresa.''

    City officials have organised special events, including a film festival reflecting on the life of the humanitarian worker, art and music exhibitions.

    Benefit

    The mayor of the city, Subrata Mukherjee, said post-beatification tourists were crowding restaurants and shops in the centre of the city where the Roman Catholic nun had worked.

    ''Thanks to Mother Teresa's beatification, the city of joy is getting a bit of a mini boom in business,'' the mayor said.

    Hotels across the city are doing brisk business, with many re-decorating to attract foreign tourists.

    ''Mother Teresa's beatification has been a blessing for us. The occasion has brought back smiles on the faces of the city's businessmen'' said Partha Bhattacharya, manager of a local bar.

    Humanitarian

    Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta in 1950. She spent time caring for the sick and disadvantaged until her death in 1997. The charity now has 4500 sisters working across 133 different countries.

    She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her dedicated work in Calcutta.

    Her critics accuse her of failing to address the real reasons behind poverty in Calcutta, such as income inequality and limited reproductive health options for women.

    SOURCE: AFP


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