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Urbanization in Shirdi Urbanization in Shirdi

Planning for urbanization in religious tourism destinations: insights from Shirdi, India

This paper examines the urbanization process in religious tourism destinations using the example of Shirdi in India. Shirdi, a town dedicated to worship of a twentieth-century Saint Sai Baba, attracts more than eight million visitors every year. The paper explains how religious tourism economy drives rapid urbanization including demographic change and land-use conversion owing to the infrastructure needs of visitors. It is found that planning mechanisms including the conventional master plan approach have been ineffective in adequately responding to issues such as the proliferation of unauthorized commercial establishments, hotels, lodging and boarding houses; strained infrastructure; and environmental pollut