After dolphin, it’s time for tigers. Weekends won’t be the same again for people of the state and even tourists.
Wildlife enthusiasts with a taste for adventure would be able to spend their weekends at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in a fortnight with the tourism department offering three packages.
The government will throw open the packages at the tiger reserve to the public on November 1 to develop tourism. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi would inaugurate the packages at VTR in West Champaran, around 320km northwest of Patna, said tourism minister Sunil Kumar.
These come after the inauguration of the “Gangetic dolphin spotting” package — run by Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) — last week.
Sunil said the BSTDC had been directed to ensure that the offers were economical.
“The BSTDC has been asked to prepare the packages keeping in mind the cost factor. They have been directed to keep the package costs low and we are fine even if the BSTDC loses some money initially. The main motive for planning the packages is to develop tourism in the state. The rates will be finalised by this week,” he said.
Tourists, however, would be able to avail the packages only on Saturdays and Sundays. They will be picked up from government-run Kautilya Vihar hotel in the state capital on Friday evening.
“The department wants to give options to people to rewind and relax during weekends. The dolphin sighting programme was launched with this objective in mind. The packages at the reserve will be fixed at very reasonable rates and care would be taken that the visitors are looked after properly,” said Sunil.
The first package will offer a tour of the VTR on an air-conditioned minibus.
“The seating capacity of each bus is 24. Bookings will be received from only 20 people, as the rest of the seats have to be kept for tour guides and other officials. The second package will offer a tour of the reserve in a maxi van that would accommodate 15 people. The third package will be open to only four persons who will go around the reserve in a multi-utility vehicle. We are finalising some of the details, including package cost,” he added.
Outlining the initial plan, a BSTDC official said: “Once the tourists reach the reserve early on Saturday morning, they will be given refreshments. They will be accommodated in guesthouses where they can take rest before embarking on their tour. They would be taken around the reserve on Saturday to spot different animals and also enjoy an elephant safari ride. Facilities will be in place to provide the visitors lunch and a cultural programme will be organised in the evening.”
On Sunday morning, the tourists will be brought back from the reserve after lunch,” the official added.
Apart from the tour packages to attract visitors and boost the sector, Sunil said the department is also planning a few more similar packages to be announced soon.
AC mini bus
Vehicle: Maxi van
Friday evening: Pick up from
hotel Kautilya Vihar in Patna
Arrival at VTR, welcome with
Tour of reserve, elephant
Sunday: Drive back to Patna after lunch