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South hot spots for tourists

- Lazy beaches & cool ghats woo people this summer

Nita Jain heard a lot about the houseboats in Kerala’s backwaters from her sister Abha, who went there last year. This summer, the Boring Road resident is packing her bags for a trip to the southern state.

“My younger sister Abha had a blast in Kerala last year. She told me about the delightful houseboats and the great cuisine. So, I have planned a trip to Kerala this year,” said Jain.

The 42-year-old homemaker is not the only one to succumb to the allure of south India. Tour operators claim Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and of course Kerala are the hotspots for those planning to venture out during the summer vacation.

“A number of people have booked packages to Kerala and Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” said Mukesh Roy, a Patna-based tour operator.

Another travel agent, Gautam Aryan, said the south India was attractive to many tourists not only because of the pristine natural beauty and beaches but also because travelling within the country is more economical than travelling abroad.

“Tourists from north India have a little problem with the south Indian cuisine. But Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are wonderful places to visit. You could laze away on the beaches or seek cooler climes in the Eastern and Western Ghats,” he added.

Domestic packages are priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000, while a trip abroad could cost Rs 40,000 or more.

Those daunted by the prospect of braving the sun on the beaches can head to the quaint hill stations. One of the most popular hill stations in south India is Ooty. Situated at a height of 2,240m from the sea level, this historic town in Tamil Nadu has mild daytime temperature of 24°C, even in sweltering June. Night temperature can drop to 8°C.

Another reason why many people go to south India is the temples. Hampi in Karnataka, Rameshwaram and Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh attract thousands of tourist-pilgrims every year.

“It is an opportunity to visit the famous temples and earn some punya,” said travel agent Aryan.

Not everyone is south bound though.

Quite a few Patnaites have decided to stick to colonial tradition and escape the heat by going to the Himalayas. Jammu and Kashmir and Darjeeling seem to be the most common destinations. “A lot of people are booking trips to Jammu and Kashmir,” said tour operator Roy.While there are endless possibilities of travelling in India, some are also eager to explore the adventures outside.

Nageshwar Colony resident Anju Srivastava has planned to fly out to Thailand. The history and natural beauty are not the only attractions for this homemaker.

“Bangkok (the capital of Thailand) is a shoppers’ paradise. I want to shop till I drop this summer,” she said.