Durga Puja boost for tourism

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By BIBHUTI BARIK
  • Published 29.09.14
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Bhubaneswar, Sept. 28: The tourist season starts with Durga Puja and continues till the end of winter.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has introduced special packages for Puja this year.

The corporation has put Chilika (Satapada), Puri, Bhitarkanika, Taptapani, Rambha and Panchalingeswar in one segment. You can opt for a one-day package or a one night and two-day one.

Cuttack Durga Puja, Maritime Museum and the Dhenkanal Gajalaxmi Puja are the other tourist attractions that are part of the OTDC packages. The cost for a daylong tour of Satapada and Puri trip is Rs 905 per person.

A round trip to Barkul, Kalijai and Nalabana bird sanctuary will cost Rs 1,000 per person for one day. For exploring Bhitarkanika (one night and two days) one has to pay Rs 3,260 per person. However, the OTDC requires at least eight people to conduct any of the three tours. The packages are valid from October 1 to October 20.

For Taptapani, Rambha and Panchalingeswar (all one night and two-day tours) the charges vary from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 per person. A group of at least four people must be there to avail this service. This is also available from October 1 to the 20th.

The Odisha Maritime Museum is an interesting addition to the plan.

For this half-day venture, one has to spend Rs 445. The museum remains open between 2pm and 8.15pm. So after visiting it, one can have the darshan at the puja pandals in Cuttack that are famous for their goddesses adorned with silver and gold ornaments. This package will remain valid between October 1 and October 7.

The OTDC manager for packages Alok Mishra said after the Puja package at Cuttack, the famous Gajalaxmi puja in Dhenkanal will be in the focus. For the half-day tour to Dhenkanal (between 2.30 pm and 11 pm) one has to pay Rs 400. However, the minimum group size for this package is eight. The Dhenkanal package will be open from October 7 to October 18.

Tour operator and planner Debashish Mohapatra said: “There is a huge demand of such tour packages among the youths and mainly the IT professionals. If the OTDC can market its strategy well, it will earn a lot from the one-day and half-day tours.”

“Budget tourists coming from Bengal can also make use of the Puja packages,” Mohapatra said.

The OTDC packages include air-conditioned (AC) transport, AC accommodation for night stays, food, boating in Chilika, Bhitarkanika entry fees, and only AC transport for the Dhenkanal Gajalaxmi puja package. It does not include entry fees for foreign tourists and for camera fees.