India: Kerala rolls out Dh30 tourist bus ride

Visitors can enjoy hilly terrain, tea estates, dam and spot wildlife

By Web Desk

Published: Fri 10 Dec 2021, 8:08 AM

Last updated: Fri 10 Dec 2021, 8:12 AM

Facing a major financial crisis, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has come out with a novel package that has proved to be popular among ordinary folk in the state.

From a mere Rs600 (Dh30), tourists can take buses (known as aanavandis, or elephant vehicles) on Sundays, weekends and other holidays from Palakkad on a 70-km-long journey through hilly terrain to picturesque places. And of course, they get to see elephants, monkeys, deers and Indian bisons.

The KSRTC has rolled out 20 budget trips and visitors can enjoy viewpoints, tea estates and the Pothundy dam. The tour covers Malakkappara, Munnar, Vagamon and other lovely towns. Jacob Sam Lopez, a KSRTC official who heads the budget tourism cell, said the response has been phenomenal.

“We were not prepared for this kind of response when we started the Munnar package,” another official told the media. “We have a lot of bulk bookings, including those from other districts. We have three trips (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) to Munnar and seats are full for this month. Bookings have opened for January 2022.” Rates are ₹1,000 (super fast), ₹1,200 (deluxe) and ₹1,500 (AC buses).

One of the most popular packages is the ‘jungle safari,’ which is the Kothamangalam-Munnar trip. It covers forests in Thattekkad, Kuttampuzha, Mamalakandam, Korangadi and Mankulam. Originally, they were weekend packages, but looking at the huge response, KSRTC has started services from Thursdays as well.

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