THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Visitors to Thiruvananthapuram can now go on conducted tours to heritage destinations on air-conditioned luxury buses, thanks to an initiative of the District Tourism Development Corporation (DTPC). The idea was mooted by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) last year. Though the service was launched with much fanfare, it was wound up within a few months due to mounting losses.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran flagged off the service at the DTPC office at Vellayambalam on Friday in the presence of MLA B Sathyan and Bindu Moni S, DTPC executive member and secretary, respectively. The packages introduced include City Tour, Triveni Sangamam, Neyyar Dam Elephant Safari and Ponmudi Forest Trail. Twenty-four-seater luxury buses will be used for the service.
The Kanyakumari tour, aka Triveni Sangamam, covers the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Thiruvalluvar statue, Mahatma Gandhi Mandapam, Tsunami Memorial Park, Kamarajar Mani Mandapam and Kanyakumari Kshetra Darshanam. The tour commences from the DTPC office at 7.30am and costs Rs 1,200.
Ponmudi forest trail
The package covers Ponmudi, Meenmutty waterfalls and Peppara dam. The journey that commences at 8am from the DTPC office costs Rs 1, 200. A minimum of 15 people are required to organise the trip. All trips other than City Tour are inclusive of food. The cost of the trips will remain the same till the end of this year and further changes will be introduced in the new year.
“The food for the entire trip has been arranged in the facilities provided by the Kerala Government. We have tried to avoid using private spaces and restaurants,” said the DTPC secretary. The packages will be facilitated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “On weekdays, the bus will be provided on rent through advanced booking via DTPC. The minimum charge for hiring the bus is Rs 5,500 and it increases according to the distance,” she added.
Styled as the ‘Ananthapuri Package’, the tour includes a visit to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Kuthiramalika Palace, the wax museum, Napier Museum, zoo, art gallery, Priyadarshini Space Planetarium, Veli Tourist Village, Shankhumukham and Kovalam beaches. The tour which commences from the DTPC office at 8am costs Rs 500.
Neyyar dam elephant safari
The package covers the Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kappukadu, Deer Rehabilitation Centre, Crocodile Park, Sivananda Ashramam, Neyyar dam boating, aquarium and Sasthampara. The trip commences at 8am and costs Rs 750.