Railway package tours: Mysore reigns supreme

The city continues to retain its popularity as a holiday destination among tourists who opt for packages offered by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

The packages include local travel and sightseeing, accommodation, food and sightseeing at nearby towns.

Narayanan, an IRCTC representative here, told The Hindu most bookings for the holiday packages floated by the corporation are from Chennai and Bangalore, from where the tour originates. Mysore, Kodagu and Ooty are popular destinations throughout the year.

Tie up

“Tourists leave Chennai on Thursday to reach here the following morning. The IRCTC office here, which has a tie-up with local cab services, arranges for sightseeing, accommodation and transportation to Kodagu and Ooty,” said Mr. Narayanan.

According to him, the all-inclusive packages are economical, and hence patronised by budget tourists, students and those travelling in groups.

“On arriving in Mysore, tourists are picked up at the station and transferred to Kodagu, where the check-in is in Madikeri. Sightseeing includes a visit to Abbey falls, fort, Raja’s Seat, Raja’s Tomb, Omkareshwara temple, Talacauvery and Dubare elephant camp, and winds up with a whirlwind tour of the Mysore palace and Chamundi Hills. The itinerary also includes a visit to Cauvery Nisargadhama and Bylakuppe,” he said, describing the package that includes Kodagu.

Tourists from Mysore

Among outbound tourists from the city, Shirdi is a popular destination. At least 15 to 20 groups travel to Shirdi from Mysore every month on the Karnataka Express from Bangalore, Mr. Narayanan said.

However, as there is a weekly train to Shirdi from Mysore, most travellers prefer it to the IRCTC package, for which the departure is from Bangalore, he added. There is also lukewarm response to the IRCTC package from Mysore to Tirupati. Priced at Rs. 1,662 a head, it includes confirmed return journey berth, accommodation and local travel at Tirupati, and assured darshan that does not take more than three hours. IRCTC personnel hand over the darshan tickets to the travellers upon reaching the temple town, which was extremely convenient, but there was limited response to the package, Mr. Narayanan said.

Meanwhile, the daily train from Chamarajanagar to Tirupati was always packed, he said, perhaps as pilgrims prefer to the flexibility of charting their own itinerary.

The official said that the IRCTC package to Goa, with departure from Bangalore, too had limited response from the people of Mysore.

The IRCTC Tourist Facilitation Centre here was launched in April 2011. It handles more than 200 queries from inbound tourists, both domestic and international, every day.

This, coupled with the presence of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation counter at the station, was instrumental in Mysore railway station receiving the “most tourist-friendly railway station in the country” award recently.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-karnataka/railway-package-tours-mysore-reigns-supreme/article4780307.ece

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