Thodupuzha: It’s the most wonderful time of the year as far as the tourism sector in Munnar is concerned. With temperature dipping to near-zero levels, visitors are flocking to the hill station and surroundings to experience the cold and the fog.
The road to Munnar was choc-a-bloc from Adimali over the weekend. Officials estimated that as many as 2,250 people visit the Rajamala inside the Eravikulam National Park a day on average.
Not far away, Mattuppetti hosts about 1,500 visitors per day, the District Tourism Promotion Council estimated. Munnar, Thekkady, Vagamon and other key destinations in Idukki remain crowded. Visitors also throng lesser known destinations such as Kolukkumala and Meesappulimala.
The tourist season that started in November is expected to culminate around Christmas. Munnar recorded 4 degree Celsius of temperature, while nearby estates were colder by two more degrees. The hill station remains freezing-cold as rain clouds stay away.
Visitors from the Tamil Nadu side, however, have a hard time reaching Munnar because of the traffic restrictions on the Kochi-Dhanushkodi National Highway. Traffic has been banned on the 42 kilometers between Munnar and Bodimet between 7 am and 7 pm. They have to take a detour from Pooppara and go through Rajakumari, Kunjithanni and Pallivasal to reach Munnar.
Meanwhile, the tourism department cut a sorry figure at a time when visitors flock to the alluring hill stations. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation’s new boat on the Thekkady Lake conked out just in time for the peak season.
Even if one boat is out of action in the peak season, tourists will have a hard time waiting for a cruise on the lake, which is the prime attraction of Thekkady.
The KTDC operates four boats at Thekkady. Two of them can carry 120 passengers each. Though both of them conked last week, the corporation was able to repair and press into service one of them.