KSRTC to focus on ‘pilgrimage’ tourism; announces state-wide services for Thiruvairanikulam temple fest

A group of Sabarimala pilgrims arrive at Chengannur KSRTC depot to utilize the budget tourism service. Photo: Special Arrangement

Alappuzha: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation's pocket-friendly Budget Tourism initiative which launched two years back has caught the imagination of the bag packers. Now, the specialized wing of the financial cash-strapped entity is broadening up its activities to reap rich dividends out of the booming pilgrimage tourism as well.

Along with operating charted trips to Sabarimala from places as far as Madurai in neighbouring Tamil Nadu during the three-month-long pilgrimage season, the corporation is also focusing on specific regional and religious festivals as part of full-fledged efforts to come out of the red. If it successfully rolled out budget packages across the state as part of the ‘Kreupasanam’ pilgrimage a month back, the latest “big-time” initiative is in connection with the annual ‘Nadathurarappu’ festival of Thiruvairanikulam temple near Kalady of Ernakulam district.

“We will be operating at least 75 services across the state from Parassala to Palakkad. All these services are scheduled from December 26 night to January 6. The packages are devised in such a way that the pilgrims can visit famous temples or pilgrimage destinations en route to the Thiruvairanikulam temple. For instance, a service from Kottayam will cover Ettumanoor, Malliyoor, and Vaikom temples as well,” said Aneesh R, Zonal officer in charge of the KSRTC Budget Tourism Cell (BTC).

The services will be operated from Neyyatinkkara (Dec 27), Venjaranmoodu (Dec 27), Pappanamcode (Dec 27), Alappuzha (Dec 27), Palakkad (Dec 27), Kayamkulam (Dec 27), Kottarakkara (Dec 27), Mavelikkara (Dec 27), Thiruvalla (Dec 28), Changanasseery (Dec 28), Pandalam (Dec 28), Chathanur (Dec 28), Kilimannur (Dec 28), Haripad (Dec 28), Kottarakkara (Dec 29), Adoor (Dec 29), Pathanamthitta (Dec 29), Mavelikkara (Dec 29), Chattannur (Dec 30), Harippad (Dec 30), Karunagapally (Dec 30), Kollam (Dec 30), Edathua (Dec 30), Changannur (Dec 30), Cherthala (Dec 30) and Vithura (Dec 31), units. Some of the units operate multiple services till January 6. 

The Alappuzha district alone operates 24 services.

“The first trip from the district is from Alappuzha depot on December 27. Four services will be operated from Mavelikkara, Harippad, and Kayamkulam on various dates while three services have been scheduled from Alappuzha and Chengannur. Edathua will conduct two services and there will be one trip from Cherthala. The last trip is from Kayamkulam station on January 6,” said Shefeek I, District Co-ordinator, Alappuzha.

Earlier, the corporation fetched an impressive collection of Rs 8,04, 380 on October 28 by facilitating the commutation of pilgrims from various parts of the state to Kreupasanam centre for a mega prayer rally for world peace.

The Thiruvairanikulam temple near Aluva is dedicated to Lord Shiva. However, the temple is famous for the shrine of Goddess Parvathi which is open only for 12 days in a year. This year the shrine will open on December 26 and ‘Nadathurappu Maholsavam’ will end on January 6.

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