Ride your way to Puja pandals in AC comfort

With Goddess Durga all set to arrive in Kolkata, the city is gearing up to provide a memorable experience to tourists, both domestic and foreign, who wish to get something more than just a "Puja feel" this autumn.

Soon after tourism minister Manabendra Mukherjee announced that the department was eyeing major private investment in the tourism sector of West Bengal, the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) has come up with attractive packages for tourists.

"This time we have tried to design packages in such a way that there is something for everyone. It is a government initiative, as many outsiders feel safe to book packages with the WBTDC," said MD WBTDC, TVN Rao.

The WBTDC is offering a two nights/three days stay at a four star hotel for revelling in the Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata at Rs 21,000 plus taxes. This package will include conducted tours around the city, pandal-hopping and various other Puja attractions. Many such trips and packages are in the offing between October 4 to 11.

For people who are unable to spare time during the four days of the Durga Puja, WBTDC will be organising pre-Puja tours on October 4 and 5. While travelling in the comfort of an AC buses would cost Rs 600 per head, that in a non-AC bus would be Rs 400. It will roll out special Puja trips to traditional Puja pandals outside Kolkata, like Goswami Barir Puja in Serampore, Sheoraphuli Rajbari and the terracotta Naba Kailash temple in Kalna. These are likely to come with a price tag of Rs 1,200 for each day. The government and private tour operators have also organized cruise rides on the river.

The charges for the morning trip will be Rs 500 while the evening ride will cost Rs 100 extra. The vessels will depart from the Outram Ghat jetty.

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