As the much-anticipated consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya approaches, last-minute travelers are finding themselves facing unprecedented costs for flights and accommodations. With the “Pran Pratishtha” ceremony scheduled for January 22, the surge in demand has led to soaring prices, making attendance a costly affair.
Flight Rates Reaching New Heights
Data from travel portals, including SOTC, Thomas Cook, and EaseMyTrip, reveal that individuals are willing to pay exorbitant amounts, even reaching lakhs, to be part of this historic event and seek the blessings of Ram Lalla. Indiver Rastogi, President & Group Head, Global Business Travel, Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC Travel, notes that demand for Ayodhya has spiked by a remarkable 400% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Airfares to Ayodhya from major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Chennai have seen a substantial increase. Travelers can expect to pay anywhere between ₹20,000 to over ₹30,000 for a round-trip ticket. In the week of January 22nd, return fares to Ayodhya are 30-70% higher than the average return fares to the closest hubs, including Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi, and Gorakhpur.
Soaring Accommodation Costs
The consecration ceremony, expected to draw an initial attendance of nearly 7,000 guests, with a projected daily footfall of three to five lakh visitors post-inauguration, has presented significant economic opportunities for the hospitality industry in Ayodhya. EaseMyTrip reports that hotels in Ayodhya are fully booked leading up to the inauguration, allowing them to leverage increased pricing.
Occupancy rates have risen from 80% to 100%, resulting in substantial price hikes, with select hotels charging as much as ₹70,000 per night. The limited hotel inventory in Ayodhya has forced some attendees to explore alternative options, opting for day trips to Ayodhya and booking accommodations in nearby cities like Lucknow and Prayagraj.
Strategies for Budget-Conscious Travelers
Given the extraordinary costs associated with last-minute bookings to Ayodhya, budget-conscious travelers may need to explore strategic alternatives to manage their expenses while still participating in this historic event. Here are a few tips:
- Consider Nearby Cities: As hotel prices soar in Ayodhya, exploring accommodation options in nearby cities like Lucknow and Prayagraj may offer more budget-friendly alternatives.
- Day Trips: For those unable to secure affordable accommodations in Ayodhya, considering day trips to attend the consecration ceremony and returning to nearby cities for overnight stays could be a more cost-effective approach.
- Flexible Travel Dates: Flexibility in travel dates can make a significant difference in airfare costs. Consider adjusting your travel dates to find more affordable options.
- Explore Package Deals: Some travel agencies may offer package deals that include both flights and accommodations. While last-minute packages may be pricier, they could provide some cost savings compared to booking components separately.
In conclusion, while the historic Ram Temple consecration ceremony in Ayodhya is undoubtedly a momentous occasion, last-minute travelers should be prepared for the substantial financial commitment involved. Exploring alternative accommodation options, considering day trips, and remaining flexible in travel plans may help mitigate some of the high costs associated with attending this significant event.