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Home Vacation Spiritual Spin: Puneites Embrace Spiritual Vacations with Visit to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya | Pune News

Spiritual Spin: Puneites Embrace Spiritual Vacations with Visit to Ram Mandir in Ayodhya | Pune News

by Staff
Pune: Chinchwad businesswoman Nimisha Giri’s vacation this April comes with a spiritual twist. Her leisure trip to Lucknow and Kolkata will have an additional stop as her family is also set to visit the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.“The original plan was to only visit Lucknow to mainly enjoy its food and then head to Kolkata. But since the Ram temple has opened, it wouldn’t be wise to skip Ayodhya, which is in the same state as Lucknow. This would be a religious/spiritual trip as well as a leisurely holiday for us,” Giri said. Faith-based tourism coupled with leisurely travel is gaining traction among vacation-goers in Pune, and is expected to further increase, according to travel experts. The Ram temple’s grand inauguration on Jan 22 has further fuelled this trend.Santosh Gupta, the owner of Shree Vinayak Holidays, noted that there have always been a high demand for such trips. But now, from 20 to 25 queries a month, there are more than 50 queries for spiritual or religious trips. “Interestingly, the conversion rate is up by 90% compared to 40%-45% earlier. With Ayodhya setting new standards, we are expecting an increase of over 50% in confirmed bookings,” he added. Nilesh Bhansali, the owner of Devam Tours and Travels, said that many travellers now want to combine leisure travelling with religious packages. “For example, if someone is going to Kashmir, they try to include a visit to the Amarnath caves or Vaishno Devi shrine. If Dehradun is for having fun, travellers want to add Haridwar or Rishikesh for spiritual tranquillity,” he said, adding that Indore and Ujjain was also a coveted combination.Sushant Rajgariya, a working professional from Kalyaninagar, said he plans to head to Varanasi, Ayodhya and Odisha next winter. “Earlier, the plan was to travel to Odisha to stay by the sea and visit the temples there. But we have tweaked our plan to include Varanasi and Ayodhya. Odisha and UP are not very far, and it is always a good idea to including multiple things to make a complete vacation,” he said. Mehboob Shaikh, the chairman of the Pune chapter of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) and director of Travel Elect India Private Limited, said faith-based tours are no longer limited to just one age group.The demand is significant, said big travel industry players. “We are witnessing an exponential surge in online searches for Ayodhya with a 1000% uptick compared to last year. Our demand too has witnessed a 100% month-to-month growth,” said Rajeev Kale, president and country head (holidays, MICE, visa) at Thomas Cook (India). “What is noteworthy is that our data shows demand across ages and segments — families, seniors, couples and youngsters; besides the business community.”

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