On Wednesday 29th Nov, 2023, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) commenced inter-state services to accommodate the substantial influx of pilgrims from neighboring states, particularly Tamil Nadu. The initial phase of services will connect three destinations: Palani, Coimbatore, and Tenkasi. Additionally, the corporation has secured permits for services to Chennai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Madurai, and Kanyakumari. According to Sunil Kumar, the KSRTC Special Officer at Pamba, the inter-state services to Palani, Coimbatore, and Tenkasi will operate based on passenger demand initially, with a fixed schedule to be established later. Services to the other destinations will be introduced subsequently, depending on passenger demand.
The Pamba-Palani (Super-Fast) ticket is priced at Rs 408 per person, while the rates for Coimbatore (FP) and Tenkasi are Rs 535 and Rs 303, respectively. Concurrently, the corporation has heightened the frequency of Pamba-Nilackal chain services to five buses per minute during peak hours in the 21-km section. The fare for AC buses is Rs 80 per head, while non-AC buses charge Rs 50. In the initial 11 days of the season, the state-owned carrier has accumulated over Rs five crore, achieving a peak daily collection of Rs 62 lakh on November 25. In response to the substantial demand, an additional 30 buses have been deployed to serve Kottayam, Chengannur, and Ernakulam. This is in conjunction with the existing 230 daily schedules operating to Pamba from various points across the state.
KSRTC Affordable Tourism Service From Chennai
In the meantime, long-haul budget tourism options are now available, allowing a minimum group of 40 pilgrims to reserve an entire bus for their journey. The inaugural service, organized by the Budget Tourism cell of the KSRTC, took place on November 24, traveling from Chennai to Pamba and back. To date, 14 successful services have been completed from various starting points,” stated a senior official. The renowned Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala commenced the Mandala Pooja Maholsavam on November 16, marking the beginning of the pilgrimage season’s first phase, scheduled to conclude on December 27. Subsequently, the temple will reopen on December 30 for the ‘Makaravilakku festival, concluding on January 20.