Kerala Tourism has unveiled a unique product to literally extend the feel and taste of Onam festival to visitors by enabling them to enjoy a variety of traditional dishes including the famed multi-dish ‘sadya’ and trips to sylvan rural stretches.
The project , worked out by the State Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission, will facilitate tourists to stay at village homes as guests, join the celebrations of the festival of flowers, partake home-made delicacies and meals and receive attractive gifts before bidding farewell.
The product , ‘Enjoy Onam feast, get Onam gifts ’, piloted in 2017 in selected places, will be extended to the entire state on a grand scale from September 1 to 30, Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran, said.
“The project is drawn up with the aim of facilitating tourists to experience hands on the joys of village life during the festival season,” the Minister said.
The scheme offers different packages for the visitors to choose—A day-and-night stay at a village home for a four-member family which will include breakfast, dinner and lunch , a special Onam feast package, exploration of the unspoilt rural stretches to experience sights and sounds of Onam with local communities.
Besides treating to the mouth-welling feast, those choosing the first category, the premier Onam Festival package, will be presented with a set of traditional gifts like handcrafted souvenirs, handloom shawls and packets of crispy banana chips. The charge will range from Rs 3000 to Rs 8500, depending on the rating and facilities of the unit they are opting to stay.
The Onam Sadya, comprising a variety of spicy and sweet dishes including rice, curries, pickles, chutneys pudding and chips, will be charged modestly at Rs 250 per head. The visitors who are keen to explore deep into the sylvan countryside can hitch to the rural trips, which will cost Rs 3000 for a four-member family on vehicle hired they themselves. Apart from Onam Sadya, they will also be given souvenirs, pappad, chips and handloom shawls.
The spots selected for the package are: Balaramapuram, Madavoorpara (Thiruvananthapuram district), Kainakari and Kavalam (Alappuzha), Vaikom, Maravanthuruthu, Chembu, Manchira, Varampinakam, Thiruvarpu (Kottayam), Amballur (Ernakulam), Olavanna, Kadalundi (Kozhikode), Chekadi, Cheruvayal, Nellarachal (Wayanad), Kunhimangalam, Cherupuzha (Kannur) and Bekal (Kasaragod).
Those joining the village near Kumarakom for “experiencing the village Onam” will also have a three-hour cruise on the backwaters and taken to villages where they can see activities like coir-spinning and coconut tree climbing and tapping. This trip from 10 am to 2 pm will cost Rs 4500.
Also, there will be a three-hour Kumarakom package from 10 am to 5 pm which will include a three-hour cruise, village trips, stop-over at sites of fishing, coir-making and coconut climbing. This will be charged at Rs 8500.
The Vaikom Package will comprise backwater cruise, darshan at the famous Vaikom Mahadeva temple and a visit to a handloom work.
Bekal package will cover the famous north Kerala beach and the fort besides a visit to the pottery work, for which Rs 5000 will be charged. The Kannur package, which will cost Rs 5000, will include visit to a metal work at Kunhimangalam. The Kozhikode package will include a visit to the Farm Tourism Centre at Mampbuzha.
Coming to the capital district in down south, there will be different packages including a visit to renowned Kovalam beach resort and farms nearby, at cost of Rs 4500. The second package will include visit to the cave temple at Madavoorpara and several village work units in and around, at a cost of Rs 4500. For those opting for the Thekkadi in Idukki district can join the trip to see several panoramic high-altitude sites paying Rs 4500. The Alappuzha package, which will cost Rs 4500, includes visit to the backwater-bound rural stretches of Kainakari. Kavalam package, which will cost Rs 4000, includes village walk, casting net and other activities.
The packages are worked out by RT Mission jointly with accommodation units across the state. Those units interested in receiving the tourists and making arrangements for their stay and meals can register here. Those arranging Onam feast should have the registration or certificate of the Food Safety Authority of India.
Besides households, village restaurants, kudumbasree hotels, catering units, registered hotels, homestays and wayside eateries can also join the programme. For details, head here.