As the sacred Pran Pratishtha ceremony at the Ayodhya Ram Temple scheduled for January 22, 2024 approaches, the fervour to be part of this historic event is also gaining momentum.
Many devotees had also planned months ahead to attend the ceremony. This has also led to a huge surge in travel and accommodation costs. Also from January 22, 2024, the temple will be open to the general public and will see huge footfall, reaching some hundred thousand each day.
So, a cost-effective planning is needed even for future, if at all you can’t attend the consecration ceremony.
Demand for flights to Ayodhya has surged, resulting in exorbitant prices in the last few weeks. As of now, there are no seats available on flights to Ayodhya.
But one can fly to nearby cities, such as Lucknow and Prayagraj. This is also better in terms of managing expenses. Flight booking sites are showing reasonable prices now for January 21, 2024, possibly in line with flight ticket prices dropping at the last minute.
Google Flight data shows the typical ticket price for Delhi to Lucknow and Mumbai to Lucknow in the Rs 2,900-4,000 and Rs 6,000-9,000 range. For returns, one may consider an alternative transport to cities farther away, as return prices are on higher end even from the nearby cities. Also note that Indian Railways has announced over 1,000 trains to Ayodhya for the temple inauguration on January 22, which can get you access from major cities if you succeed in getting a Tatkal ticket.
Ayodhya has many other historical temples, including Hanuman Garhi, Kanak Bhawane, and historical sites like Dashrath Mahalaya Palace Museum, which coupled together in a cab trip can save you travel costs.
Even after consecration, for budget-conscious future travellers, flexibility in travel dates can make a lot of difference in airfare costs, so it would be wise to consider booking ticket at least a month-and-a-half in advance.
As many as 500,000 devotees are expected to reach Ayodhya on January 22, and most of hotels are fully booked, according to a report in The Indian Express. Room tariffs have also seen a huge spike –with tariffs reaching up to Rs 25,000-30,000 per night even after the ceremony date.
To avoid hefty hotel bills, one may consider researching alternative accommodations locally, such as famous dharamshalas, which are located within a few kilometres of Ram Janmabhoomi.
One can also explore early day trips to Ayodhya on January 22, while booking night stays in nearby cities. If you are travelling in a large group or planning extended stays in future, you may consider renting apartments through AirBnB or other apps, which are often more cost-effective than hotels.
Earlier this week, hospitality tech platform OYO reported opening 65 homestays and hotels in Ayodhya to accommodate pilgrims, with prices starting from Rs 1,000 per night. Many homestays have also come up in the city to cater to the demand, reportedly starting from around Rs 4,000.
For those planning future trips to Ayodhya after the consecration ceremony, considering tour packages can be a cost-effective approach.
Travel agencies usually offer package deals that include both flights and accommodations, which could provide some savings in cost compared to booking components separately.
With an expected surge in visitors after consecration, planning at least a month in advance provides ample time to research and select the best tour packages according to one’s personal likes and preferences.
Travel agencies are also offering Ayodhya Ram Mandir tour packages with different itineraries, so research sites independently and see if your personal favourites and your preferred mode of transport are included in the itinerary. Booking in advance may lead to huge savings, as many agencies offer early bird discounts or promotional offers.