Scores of people, along with their families, thronged tourist hotspots in several locations in parts of southern districts on Thursday and enjoyed their leisure time together in the ongoing Pongal festivity.
Many foreigners from Israel too joined the celebration. A variety of cultural programmes, including folk dance, was organised by the Department of Tourism to entertain the visitors at Vattakanal.
A group of artists staged cultural programmes during the schedule. Besides, tourists enjoyed a scenic ride in boats in the lake and moreover, they revelled in Bryant Park, Moir Point, Pine Forest and other spots, Kodaikanal Assistant Tourism Officer M. Anandan said.
Since ‘Kaanum Pongal’ is scheduled on Friday, the arrival of tourists is expected to increase further. With around 2,000 cottages in and few lodging hotels in Kodaikanal town, Naidupuram, Vattakanal and other localities, almost all such accommodation facilities had been filled. Though 70 per cent of hotels attached with accommodation facilities remained closed and sealed, restaurants were kept open as usual to benefit the tourists, he said.
According to S. Jerome, a taxi operator, days after the New Year occasion, cabs were mostly busy during this Pongal festival season. Tourists mostly preferred ‘Pillar Rock’, Mannavanur lake, Kulandhai Velappar temple, Berijam lake and at Dolphins’ Nose, Jerome said.
Unusually, there’s a huge crowd at Kanniyakumari, where they enjoyed sailing after getting access to ferry boats to Vivekanandar Rock. The ferry service commenced at 6 am, and continued till 6 pm., sources said. The ferry service from Kanniyakumari shore to the Rock saw a total of 16,453 tourists sailing on three boats during this schedule. During the last year, around 16,000 tourists availed of the ferry service, the sources said.