P. Sujatha Varma
The area faces submersion threat due to Polavaram dam
VIJAYAWADA: Cashing in on the eagerness of the State government to commence the work of construction of a dam at Polavaram, the Krishna region of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is making all-out efforts to propagate its one-day tour package to Papikondalu (Papi hills) that face the threat of submersion once the irrigation project is implemented.
Though the package to Papikondalu has been there for the past several years, APSRTC officials have geared up to make hay when the ‘Polavaram’ sun shines. “It’s now or never. Since reports indicate that the works at Polavaram may be taken up by next year, we do not want people to miss out on such a wonderful scenic beauty. The tour package is most relevant, as the climate is also conducive,” says A. Koteswara Rao, Regional Manager of the APSRTC.
The offer of the package tour was thrown open to the public on Sunday and Mr. Rao is expecting good patronage this year.
Besides availability of online booking of special buses for the tour, the APSRTC has set up authorised booking centres in close to 60 places in the city. The package includes a bus journey from Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) in Vijayawada up to Pattiseema in West Godavari district and a journey in a launch towards the destination. A bus fare of Rs. 350 is charged for an adult, while for a child it is Rs. 200. For the boat ride from Pattiseema, an adult has to pay Rs. 400, which is inclusive of the lunch provided aboard. For children, it is Rs. 200 per head.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, meanwhile, offers a couple of tour packages to the picturesque hills that are part of the Eastern Ghats through which the Godavari penetrates to find its way to the east after several meandering twists and turns.
Covered by tropical and deciduous rain forests, a view of Papikondalu from the launch evokes images of beauty and cheer.
The customised daylong and two-day packages of the APTDC offer a delightful cruise in the fleet of its boats that include 120-seater ‘Haritha’, 50-seater ‘Sabari’, 40-seater ‘Chitrangada’, 40-seater ‘Sir Arthur Cotton’ boat and 12-seater ‘Jalajakshi’ house boat.
The boat ride leads one to a countryside patch-worked with tiny farm plots, landscapes dotted with tribal habitations, river banks forested with the timber reserves and fresh air that exude a magical effect. The actual Papikondalu is a place where the width of Godavari is narrowest, i.e. less than a kilometre.
The boat cruises past small waterfalls, streams, thick rain forest and other flora and fauna that add a mystical aura to the place.
The APTDC tour takes the tourist further, till Parentallapalli, the abode of Lord Shiva in Khammam district.