Buoyed by the success of the recent ‘Pancharama’ package tours, the Visakhapatnam Region of APSRTC has come out with a special road-cum-river cruise from Visakhapatnam to Bhadrachalam and back.

The weekly special tour, which has drawn overwhelming response during the trial run itself, will begin on Saturday (March 30).

The ‘no frills’ package is a cool way to beat the summer heat as the entire road journey is by an ‘Indra’ AC bus and the river cruise by an AC boat. RTC has also tied up with hotels to provide food, and AC accommodation to passengers on twin-sharing basis at Bhadrachalam. Arrangements have also been made for darshan of Lord Rama and Lord Venkateswara at Dwaraka Tirumala, popularly known as Chinna Tirupathi, in West Godavari in the return journey.

The special AC 40-seater bus will leave the Dwaraka Bus Station (RTC Complex) at 4:30 a.m. on Saturdays.

Passengers will be taken to Purushottapatnam on the east bank of Godavari and from there by an AC boat up to Pochavaram (Khammam district) passing through the picturesque ‘Paapi kondalu’.

“Breakfast and lunch would be provided on board the boat. The boat would reach Pochavaram by 5 p.m. and from there the passengers would be taken by an AC bus to Bhadrachalam, 78 km away. We (RTC) will provide AC accommodation on twin sharing basis and the next morning arrange for darshan of Lord Rama,” Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (Rural) P. Jeevan Prasad said on Thursday.

“The pilgrims would be taken to ‘Parnasala’ by 7 a.m. and after an early lunch by around 11:30 a.m., the return journey would be via Jangareddygudem to Dwaraka Tirumala. After darshan of Lord Venkateswara, the journey would be through Bhimadolu and Rajahmundry and the bus would reach the city by 11 p.m. Of the total journey of 1,038 km, about 200 km would be by boat and the remaining by bus,” he said.

The all-inclusive fare by AC service was Rs.3,500 for adults and Rs.2,625 for children. Children below five years of age would not be charged. Though there were plans to introduce online reservation facility for the Bhadrachalam road-cum-river cruise, at present passengers can book their tickets at the ‘Mee Seva’ counter at the DBS (RTC Complex) and those intending to go in groups can contact Assistant Traffic Manager BVS Naidu on mobile no. 99592 25234.