Professionals could get a much-deserved change of scene, while the Indian Railways benefits from enhanced occupancy, and local tourism gets a much-needed boost.
Restricted air travel – both domestic and international – along with work from home are realities of our pandemic-afflicted world. But the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) sees an opportunity in this challenge. After a successful launch of the scheme in Kerala, the IRCTC has extended the ‘Work from Hotel with Nature’ package to Odisha.
It allows home-weary professionals to enjoy a work-cation in the beautiful beach towns of Konark, Gopalpur and Puri. More such locations are being scouted by the IRCTC to enhance occupancy on the railways while boosting revenues for the tourism sector.
Offered on a pro-rata basis, the packages adhere to COVID mitigation guidelines such as disinfected rooms, three-course meals, complimentary Wi-Fi services, secured parking, and travel insurance.
Once your work day ends, here’s what each of the destinations offer…
Gopalpur: A sea port that was active even in the days of the ancient Kalinga empire is set on a beautiful beach on the Bay of Bengal. If you’re lucky, you could see the rare Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings as they make their way into the sea at night. Breeding season or not, the beach is a definite must-visit. If you’re taking a day off, you could drive to Lake Chilika to see the bird sanctuary there. There’s also the Gopalpur Lighthouse, several other beaches nearby, and shops selling authentic tribal handicrafts and handlooms to browse if you want some retail therapy.
Konark: Of course, there’s the world-famous Sun Temple from the 13th century, which is an absolute must-see while you’re here for its architecture as well as supreme significance to the culture of the region. But you could also spend time at the Archaeological Survey of India Museum, relax on one of the beaches close at hand, or arrange to take in a performance of Odissi, one of India’s most prominent classical dance forms.
Puri: The 11th century Sri Jagannath Puri Temple is said to be home to Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. An important part of the Char Dham Yatra, it is one of the top pilgrimage spots for religious Hindus. Architecturally, too, it is beautiful and the intricate carvings on its four gates are worth a dekko even if you aren’t visiting as a worshipper. Apart from this one, there are several other temples in the sacred town of Puri that you can explore as well. Besides these, the golden sand and fishing boats at Puri Beach are a big draw for anyone in the region.