The scare of Omicron impacts Bodh Gaya hospitality

Published on : Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Despite the fact that the new variant of the coronavirus disease is yet to make an entry into Bihar, Bodh Gaya’s hospitality, the major tourist destination of the state, has started sensing its effects. Bookings as well as enquiries to block rooms at the hotels, tour packages and guides have started getting lower in numbers and even those which were to be confirmed in the last three-four days, have been cancelled. This has been confirmed by Bodh Gaya hotel owners, package tour planners and guides.

In Bihar, Bodh Gaya is one of the most visited destinations, especially in the winters. It was here Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. To mark the spiritual implication of that important incident, different Buddhist sects as well as groups arranged Buddhist Puja ceremonies, along with rituals and sessions of prayers during winters like Chivar Daan. It’s a ritual of donating robes to the monks and nuns to Sutta Path and prayers for peace. Tourists from across the world enjoy these festivals, keeping the hotels, tour package centres and guides at fully occupied with activities throughout the tourism season from October to March.

To quote Suresh Kumar Singh, the Bodh Gaya Travel Association secretary, “And when Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual Guru is in the holy city, more than 1.5 lakh foreign tourists stay back there. A huge number of tourists mean big businesses for all in Bodh Gaya, ranging from hotels, tour planners and guides to roadside food vendors and handicrafts sellers. Everybody remains engaged and earn money. And this time as the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC), which manages the maintenance and activities at the Mahabodhi temple, allowed six Buddhist festivals and Pujas, the entire sector expected a good season after a long gap of two seasons amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The knock made by Omicron variant of the Covid-19 in the country has spoilt everything.”

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