Monday, October 26, 2009

It's not cricket only: Aussie Tour & Tourism

It need not be a coincidence that the ongoing tour of India by the Australian cricket team coincides with the commencement of India’s tourist season for the foreign traveller.If it’s pleasant enough to play cricket during the day, then it should be quite comfortable for the foreign tourist to take in the sights and sounds of what our tourism department describes as ‘Incredible India’. Three weeks of cricket-cum-tourism can add up to a memorable experience for those tourists who want to combine fun and games with sightseeing and shopping.

Packaged cricket-cum-sightseeing tours for the fans have now become the fashion. October-November of 2008 saw the Barmy Army — as English cricket fans are known — following the team led by Kevin Pietersen all over India. This year, the Aussie cricket fans will be following Ricky Ponting’s team all over India while holding up and waving large toy kangaroos to demonstrate their unequivocal support for their team.

The Aussie-tour itinerary takes in the metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad and the smaller urban centres. One can imagine the Aussie tourists not just enjoying the win at Vadodara but also going around the 110-acre Sayaji Baug Park and appreciating Nandalal Bose’s murals of the Battle of Mahabharat and the story of that ultimate devotee Meera, depicted on the walls of the central hall of Kirti Mandir.

The second ODI begins on October 28 at India’s Orange City of Nagpur where the fans could have themselves photographed at the Zero Mile marker, which indicates that this is the exact geographical centre of India. The sixth ODI is at Guwahati where the fans can take in the 10th-century Kamakhaya Temple and the Kaziranga game sanctuary, famous for the one-horned rhino. The final ODI is on November 11 at Mumbai, the ideal take-off point for the journey back home. The logistics might be demanding but what are travel agents for!

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