Warning for Sri Lankan holidaymakers heading to India
India is the most popular foreign holiday destination for the people of Sri Lanka and the number of pilgrims, who are going to India, is always on the upward trend. Numbers of Sri Lankan, who travel to India, is increased to many thousands during the last several years. Most travellers choose India for their holidays due to the religious reasons and the close proximity to Sri Lanka. India is the most affordable holiday destination for Sri Lankan.
India is the home for many sacred sites for world Buddhist community. Therefore, being a Buddhist country, Indian has becomes the most attractive destination for Buddhist community of Sri Lanka. Usually, Sri Lankans arrive in Chennai, South India and spend a day or two in the Mahabodhi centre. Mahabodhi centre is able to accommodate more than 400 people a day. Mahabodhi centre is the starting point of their pilgrimage. Therefore, Mahabodhi centre is visited by more than hundred of pilgrims from Sri Lanka every day. Some other pilgrims and Sri Lankan holidaymakers spend their overnight stay in hotels and other accommodation facilities in Chennai, outside Mahabodhi centre. The number of travellers, who stay outside the Mahabodhi centre, is around 500 people per day.
After spending some time in Chennai, they set off to north Indian, where they come across many other Buddhist temples and shrines. These pilgrims make tours and excursions to see Buddhist religious sites and engage in religious activities. Most people use the trains and buses to reach the far north Indian destinations and it takes many hours. People have the freedom to choose luxury buses and domestic air transportation by paying extra for the service. Tour operators such as Seerendipity tours organize the holiday packages to India covering all major attractions in India. Seerendipity tours offer a special package to visit India avoiding Chennai and avoiding all hardships for the travelers.
The number of pilgrims in Mahabodhi centre and outside is sharply decreased for the last several months. The main reason for the decreasing number of Sri Lankan travellers in Chennai is the unsatisfactory security for the visitors. Several groups of pilgrims were harassed by several groups in Chennai making severe hardships for them. The numbers of such incidents are on the rise and even monks were beaten in several incidents. Due to worsening security for pilgrims, the number of Sri Lanka heading to Chennai is sharply reduced and even government of Sri Lanka advised the people to avoid Chennai, due to the security reasons.
Finding accommodation has become very hard to Sri Lankan pilgrim. The hoteliers are reluctant to accommodate Sri Lankans tourists, while then the owners of the hotels are also had to face some difficulties. The gangs who are making hardships for pilgrims break into hotels and harass the Sri Lankan people, who are lodging in those places. Therefore, Mahabodhi centre is the only safe place for Sri Lankan people. The police are providing the security for the Mahabodhi centre throughout the day. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan airlines have reduced their scheduled flights to Chennai by fifty percent and Sri Lanka government has issued a severe warning for people who travel to Chennai.