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Buddhists Would Flock Aurangabad's Ajanta & Ellora Caves in March, But Coronavirus Has Changed That

PTI

Last Updated: March 07, 2020, 14:58 IST

Ajanta & Ellora Caves. (Divya Pal, News18)

Ajanta & Ellora Caves. (Divya Pal, News18)

Several tour groups from China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand have cancelled their trips to Aurangabad, which they had scheduled months before.

Aurangabad: In wake of the coronavirus outbreak across the world and the recent cases detected in India, foreign tourists have cancelled their trips to Aurangabad in Maharashtra, home to the famed Ajanta and Ellora Caves.

At least 31 people, including 16 Italian tourists, have tested positive for coronavirus in the country. March is the fag end of the tourist season, with several travellers, predominantly from Buddhist nations, thronging to see the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

"This year, several tour groups from China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand have cancelled their trips to Aurangabad, which they had scheduled months before," said Jaswant Singh, head of Aurangabad Tourism Development Foundation.

Travellers from Europe have also steered clear of the two World Heritage sites as a precautionary measure, Singh added.

Tourism in Aurangabad is likely to be impacted by coronavirus outbreak well into next year, as not a single
booking has so far been made for the next season (November to March 2021), he said.

Sandeep Gaikwad, a veteran guide affiliated to the Ministry of Tourism, said, "In March, every tour guide would
have at least seven to eight assignments to take foreign tour groups around Ajanta and Ellora caves. However, this time, many of us are sitting at home."

The peak tourist season is coming to an end and the industry is facing huge losses because of the sudden slump, Gaikwad said, adding that the trend is likely to continue in the next peak period as well.
first published:March 07, 2020, 14:58 IST
last updated:March 07, 2020, 14:58 IST