Free boarding offered to solar eclipse tourists


New Delhi/Ahmedabad – Hoping to attract around 5,000 tourists to watch the solar eclipse on July 22 in Surat district, one of the places in India where the total eclipse will be visible, the Gujarat government on Saturday announced it would offer free boarding to the first 200 people registering with them.

The tourists will be accommodated in the homes of local people in Surat free of charge under a scheme called ‘Atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is almost akin to god).

“We are expecting to receive more than 5,000 tourists during the eclipse in Surat. Elaborate arrangements have been made for domestic and international tourists, students and scientists visiting the place to view the celestial activity,” said Kishor Rao, secretary Gujarat Tourism.

People interested in availing free hospitality will have to register with the Surat district administration.

The July 22 total solar eclipse, originating in the Gulf of Cambay in Surat, is expected to last 6 minutes and 44 seconds, making it the longest eclipse of the century. The next such celestial spectacle will take place 2132.

“Various departments of the Gujarat government are working together to identify different eclipse viewing sites and outreach programmes and activities for understanding the phenomenon,” said Rao.