Mysuru Dasara: Virtual audience, tours gain traction

Virtual tours of tourist hotspots are becoming a means to beat COVID-19 restrictions.  

When singer Rajesh Krishnan and his team took to the stage in front of the illuminated Mysuru palace as part of Dasara cultural programmes early this week, there were hardly about 250 people in the audience.

But there were nearly 1.93 lakh people watching the programme aired on different channels and being live-streamed on social media in what was a tribute to legendary singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam who passed away recently.

“This is one of the highest viewership for Mysuru Dasara. Though people were physically not present, they were still a part of the programmes and savoured every bit,” said Raju, Assistant Director, Department of Information and Publicity, and the nodal officer for virtual broadcast of Dasara programmes.

There were viewers from across the globe who enjoyed a slice of Mysuru Dasara virtually, he added.

But virtual viewership is not restricted to Dasara cultural programmes alone. Turning the present crisis plaguing the tourism sector affected by the pandemic into an opportunity, a group of entrepreneurs are presenting a virtual tour showcasing Mysuru to the rest of the world.

The concept of virtual tours is gaining traction among travel addicts across the globe. The virtual tour of Mysuru is an initiative of Gully Tours – earlier known as Royal Mysore Walks – who showcase Old Mysuru with its heritage and culture to the discerning tourists.

Vinay Parameswarappa, founder and CEO, Gully Tours, said it is a unique way of experiencing Dasara in Mysuru and it will be hosted on Zoom where a city expert would take the participants on a fun and interactive journey with live narration with the help of archival photographs, videos and maps. “The Mysuru Dasara Virtual Tour is part of a series of Virtual Tours by Gully Tours. The first was a virtual tour of Mysuru palace which was well received and had participants from India, U.S., U.K. and Australia,” he said.

With the virtual tour, participants get to explore the origins, symbolism and significance of the city’s grand festival right from the comfort of ones house.

COVID-19 hit the tourism sector hard and the Gully Tours was no exception. But it harnessed technology to take advantage of the growing trend of online working, webinars, etc. and decided to offer virtual tours that have already caught on in other parts of the world.

But this experiment will not end with Dasara as Gully Tours has planned a series of simulated trips over the next few weeks including a virtual tour that explores the story of Tipu, Srirangapatna and its global connections, one of Kochi where they will explore its spice trade history and the Jewish community, and one of the IT industry in Bengaluru among others. A portion of the proceeds will go to assist tourist guides who are without income since the ockdown began.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 8:08:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mysuru-dasara-virtual-audience-tours-gain-traction/article32933806.ece

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