Mysore tongas to offer `unique ride' to tourists

MYSORE, OCT. 11. Automobiles may have sounded the death knell to the once famous Shah Pasand tongas of Mysore, but they (the tongas) are still in reckoning among the tourists, who prefer to experience a unique ride in them to see the city royale.

To provide tourists with this unique experience, the Dasara Tourism Sub-committee has decided to introduce "Tonga Safaris" that offers tonga rides at an affordable cost. The tongas are being spruced up for the "safari". Their owners will sport traditional dresses to match the heritage mode of transport. Though there are more than 50 Shah Pasand tongas in the city, only 20 tongas will be made available for the tourists. A city circuit map and a tourism-related brochure will be provided in each participating tonga.

Traditional dress

Disclosing this to The Hindu, the sub-committee chairman, R. Chandrashekar, said the tonga owners would be provided with traditional uniforms and head gear. Besides asking the owners to keep their tongas ready for the "safari", Mr. Chandrashekar said they (owners) were being requested not to charge high price. To prevent harassment, a nominal daily allowance had been promised to the tonga owners. A programme to improve communication skills and imbibe pleasing personality had been arranged for the tonga owners, he added.

He said a tourist information centre would be set up near the Mysore Palace to provide assistance to tourists who want to opt for the "Tonga Safari". The tourists could either choose to go on a heritage building circuit or the regular circuit that included places of major tourist attraction.

Film festival

While the crisis in film industry continues to hamper screening of films in cinemas in the State, the tradition of screening films during the Dasara festivities will continue. In all, 49 films will be screened during the seven-day Dasara Film Festival starting from October 15.

An added feature of this year's festival is the screening of films in towns such as Nanjangud and Srirangapatna. Besides Kannada films, popular and award-winning English, Hindi and Malayalam films will be screened offering a rich variety to film-buffs.

The Dasara Film Festival Sub-committee Chairman, K. Nagaraj, told presspersons here that seven cinemas would participate in the festival. Though the screening of films would commence from October 15, the film festival would be formally inaugurated on October 16 at Kalamandira. The inauguration was being delayed by a day as a number of programmes had been lined up for October 15, he added.

The participating cinemas, he said, were Jayalakshmi (Srirangapatna), Sharada (Nanjangud) and Shree, Woodlands, Gokul, Saraswathi and Sterling (Mysore). The films would be screened in the morning, and an entry fee of Rs. 10 and Rs. 5 would be charged for balcony and second class seats respectively, he added.


The Government has decided to institute awards for the best photograph taken at various events during the nine-day festivities. The photographs would be displayed at the Mysore Palace and the Palace Board would select the photograph for awards. Amateur and professional photographers can send their works to the Mysore Palace Board on or before November 11.

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