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`Mysore Tourism Passport' to provide free entry to six places

R. Krishna Kumar

40 lakh tourists expected to witness Dasara celebrations this year


  • Many events planned to regale people visiting Mysore
  • Procession of elephants to be taken out on all 10 days of Dasara
  • Anju George to open Dasara sports meet, Rahul Dravid Dasara Marathon
  • BSNL to provide information to tourists

    MYSORE: The spirit of Dasara is catching up in the city as the authorities brace up to make it a spectacular event to promote Mysore as a brand and boost tourism. Nearly 40 lakh tourists are expected to witness the spectacle unfold over 10 days starting from October 4.

    The city of palaces will come alive as a fantasy land with flower shows, adventure sports, pet shows, dance and music, exhibitions, athletics, wrestling, poet's conference, film shows, theatre festival, Yuva Dasara for the youth, football match and air show, to name a few of the attractions.

    For the benefit of tourists who wish to avoid standing in lengthy queues to purchase entry tickets, the "Mysore Tourism Passport" was released on Saturday by Deputy Commissioner S. Selvakumar and Dasara Special Officer A.B. Ibrahim.

    The tourism passport is prized at Rs. 50 for adults and Rs. 25 for children, and will give the passport holders free entry to the palace, zoo, Karanji Lake, Chamundi Hills, Brindavan Gardens and Ranganathittu, which are frequented by tourists. The passport will be valid for a month from October 1 to 30, and is being tried on an experimental basis. Depending on people's response, it will be made a permanent feature of Dasara and promoted by the Department of Tourism.

    The passports will be available at all the six places mentioned above, and the authorities are trying to tie up with a few other agencies who could market it to tourists, according to Sri Chamaraja Zoological Gardens Executive Director Manoj Kumar.

    Unprecedented

    Mr. Selvakumar said the ensuing Dasara will be unprecedented in scale and is likely to attract about 40 lakh people of whom nearly 20 lakhs are expected to turn up to witness Jamboo Savari, which marks the climax of the 10-day celebrations.

    Hence, it has been decided to have more events on October 8 and 9 to trigger a "mini climax" in a bid to entertain the crowd so that a section of those who prefer to keep away from the last day rush may witness the grandeur of Dasara. It has been decided to take out a march of caparisoned elephants in all their regal paraphernalia along the procession route on all the 10 days to enable the people to get a glimpse of Jamboo Savari, Mr. Selvakumar said.

    Dasara gold cards released by Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh have received tremendous response and the authorities hope to raise Rs. 50 lakhs from their sale. The gold card holders will have free access to most places of tourist interests, including the Nagarahole Wildlife Sanctuary, GRS Fantasy Park, and all venues where various events are held. These include the cultural programmes on the Mysore Palace premises, Dasara procession with assured seats and car parking facility and the Torch Light Parade at Bannimantap Grounds, among others. The cardholders can also avail themselves of discount in participating hotels and special discount on purchase.

    The Dasara sports meet will be inaugurated by Anju George, and the two-day event will be held at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium. Cricketer Rahul Dravid will inaugurate the Dasara Marathon. A food mela will be held at the Town Hall showcasing the culinary delights from across the country. A football match featuring Karnataka and Kerala State teams will be held on October 8.

    Tourist information

    BSNL will install a free interactive voice response system on which details of the Dasara events will be available for tourists.

    Mr. Ibrahim said BSNL is ready with the system, which will have a five-digit number dialling which tourists can get the information either in Kannada, English or Hindi. The recording in English and Hindi is ready and the Kannada version is in the process of being recorded.

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