Two 40-seater buses, 3 trips but only 14 people travel on the double-deckers’ maiden journey
Mysore/Mysuru: Ambaari (double-decker open-top hop-on and hop-off buses), Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation’s (KSTDC) tourist attraction to Mysuru, which faced many hurdles over COVID-19 since last year, hit the roads this morning, inviting attention and photographic moments from passers-by.
Though the response was lukewarm, people, who took the bus, exclaimed in joy, “better late than never” as the buses reached many heritage sites that dot the city. The open roof-top-seater bus provided an opportunity for tourists to experience first-hand why Mysuru is called the Heritage City and Cultural Capital of Karnataka.
The first trip began at around 9.30 am from the KSTDC Office on JLB Road where the Ambaari had just eight passengers including a child (no ticket for the child) and the second trip that commenced around 10 am ferried only two passengers. Later another 4 passengers travelled in the second trip of the first Ambaari bus. In all, there were only 14 passengers who enjoyed the heritage ride till 12 noon today.
As the trip began, a vehicle with a ladder belonging to the Mysuru City Corporation went along where the staff ensured that there were no obstacles like tree branches and dangling cables on the route.
Months back, the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) relocated overhead electricity lines that were obstructing the free movement of the bus on the designated route. The KSTDC had requested the CESC to shift the transmission lines besides urging the Forest Department and the MCC to prune tree branches along the route to facilitate unhindered movement. As such, today’s inaugural run was glitch-free.
The trips started from KSTDC Office (Hotel Mayura Hoysala) on JLB Road and covered Deputy Commissioner’s Office, Kukkarahalli Lake, Crawford Hall, Ramaswamy Circle, Sanskrit Pathashala, K.R. Circle, Dodda Gadiyara (Silver Jubilee Clock Tower), Palace South Gate, Hardinge Circle, Mysuru Zoo, Karanji Lake, Government Guest House, St. Philomena’s Church, Government Ayurveda College Circle, Railway Station Circle and culminated at Hotel Mayura Hoysala.
During the tour, tourists enjoyed the view of the heritage city along with an audio guide that explained the history of each heritage building when the bus reached the tourist sites identified on the route. The audio is available in two languages now — Kannada and English — and the KSTDC has plans to add a couple of foreign languages later.
Successful first trip
Each bus is scheduled to have four trips a day and the duration of one trip will be two hours.
The bus successfully completed its first trip that commenced at 9.30 am and returned at around 12 noon. All passengers enjoyed the view of the city by taking selfies and clicking photographs. Each passenger was charged Rs. 250 for the ride.
The State Government has lifted weekend curfew from Mysuru as COVID cases have declined and also following demand from hotel and hospitality sector to relax curbs.
KSTDC is hoping that more tourists will visit the city in the coming days. The body wrapping of Ambaari has been done based on the State’s art forms, culture and diversity, wildlife, and tourist destinations.
Need more publicity
N. Ramachandra of Mysuru, who went on the first trip along with family, shared his experience with Star of Mysore where he said, “We have come here to explore the beauty of Mysuru. More focus on tourism is needed as the tourism industry is affected hard. Riding on Ambaari gives the flavour of culture and heritage.”
“We had the minimum knowledge about the heritage buildings and their histories. The audio guide is informative. As passengers were less, this initiative needs more publicity. The ticket price is also affordable,” he added.
Sources from KSTDC said that the number of people visiting to experience the ride is increasing. As more tourists are expected in the afternoon, the number of trips will be increased accordingly. Overall, the first day was satisfying and we are expecting more tourists in the later days.
Those interested may visit the KSTDC Office on JLB Road. There is no advance booking or online booking facility. Tickets are available on-the-spot. For details, contact Ph: 0821-2423652.