Aahara Mela remains Star Attraction with people enjoying every morsel
Mysuru: Despite the common grouse of tourism stakeholders that apart from Dasara procession and a few tourist attractions in and around Mysuru there is no permanent place in city compelling tourists to stay back, year-on-year, Dasara Exhibition, another main attraction during Dasara fails to open on time.
The annual show, held at Doddakere Maidan, is a place for artisans drawn from across India to display and sell their exquisite products. It is also a place to exhibit Government schemes and programmes to make people socially aware.
This year, only 17 Government stalls have been opened during Dasara and other stalls are slowly catching up. Of course, they are following snail’s pace. Though the Karnataka Exhibition Authority (KEA) has spruced up the exhibition campus with necessary infrastructure, vendors and Government Departments are yet to set up stalls. There are a total of 113 stalls and some of the private vendors have occupied them to display their artistic wares.
Though the KEA claims every year that they have done enough groundwork to invite Departments and vendors to open their stalls during Dasara, there are hardly any vendors to set up stalls during the festival.
Earlier, Dasara Exhibition would be actually ready when the Dasara celebrations began. Over the years, this practice stopped and now it is always after the Dasara commences that the exhibition opens.
Some of the stalls that are welcoming tourists this year are Postal Department, Information and Publicity Department, Kannada and Culture Department, District Industries Centre, Tourism Department, Department of Prisons, Department of Archaeology and Museums and Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited, etc.
This year, 44 stalls have been allotted to Government Departments and only a few of them have shown interest in setting up stalls with information about their schemes. The overall exhibition contract went for Rs.8.25 crore and the KEA had kept Rs.7.25 crore as basic bidding amount. Bengaluru-based Fun World Group bagged the tender.
Apart from the stalls, there is an exclusive amusement park and food courts. Whoever is coming to the exhibition are entertaining themselves in the amusement park and are also tasting the food available at many food-cum-snack outlets.
Interestingly, though many stalls are yet to be set up, tourists are thronging the exhibition. The visitor footfall to the Doddakere Maidan has increased over the last 10 days and till now over 2 lakh people have visited the venue.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, KEA CEO B.R. Girish said that the KEA has written to all Government Departments, Boards and Corporations and Zilla Panchayats to participate in this year’s exhibition.
“Despite this, there is a delay because Departments have to call for tenders to set up stalls. All the stalls will be open soon and we are hopeful that the exhibition will be a tourist attraction,” he said.
Aahara Mela to conclude this evening
Dasara Aahara Mela, one of the most popular events after the procession and the Exhibition, continues to attract people. Yesterday, the penultimate day of the Mela witnessed many footfalls from hungry men and women who wanted to eat their favourite food at the Scouts and Guides Grounds near the Crawford Hall.
People crowded both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian counters and were seen enjoying every bite or morsel.
The tribal food section that offered rare products from wooded areas too attracted youths who wanted to taste tribal food cooked in bamboo, firewood and smoke.