Mysuru: The Heritage City and the City of Palaces is bracing up for the first-ever Mysuru Winter Festival (MWF) that will unfold this evening with a host of attractions, compelling tourists to be and spend time in Mysuru.
The 10-day festival is being organised on the lines of Dasara with attractions including Flower Show on the Mysore Palace premises, Open Street Festival on D. Devaraj Urs Road, movie screening at Maharaja’s College Grounds, heritage cycle rides, fireworks at Palace and a food mela at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry.
The festival that will conclude on Jan. 1 is being organised by the District Administration, Tourism Department and the Mysore Palace Board, Hotel Owners Association, Bakery Owners and Travel Associations.
The main attraction of the festival is the Palace Flower Show that will be inaugurated by District In-Charge Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa and a host of dignitaries at 5 pm today on the sprawling Mysore Palace premises.
When Star of Mysore visited the Palace this morning, hectic preparations were on for the grand event which is being held for the fourth time. The flower show will be open from 10 am to 9 pm. While the entry fee for the Flower Show has been fixed at Rs. 10 for adults, Rs. 5 has to be paid for the entry of children.
It will be a spectacular sight for visitors as they enter the Palace after 7 pm where the majestic structure will be illuminated till 9 pm along with the Shwetha Varahaswamy Temple premises where the Flower Show has been organised.
A vertical garden on the wall of the temple, model of a Palace, throne, ‘Ane Gaadi carrying musicians decorated with colourful flowers are the major attractions. Fireworks will be displayed in front of the illuminated Palace on December 31 to welcome the New Year. In addition, attractions for children include flower replicas of the old Palace, king cobra, tortoise, star fish, octopus, Hanuman, Chota Bheem, Chota Krishna and Sukhoi aircraft.
ORIGINS OF WINTER FESTIVAL: What began as a small cake festival has now taken the shape of Mysuru Winter Festival. The District Administration and Food and Civil Supplies Department had initiated a Cake Festival in 2013 and that graduated into “December to Remember” in 2014 and it was a grand success. The festival was not organised in 2015 as Karnataka was reeling under severe drought. In 2016, the festival was limited to Cake Festival and the Palace Flower Show.
Thanks to the aggressive social media campaigns initiated by the organisers for the Winter Festival, the Tourism Department and tour operators are likely to make it big with a promising year-end tourist season. The festival is a complete family get-together and the stakeholders in the tourism industry are keeping their hopes high on it, attracting year-end holidaymakers.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep said that the festival aims to retain tourists in Mysuru till New Year. “Usually, Mysuru gets a lot of tourists in December and after they visit the Palace and other attractions, they leave to places like Goa, Ooty and Kodagu. This year, through the Winter Festival, we are planning to retain tourists till the New Year,” he said.
FOOD FESTIVAL: What will pull maximum crowd at the Winter Festival is the three-day Food Mela that will be organised at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry from Dec. 27.
The festival will focus on tribal food and will have all the dishes that are usually prepared by the tribals during this season, said K. Rameshwarappa, Senior Deputy Director, Food and Civil Supplies Department.
“Edible roots from forests, vegetarian Bamboo Biriyani, dishes made out of avarekai, snake beans (alasande), jowar rotti, ragi rotti, tea made out of Makali roots, bamboo rice dishes, bamboo rice payasam and sweet dishes prepared out of forest produce will be available to tickle the taste buds,” he added.