By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
I had resigned myself to witness the repetition of the same old Dasara procession this year too as the State Government had appointed the same old Committees and the same themes were being discussed with some cosmetic changes. But surprise, surprise, our Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh has sprung a pleasant surprise by inviting the Prince of Mysore Royal Family to be the “Brand Ambassador” of Mysuru!
Through my articles I have been giving many suggestions for improvement of Dasara procession and Mysuru city, which were royally ignored by the powers that be. But I am glad that at least the Minister, who has a deep interest of Mysuru’s heritage in his heart, has done the needful by inviting the Prince to be a part of the heritage and work as the Brand Ambassador for this heritage city.
I do really hope that the Prince accepts this offer. In case he does accept I have the following suggestion which will enhance the value of the procession multifold. As a Brand Ambassador he should also be a part of Dasara procession. He should sit in his full royal regalia in a silver chariot, after the elephant carrying the Golden Howdah.
I do not recall any procession in the world where a real royalty participates. This unique procession should be marketed in such a way that next year hundreds of high paying guests will throng this city. This year it is too late but for the next year, two hundred Policemen [reserve] should accompany the Jumboo Savari in a traditional Palace uniform as depicted in the paintings in the Palace with spears and swords. Imagine the impact !
The Prince also has a Private Durbar during Dasara, which can be actively marketed by the Department of Tourism. The tickets’ collection can be distributed with the royalty and the Department as per mutual agreement. I have been crying hoarse for several months that it is time we get high paying individuals back to this heritage city and this is the only way.
Ministers, most of the times, get brickbats but if someone does something really worthwhile like what Mahesh has done, we should be prompt to give him appreciation too. If Mysuru tourism has to revive, royalty has to be roped in and Sir, you have taken the first step.
This tie-up will benefit the royalty too in the long run, in case the Prince decides to jump into political bandwagon sometime in near future! The relationship between the royalty and the State is improving and the first signs are the revival of the Jagan Mohan Palace Art Gallery and the Gun House Restaurant.
Let us hope the Rajendra Vilas Palace Hotel atop Chamundi Hill too gets restored and opens for the public. Royalty sells.
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