Mysuru: Long weekend, Christmas Holidays leading up to the New Year and the 10-day extravagant Mysuru Winter Festival are bringing tourists to Mysuru in droves. So much so that the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway is choked since yesterday afternoon with a maximum number of vehicles on the Mysuru side and with a handful of vehicles towards Bengaluru.
The start of the long weekend yesterday morning did not go as planned for thousands of tourists as traffic jams were witnessed on all the roads leading to Mysuru. Many tourists who had started to Mysuru, Ooty and Kodagu early in the morning to escape the traffic were not spared as they could reach Mysuru only in the afternoon due to traffic snarls all the way from Kengeri, Ramanagaram, Channapatna and Mandya. Normally it takes about two hours for a car to reach Mysuru from Bengaluru while yesterday it took more than five to seven hours.
It was a literal bumper-to-bumper traffic as tourists crossed Mandya and neared Srirangapatna, Siddalingapura and the Columbia Asia Hospital Junction, slowing down the traffic moment and delaying travel by hours. Besides private vehicles, extra buses run by both private and State-owned travel operators led to further jams. Apart from the Mysuru-Bengaluru Highway, roads leading to Chamundi Hill, Krishna Raja Sagar, Nanjangud Road, Hunsur Road and H.D. Kote Road were also jammed last evening.
All the 6,000 hotel rooms available in Mysuru have been booked and resorts, home-stays and youth hostels have reported full occupancy. Yesterday, Mysore Palace recorded 26,500 visitors who visited the Palace inside. The number of people who visited it from outside and the number of people who thronged the Flower Show would easily have touched 40,000. This data is not available as there was Christno entry fee.
Over 8,000 visitors had visited the Palace inside till 11 am today and the numbers might touch 30,000 by evening. There will be more crowds to see the illuminated Palace and the Flower Show in the evenings, Palace Board officials said.
Visitors thronged the Dasara Exhibition Grounds too and the venue recorded over 20,000 footfalls. Today (Dec.24) was supposed to be the last day for the Dasara Exhibition but the authorities have now extended the date to Dec.29. Mysuru Zoo recorded a footfall of 14,139 yesterday and today, till 11 am, it recorded a footfall of 10,674.
There has been a steady rise in the tourists since the last three days and it will rise further in the coming days in the run up to the New Year. Tour operators told Star of Mysore that many tourists are using Mysuru as a transit point to head to destinations like Ooty, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru. A negative effect of the tourist flow to Mysuru is that there is no place to park. Designated parking spaces are full and many tourists complained that they could not spend more time visiting tourist attractions due to lack of parking.
“The tourists who are seen yesterday are not seen today as they would have left Mysuru for other destinations. However, hotel rooms are booked to the maximum and almost all the food outlets are reporting full business,” a tour operator said.
The City Police have made elaborate arrangements for security. Special units like Chamundi Force, Garuda, interceptors, mobile video squad, Policemen wearing body-cameras and Special Branch Constables are on duty. Areas that are usually crowded are under close watch by Policemen in mufti. They are keeping an eye on pickpockets at the Palace, Mysuru Zoo and the Chamundi Hill.