Mysuru: Covid scare did not deter the spirit of devotees to famous Chamundeswari temple atop Chamundi hills in Mysuru or even at Srikanteswara temple at Nanjangud which was a major Corona hotspot, or visitors to major tourism destinations of Mysuru including Mysuru Palace or Mysuru Zoo which were all opened on Monday after nearly three months.
By 1pm, there were over 1000 devotees at Chamundeswari temple in Mysuru, and over 1500 devotees at Srikanteswara temple at Nanjangud. And people were still seen queuing up, at the boxes drawn to maintain social distancing at both temples.
They were allowed inside the temple and all tourism destinations, only after thermal screening, hand sanitizing and only if they had masks at both temples. And according to chief priest of Chamundeswari temple Mr Shashishekar Dixit, they are yet to start “sevas” to offer “Harikes” to Goddess including Abhisheka or offering saree. And the temple will be open from 7.30am to 1pm, and 3pm to 5.30pm.
And they only offered managalarathi, and no prasada, theertha or kunkum was given to devotees, he said. At Nanjangud too, the visiting hours is restricted to 7am to 1pm, and 4pm to 7pm, and no darshan on week ends and general holidays.
But at Mysuru, while 30 percent of people depend on tourism, only 50 percent of hotels opened on Monday. And though 60 percent of resorts around Bandipur forests, 40 percent of resorts around Kabini reservoir in Nagarahole forest belt, 30 percent of hotels, home stays and resorts in Kodagu and Chikmagalore, opened there were hardly any takers or inquiries.
Hoteliers in Mysuru are expecting loss of 35 percent and resort owners are expecting 70 to 80 percent loss until situation resumes to normalcy.
At Kodagu while 1 lakh people out of 5.5 lakh population depend on tourism, stakeholders at Kodagu expect a loss of turn over of Rs 4 Crore per day until situation resumes to normalcy.
Mysuru suffered a loss of Rs 10 Crore per day and and Kodagu lost turn over of Rs 5 Crore per day during the lockdown.
At Kodagu, out of 4000 home stays, only 600 which are registered were permitted to open. Tourism destinations at Kodagu will be open only from July.
After the shut down of Southern Star hotel, yet another star hotel Atrium is kept on sale. And over 20 hotels in Mysuru including Vishnubhavan in Kuvempunagar, Roost, Rajbhavan, Madhva Anima bhavan on Kalidasa road, Hemanthu mess in Bamboo bazaar, three lodges including Royal lodge, Shreyas lodge, Priyadarshini lodge have decided to close.
65 percent of the hotels are in rented buildings. While, railways have reduced the rent of their hotels, others should follow the same example, Mysuru hotel owners association, President Mr C Narayangowda said.
At resorts in Kodagu 70 percent of the employees are North Indians who have gone back now. 60 percent of the hotels and lodges are in rented buildings. With no permission to open tourism destinations in Kodagu till July, and with no permission for bar, it is difficult to get people.
Government should have supported with part of salary or reducing cost of fixed charges including property tax and trade licence, but with no support it has been difficult to survive according to Mr Nagendra Prasad B R, President, Kodagu district hotel, resorts and restaurants association.
“With travel restrictions for foreign and inter State tourists, we are expecting only local domestic tourists from the State. 90 percent of our employees are from local villages and we buy the local produce.
Even though we expect minimal occupancy, we have opened for our survival, and to boost some confidence among our employees.
In Uttarkhand authorities there have announced a package of Rs 75 Crore for tourism stake holders, but here we have not received any direct benefit. So if we do not get support from Government, we are forced to down size the number of employees,” said Mr Rohan Mishra, secretary of Karnataka eco tourism resorts association.
“With social distancing they cannot accommodate enough people for safari too. Also people start flowing in only when they feel safe and secured and also many people have lost jobs and are in crisis. So we are unlikely to get even good number of even local domestic tourists for next six months,” a resort stakeholder at Bandipur said....