Wednesday 15 May 2013

Rivalling the Taj

It is among the most famous monuments of India. It rivals the Taj Mahal of Agra in drawing visitors and along with the Mughal monument, it is also the most visited monument in India.
For some years, this monument beat the Taj Mahal in drawing the number of visitors. Now, it gives the Taj close competition in drawing visitors and it is also on the list of  must see monuments of the world.
Even the venerable “The New York Times” recently listed it as one of the 31 must-see places on Earth for two years in a row.
This is the magnificent main palace of Mysore which houses some of the most stunning exhibits of the world, including the stupendous Golden throne (this is exhibited only during the Dassara), the Golden Howdah, the armoury (This again is not open to the public) and a variety of artifacts that boggles the mind.     
Year after year, the Mysore palace has been thronging the palace and neither natural calamities nor any other disaster or manmade obstacle has lessened its charm.
The palace in 2012-13 drew an incredible 3 million visitors, just a fraction less than the Taj Mahal. Though there has been a slight decline in number of tourists visiting the palace, the annual footfall in 2012-13 was 30,00,452 as against 35,20,112 in 2011-12. According to the statistics provided by the Mysore Palace Board, 90,000 foreign tourists visited the palace in 2011-12 (from April to April) and it has reduced to 80,835 in 2012-13.
The Palace Board ascribes the dip in visitors to lack of air connectivity and also to the Cauvery agitation. However, the statistics show that tourist inflow keeps varying every month but it is at the peak during Dassara and vacations.
The main entrance to the palace is through the tall and imposing East Gate. Tourists enter the palace from this point. Gujaratis form the bulk of the domestic visitors while Europeans – especially the French, Germans and Britons – form the bulk of the foreign visitors. For the foreign visitors, Mysore apart from Srirangapatna form a part of their tour.
The tourist inflow to Mysore has been on the rise since 2009 and the first decrease in the numbers was registered in 2012-13.
In 2006, the Archaeological Survey of India records indicate that  25,25,687 people visited the palace as against 25,39,471 tourists visiting the Taj Mahal.
Although the Taj Mahal noses ahead of Mysore palace in terms of number of tourists visiting them, the actual number of tourists visiting the palace could be higher than the official figures collected from the ticketing counters. There are thousands of people who prefer to view the palace and savour its beauty from  
the vast open grounds and the courtyard inside the fort. There is no entrance fee for this and these numbers are not counted.
The official figure on the number of tourists takes into account only those who buy a ticket to gain entry inside the Durbar Hall and the Kalyana Mantapa. Thus if the combined figures of the ticketed tourists and those who enter the main gate but not the Durbar Hall were counted, the number of tourists visiting the Palace would far outnumber those visiting the Taj Mahal.
It was only from the beginning of this century that there had been an increase in the number of tourists coming to Mysore and visiting the palace. The upward trend can be gauged by the comparative figures for previous years. While 18,04,488 tourists visited the palace in 1999, the numbers have been steadily increasing since 2000 except for 2002 when it plummeted to 14,19,466. This was when Mysore and surrounding areas were hit by a severe drought. But since 2003, the figures increased from 16.45 lakh to 18.31 lakh in 2004 and 20.62 lakh in 2005.
The number of visitors to other monuments in India as per the records of the Union Ministry of Tourism and Culture are: Qutub Minar (21.95 lakh), Red Fort in Delhi (21.01lakh), Agra Fort (12.74 lakh) and Fatehpur Sikri (3.92 lakh).

No comments:

Post a Comment