Mysore, Oct 23 (UNI) World famous Mysore Dasara Festivities this year saw a huge surge in the number of tourists to the City of Palaces during 10-day grand event that ended on October 21.
As against 22 lakhs visitors last year, this year the number was more than 25 lakhs and there was a record increase in ticket collections at important tourist spots, including the famous Mysore Palace, century old Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens and pilgrimage centre Chamundi Hills.
However, there could have been a further increase had it not been for the 300 per cent increase in vehicle entry tax, for vehicles from outside the state, imposed by the State Government tourist operators felt.
The Entry Tax for a 50 seater bus had been increased from Rs 5,900 to Rs 16,500, forcing tourists from Kerala and Tamil Nadu to opt for other tourist destinations.
The Palace Board sources told UNI that nearly 1.4 lakh people visited Mysore Palace, which had already attained the status of most popular tourist spot in the country just behind the Taj Mahal. The total collection from the entry tickets was Rs 22.16 lakhs as against Rs 19.9 lakh collected last year with the visit of 1.3 lakh visitors.
More than 3.5 lakh pilgrims visited Chamundi Hills to offer pooja to Chamundeswari, the principal deity of the Mysore city.
Mysore Zoo attracted 1.58 lakh animal lovers and the collection during the 10 day festivities was Rs 39.18 lakhs. Last year about 1.04 lakh people had visited and the earning was Rs 25.19 lakhs. The Zoo authorities also felt that the number of visitors would have been more if there was no increase in entry tax for tourist vehicles.