Myosre Tongas, a trip down memory lane

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Mysore, Jul 27 (UNI) Many things synonymous with Mysore's lifestyle are fading into oblivion with changing times. And the Tonga is the latest addition to the list.

With this culturally-rich city of palaces becoming a favourite destination for travel and investment, changes are slowly making an impact on the lifestyle and tradtions handed down many generations and patronised by the benevolent rulers of the Wadiyar Dynasty are fast fading away.

Be it the famed 'Shah Pasand Tongas' or the ''Mysore Undeneshya'' (snuff), tradtional wrestling or various others intangible symbols of heritage, everything has come under pressure due to changes in habits and lifestyle.

The Mysore Tongas have given way to modern autorickshaws, marking the decline in the principal mode of transport of early days.

Mysore city, which once had over 1,000 Shah Pasand Tongas, now has less than 100 in good condition.

Popularised by then ruler Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, the Tongas were known for their exclusive design.

Now a days, Tongawallas rely on the tourists, espcially foreigners for their income. Many of them have converted their vehicles into goods one and tonga stands have become autorickshaw and bus stands.

An aged tongawalla, Mariyappa, at Sundakere in the city told UNI that he had been in the business for more than 40 years.

Earlier, he used to earn more than Rs 300 a day but now he is struggling for a mere Rs 30.

However, the district administration has been making efforts to help the survival of the tradtional transport by encouraging them during the world famous 'Dasara' festivities.

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