Home stays dwindle

Concept

For a city that is known for its tradition, culture, heritage, food and all nicety surrounding treatment of its guests, it is quite surprising that the ‘paying guest’ concept was swept under the rug since last two years. This has snapped the most important link between visitors/tourists who want to experience the city in its complete context, and locals who had just begun to open doors to strangers from faraway lands, thus forming strong bonds.

 This happened especially around Dasara when tourists from across the globe descended upon Mysore to watch the festivities and also get a taste of local culture and cuisine. Paying guest accomodations helped tourists find a decent place to live, in case of hotels and resorts being full in the season. 

The concept of ‘atithi devo bhava’ for paying guest accommodation, which is prevailing in other parts of the country, was picked by locals who had enough and more living space in their sprawling farms on the outskirts of the city, or even traditional homes within the confines of the central area. In the recent years, the concept gained strength and was encouraged by the government which took interest and issued permission to people who were enthusiastic about hosting guests in their residences.

 Department of Tourism was entrusted with the responsibility of inviting applications from landlords, checking the quality of food being provided, the facilities being offered to the guests etc. Permission was issued and guests were being directed to such homes by the department’s website.

 However, with the current government, ‘atithi devo bhava’ seems to have remained a mere slogan with just a handful of such accomodations being approved to host the guests. Mariamma Jose, who had rented out a portion of her house in the past, is left with no takers since last two years. “I am not adept with technology and can’t sell the space  like others do. But, looks like I missed the bus,” she says. Appanna and Latha, who had made some modifications to their huge house to host their paying guests, are a disappointed lot since the interest of the government waned in the last few years. “We are struggling hard to meet the expenses that we incurred while making the house apt to host guests. We were banking on Dasara season big time, to have some tourists and make up for some part of the cost. But, that was not to be,” says Latha.

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