Mayor Sandesh Swamy, Corporators P Devaraj, Ayub Khan, Shankar, K V Mallesh and M J Ravikumar and superintending engineer, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) S E Suresh Babu went on a trial ride in a chariot on Thursday.
The civic body decided to introduce chariots under its heritage project to revive the history. It has been already decided to add 21 chariots and of them four have already arrived.
Suresh Babu told Deccan Herald, a chariot maker from Patiala emerged a successful bidder in e-procurement and has already supplied four chariots.
These chariots are more spacious than the existing tongas, and have a capacity to accommodate four persons in the central portion where the seats are fixed, while another can share space with tongawallah in the front seat. Tongas are convertible too, with a provision to remove the top portion.
Tongawallahs belonging to Mysore Maharaja Shahpasand Tonga Sangha of Agrahara pulled out the chariot from the cellar of the city corporation to facilitate the trial. A horse belonging to ‘kathewadi’ breed mostly used by tongawallahs in the city, was used for the trial too. Sources said, horses belonging to the same breed available in three colours will be purchased after Dasara from Bijapur district. The horses are available in the range of Rs one lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. In all 21 chariots will be introduced keeping in view the heritage tag of the city.
The main aim behind this initiative is to give tourists a feeling of the past, as chariots were largely in use during Maharaja’s time. Most importantly, chariots assumed different shape from the time of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar with closed body fitted with doors to the currently seen open tongas. To facilitate the tongawallahs eke out a living from the same, MCC is giving 50 per cent subsidy of the total amount. According to the authorities, the cost of a chariot including horse may be calculated up to Rs two to 2.5 lakh. Another reason attributed to vary in the cost is change in designs. Three designs have been finalised and chariots will be fitted on the same models.
MCC will be giving subsidy, while Vijaya Bank has come forward to extend loan for the remaining amount. Tongawallahs will have to repay the loan in installments.
At jamboo savari?
If all goes well, jamboo savari may see a new attraction in the form of chariots. The Mysore City Corporation (MCC) authorities are mulling over taking four chariots that have been already readied, in the procession on October 17.