Tongas of Mysore

Once the city’s chief mode of transport, the Mysore tonga (horse carriage) now gets to be noticed only during Dasara. It was spotted on the streets, at least for a week or two, all thanks to tourists who preferred to hire one to enjoy the sounds and sights of Mysore. The Shah Pasand Mysore Tongas are said to have a history of 900 years. Heritage lovers in Mysore have been demanding that the heritage tag be given to the tonga. Not long ago, tongas could be seen in hundreds on Mysore roads.

Now the city has less than a 100 tongas. Except the Mysore Maharaja Tonga Stand at N Mahdhavarao Circle, there is no other tonga stand in the  city. The Mysore City Corporation is known to have  made a budgetary provision last year for building 20 tonga stands in the city.

S V Upendra Charya

Miniature elephant

A miniature elephant carved out of a single stone. You may have missed it on your visit to the Mysore palace. You can spot it on one of the pillars in the kalyana mantapa (marriage hall). The interesting aspect is that the elephant has been carved inside an exuberantly carved and decorated mythical bird Gandaberunda, “an art within art” worth seeing.

N C Prakash Nayakanda

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