Kathewadi horses for chariots in city

waiting: The kathewadi horses tethered at  the tonga stand in Agrahara in Mysore. dh photo

Finally, the ambitious project of Mysore City Corporation (MCC) to give tourists a feel of heritage on wheels, is all set to become a reality.

Four horses have arrived in the first batch, as a prelude to chariots getting to roll on the roads here shortly. They are priced between ` 75,000 and ` 80,000.

“The horses are of Kathewadi breed from Bijapur. They are now being taken care of at Shahpasand Maharaja Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar Tonga Stand at Agrahara Circle”, an officer preferring anonymity told Deccan Herald.

If all goes well, the chariots will be launched within a minimum of two-days or maximum a week, the officer added. Though the programme was conceived over a year ago, with MCC earmarking ` 50 lakh for the same, it was during the previous Dasara, the project got a push. Two chariots were brought ahead of ‘Naada habba’.

A reputed horse driven carriage maker from Patiala assembled the carts, which is also a convertible. A trial was also taken, with Mayor Sandesh Swamy taking the test ride. In the later days, six more chariots were added to the fleet, taking the total to eight. It has a seating capacity of six, excluding the chauffeur.

This particular breed of horses are humane in nature, when compared to the locally available breed, now used by the tongawallahs, said a tonga rider. The local horses are brought from Nagamangala in Mandya district.

The officer stated that 23 tongawallahs have enrolled for chariots.

They will be entitled to own the wheels in partnership. MCC sponsors 50 per cent of the total cost- including horses and chariots, while the remaining amount will be disbursed on loan. The civic body has tied up with a bank for the purpose. The tongawallahs will have to pay monthly installments.

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