While our country and the governments feel proud and constantly boasts about the growth in tourism industry, my recent experience on a one day tour to Mysuru made me feel totally disillusioned with these false and tall claims and pride.
The tour involved the visits to the Srirangapatna Temple, Tipu Sultan’s tomb and Summer Retreat, Mysuru Palace, Jagan Mohan Palace concluded with the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam and Brindavan Gardens with a ‘Musical Fountain Show.
Bengaluru and Mysuru are not the same which were probably a decade ago or so. Population and pollution are at their peak making every nook and corner warm. Further, surprisingly, none of the places are provided with tourist friendly infrastructure. In Tipu’s palace one has to tread at least 300meters by walk in the hot sun.
The worst experience was in Mysuru Palace. After the initial entry, the tourists are asked to walk without footwear. The several floors of the palace have steep, narrow and twisted staircases with uneven depths. This may not be a handicap for youngsters. But, for a senior citizens like me who is sure to have knee or body weight problem, claiming up and down these stairs are nothing but horror. It is accepted that the entire museum has to be covered by walk to appreciate the intricacies of the arts and architecture. But, at least to reach each level comfortably why not provide an elevator somewhere without creating much damage to the old construction or put it independently and connect it to the respective floor through an even walkway? The stairs are undoubtedly dangerous spots for even children because they can easily trip.
Next, it is the way to the Residential palace from the main palace. In the hot sun with scorching flooring, the tourists have to walk barefoot after paying additional entry fee of Rs. 20 per head. Is it in any way called promoting tourism?
In general, I find most of the public places in India are constructed without flat or even moving places. Providing steps of uneven depths in unexpected places are common feature. What sort of engineering intelligence is this?
The once charming Brindavan gardens now wear a pathetic look. The fountain show they have included after twilight is nothing but a poor exhibition with a still deplorable music. The day I visited many of us walked out within five minutes not only because of the uninspiring show but also because of the unruly mob’s screams and shouts.
The Bengaluru roads invariably chocks with traffic and traffic snarls are plenty and dreadful. True, there are three malls within a kilometre distance flanked by road side poor man eateries and shops led by pathetic roads with many potholes and uneven surfaces generating a lot of dust and fumes.
I came to the conclusion, tourism for the elderly and a physically challenged person is impossible in India. If one goes, it is on his/her own risk.
No doubt, India is a unique country in the whole globe. We think and work on a different plane. We always think of the poor and try to make everything available to everyone; the idea may be lofty; but, none care about the quality which suffers because of this.
At least, for me the wisdom had dawn. It is wise to stay in your own place and enjoy watching all these places in the virtual world quietly and safely in the internet at leisure instead of straining myself with long back breaking travels and innumerable practical problems like these.