Tourist spots in and around Covid-hit Mysuru in Karnataka would remain shut from October 17 to November 1 to restrict entry of visitors to the city during the Dasara fest to contain the virus spread, an official said.
"Mysuru deputy commissioner Rohini Sindhuri has ordered closure of all tourist spots in and around the city for 15 days from October 17 when the 10-day Dasara fest begins under Covid-induced restrictions to dissuade tourists from thronging the city of palaces," a district official told IANS here on Thursday.
With Mysuru being the second worst-affected after Bengaluru in the state by the pandemic, the world-famous Dasara fest, including the victory parade to mark the triumph of good over evil on Vijayadashmi day (October 26) will be confined to the Amba Vilas royal palace in the city centre to avoid crowds.
"Entry of visitors to the palace of the Wodeyar dynasty will also be restricted during the ban period as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to prevent large gatherings in public places," said the official.
Places to shut during this phase in Mysuru
Some of the prominent tourist spots in the city are the royal palaces, Jayachamarajendra art gallery, Mysuru zoo and Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill on the outskirts.
Brindavan Gardens, Nimishambha and Sri Ranganathaswamy temples, Tipu Palace, Kokkarebellur and Rangantittu bird sanctuaries in adjacent Mandya will also be out of bounds for visitors amid the virus scare.
Around 10 lakh people from across the country and the world over visit Mysuru during the Dasara and Diwali festivals every year to witness the caparisoned elephants procession from the royal palace to Bannimantap grounds across the city for the torch light parade as the grand finale of the 10-day fete.
"Even the people in the city have been advised to celebrate the fest at home and watch the Dasara religious and cultural programmes on television, as they will be telecast live from the palace grounds. About 300 people only will be allowed to witness the events at the venue (Amba Vilas palace)," said the official.
The grand fest (nada habba) will begin on Saturday at the Chamundeshwari temple atop the hill with its formal inauguration by the Bengaluru-based state-run Jayadeva heart hospital director C.N. Manjunath in the presence of the Wodeyar family and the invited dignitaries.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will review the Covid situation in the city on Friday and attend the Dasara fest inauguration on Saturday morning. Wearing of mask, thermal screening, hand washing and physical distancing will be mandatory for all at the venues where the fest events take place.