A tourist's paradise

Published : Feb 13, 2004 00:00 IST

Traditionally a tourist centre, Mysore keeps adding to its attractions.

MYSORE'S attraction for both the domestic and the international traveller is not only because of its palaces, museums, zoo, gardens and art galleries, but also because of its geographic location. It is also a convenient stopover before you drive off into Wayanad in Kerala or Udhagamandalam (Ooty) in Tamil Nadu, or Kodagu (Coorg) or Chikmagalur in Karnataka itself.

Among the city's newer attractions are the GRS Fantasy Park and the Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre (IVAC).

Located on the foothills of the Chamundi Hills on a 40-acre picturesque plot, IVAC should give the more established ayurvedic centres in Kerala a run for their money. Set up in 1999 by Dr. Talavane Krishna, M.D., it follows an integrated and pragmatic approach to a healthy life, with particular focus on ayurveda, in accordance with the concepts of this holistic medical system.

The centre at present has 24 rooms and there are no plans to increase the number.

Said Vinita Rashinkar, senior manager: "Ayurveda is a person-specific science, and at IVAC we have 107 staff members for a total of 24 guests. The usual industry average is one staff for two guests. We know every guest by name. If there are more rooms, the personal touch will go away. At IVAC there are no plastic smiles, the staff have to have a clean vibration. That is the secret of our success."

Frequented mostly by Europeans and Japanese, IVAC offers both a rejuvenative programme and curative therapies for those who suffer from chronic health problems such as obesity, neurological disorders, digestive problems, circulatory disorders and degenerative illnesses. The rejuvenative programme is designed to revitalise the body's tissues and central nervous system, improve circulation and remove accumulated stress and toxins from the mind and the body. While abhyanga and shirodhara are shorter therapies, panchakarma is more potent, consisting of five cleansing therapies that help remove deep-seated stress from the body while balancing the three doshas - vata, pitta and kapha. There are beauty therapies too.

Rashinkar justified the cost of treatment citing the example of the `moorchita tilatela' or medicated base massage oil (sesame oil with herbs) whose preparation takes as much as three days.

ONE of Mysore's most frequented tourist spots in recent years, attracting almost 400,000 visitors every year, is the Rs. 22-crore GRS Fantasy Park. Among the treats that await visitors are water chutes (where you are carried to a height of 30 metres and then allowed a free fall into a pond of water within three seconds), swing chair, wave pool (an artificially created seashore replete with waves), adventure cruises (where you slide cum glide, twist and turn at great speeds, with the water acting as a lubricant), pendulum slides (where you slide down a distance of 50 feet (15 metres) and transverse the height again) and the theme park's latest offering (the first of its kind in India), the dragon's den (where computer simulation and synchronising sound, light and movement take you to the depths of the Jurassic Age of predators and dragons).

Says Manjunath Nayak: "The name of the theme park business is constant innovation. That is the only way to get your customers back. We have been adding one new offering every year. We have also been using to effect the 18-metre natural gradient on our 32 acre site. Our next offering will be a giant 60-foot, theme-based waterfall."

Other attractions at the Park include a 1,000-seater amphitheatre which is used for corporate parties, dealer conferences and marriages. GRS Fantasy Park also boasts a filtration process that constantly monitors the Ph and free chlorine levels of the water, an effluents treatment plant and an effective rainwater harvesting system. Conscious of safety, the park has 15 trained lifeguards.

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