Some religions still follow the old tradition of bringing the bride-groom to the wedding place seated on a horse, which is white in colour. With the months of April and May considered auspicious for weddings the demand for white horses in the city has gone up.
In all there are eight horses in Mysore and only the 'Katewada' breed white horse is preferred. The horse is bedecked with special dresses to suit the occasion. It being the tradition for the groom to ride atop only a white coloured horse, though other colour horses are available, they are not preferred.
The charges for renting such a white horse ranges from Rs 2500 to 3500 per hour, and sometime ever more depending on the distance of the wedding hall. Owners of white horses, mostly tongawallas, are happier as they can earn good money in this seasons for a few hours ride on the horse from families who don't want to break the tradition.
Anuradha who had come to book the horse says: "The nuptial ceremonies begins only after the groom arrives at the wedding hall seated on a white horse. Though the prices are hiked we are left with no other choice.”
Tongawalla Zameer says: “Sometimes marriages are held continuously on certain auspicious days. On these days our horses have no rest. We lend them to more than three or four functions and try to meet the demands with the existing eight horses.”
Tongawalla Babu says: “traditional families still follow the customs of their religion and we lend horses to them. We earn good money during this season, and moderate response during the rest of the year. Though we have been in the business of lending white horses since our fore-fathers, we don't want our children to continue doing the same.”
“The only time we have good business is during Dasara to carry tourists on horse-backs, other than the April to June wedding season. With no other option left we have to charge more during the season, to cover the costs of expensive feed given to the horses and also maintain our livelihood,” observed Babu.