Sunday, January 23, 2005

Bangaloreans show their accommodating spirit

Bangaloreans show their accommodating spirit

The Hindu

BANGALORE, JAN. 22. The Benny Hinn "Festival of Blessings" has served as an occasion to build the spirit of brotherhood and friendship. The Christian community in Bangalore, irrespective of their religious denomination, and in certain pockets even Hindus have risen as one to host people who have arrived from various parts of the country and abroad to attend the festival.

Most of the lower and reasonable tariff hotels (Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,000 a day) are packed. For the first time in recent years they have put up boards indicating there is no accommodation.

Unprecedented rush

A spokesman for the Bangalore Hotelier's Association told The Hindu that an unprecedented rush to these hotels resulted in most of them being full. There are about 125 hotels in and around the Kempegowda Road, popularly known as the Majestic area. Many of the guests were even ready to sleep in the corridors, but the hotels just could not provide them "sleeping space" since it would disturb the other guests. Going by the reservations at the five-star hotels, all of them are stated to be packed to capacity.

Floating population

As per reports, the floating population in Bangalore this weekend was unprecedented and, as per an estimate, was well over 10 lakhs. The capacity of the hotels and lodges including the star hotels and the resorts on the outskirts of the city was no match to the floating population. This has resulted in people sleeping in bus stands and railway stations. It was said that some of those who attended the prayer meeting at Jakkur on Friday stayed put at the venue despite the cold.

Several families residing in the eastern parts of Bangalore have been playing host for a large number of people who have arrived from various parts of the country and abroad. Most of them fall in the middle class and even the lower income bracket. The Bonnmann enclave on the Hennur Road comprising about 40 protestant families has been playing host to nearly 200 visitors for three days now.

The Benny Hinn meeting has drawn people from far away places such as Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Mizoram, Myanmar, Nagaland and even from parts of Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The organisers have booked some marriage halls in Banaswadi, Hennur Road , Krishnarajapuram and Hebbal. All these halls are stated to be packed to capacity.

Churches kept open

Yet another feature of the accommodation for the visitors is that the local churches, particularly the protestant churches, have been kept open for people to sleep. Food in the churches is being served from community kitchens set up by the prayer meet organisers and some well-wishers.


There are very few economy hotels in the Bangalore Cantonment comprising Frazer Town, Cox Town, Banaswadi, R.T. Nagar and adjoining areas. Most of these areas however a high population of Christians and they were playing host. It is said that the organisers commenced preparations for over six months and had selected the Christian houses where the guests could stay. What has resulted in a certain amount of anxiety and confusion is the rush of people who landed in Bangalore without fixing an accommodation or those who could neither afford to stay in hotels nor had relatives or friends here.

By all accounts, there is going to be a bigger problem at the conclusion of the prayer meeting on Sunday. A mad rush at the railway and the bus stations is likely. Neither the railways nor the Government bus corporations have announced any special services to meet the rush.


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