What nature paints blue, tourists dab with dirt

What is it with us! As people we don’t seem to respect nature, culture, heritage and all things important to us. 

Published: 28th September 2021 06:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2021 06:09 AM   |  A+A-

Swathes of neelakuriinji flowers blanket the landscape at Kote Betta in Kodagu district

Express News Service

MADIKERI: What is it with us! As people we don’t seem to respect nature, culture, heritage and all things important to us. The hilly and scenic Kodagu recently had the rare neelakurinji blooming at Kote Betta in Garvale village, a lesser-known pilgrimage spot in the district.

No sooner than the news of flowering that occurs once in 12 years got out, the flood of tourists started. Within days, it was not the flowers that could be seen at the spot, but the litter of plastic covers and bottles, cigarette butts, beer cans and empty whiskey bottles.

The tourists did not even bother to remember that it was also a place of piety where people from seven villages in the area come to perform weekly pujas at the Eshwara temple on the hillock. Villagers said that some tourists have also consumed liquor on the premises of the temple, hurting their sentiments. 

The hill littered with plastic bottles, polythene bags and food wrappers

To put an end to the menace, the local temple committee erected a gate on the road leading to Kote Betta recently. They are collecting entry fees from tourists, while also cautioning them against the consumption of alcohol, smoking and littering. `100 is being charged for a four-wheeler and `50 for a two-wheeler. But this has given way to local politics, with some villagers arguing that the authority to collect the entry fee lies with the panchayat and not the temple committee. 

Another set of villagers oppose the premises being developed as a tourist spot.  On Monday, local MLA Appachu Ranjan, along with police and forest officials, held a meeting with the villagers, temple committee and panchayat members. 

‘Temple panel to maintain Kote Betta’

“A minor rift broke out between the temple committee and panchayat members. However, the temple committee will continue to maintain the place (Kote Betta) as they are paying the labourers who are cleaning the spot.

The MLA, Appachu Ranjan, as said another meeting along with Deputy Commissioner Charulata Somal will be held and the final decision will be taken then,” said Subash, a former panchayat member of Garvale.


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