Madikeri: A three-day Kodagu Pravasi Utsav, the first-ever tourism promotional event held after floods-and-landslide-ravaged Kodagu district, began at Madikeri last evening. Karnataka Tourism Department and Kodagu District Administration are jointly organising the event with support from various stakeholders to boost tourist arrivals.
Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh, who is also the Kodagu District Minister, inaugurated the Utsav and the Flower Show being held as part of the gala event at Raja’s Seat. He offered floral tributes to the floral replica of Goddess Cauvery Statue at Raja’s Seat. The Flower Show will end tomorrow and is open for visitors from 10 am to 8.30 pm.
A larger number of people visited the Raja’s Seat on Day One. A model of Cauvery Theerthodbhava at Brahmakundike along with a giant floral replica of Goddess Cauvery statue, a demonstration on vegetable and fruits cultivation and carving, models of elephant, peacock, guitar, using tomato, brinjal, and capsicum are the highlights at the flower show.
Models of elephant, deer, tiger, rabbit and octopus have been prepared using flowers and ornamental leaves. A model of a peacock made from vegetables is the highlight of the event. Models of Mickey Mouse, Spiderman and a race car are attracting children. Flowers like roses, salvia, chrysanthemum, jasmine, marigold, zinnia, rose and other flowers have been arranged neatly in pots.
Horticulture Department officials said the topiaries (practice of training perennial plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrubs to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, whether geometric or fanciful) brought for the festival will be permanently kept at the garden. Creepers will be grown on the topiaries and they will be maintained. Over 7,000 flowering plants have been displayed. Bonsai plants have also been placed and they will also be kept here permanently, officials said.
S.R. Mahesh asked his Department to come up with some tourism promotional events exclusively for Kodagu. Speaking after witnessing the flower show, the Minister said that the Pravasi Utsav will be organised next year too to attract tourists. “Kodagu is recovering from the natural calamity and the Pravasi Utsav has been organised to send out a message that the tourism sector is awaiting tourists,” he said.
“Tourism Department will give priority to promote tourism in Kodagu, and tourist centres will be revived for the purpose. The government has sanctioned Rs. 1 crore for the Utsav. Facilities at Abbe Falls have been damaged following landslides, and they will be repaired at a cost of Rs. 28 lakh,” officials added.
The hotel and resort owners are expecting a good turnout of tourists during the weekend. Tourism Department officials said over 1 lakh tourists are expected to visit Madikeri during the event which includes cultural programmes, a canine show, and an Open Street Festival.
While the canine show has been organised at Gandhi Maidan, which is also the venue for cultural programmes, Raja’s Seat Road will feature the Open Street Festival on Jan. 13 (tomorrow) from 8 am to 5.30 pm. The Open Street Festival will be organised from M.M. Circle (opposite Town Hall near DCC Bank) till Raja’s Seat. Traffic has been banned on this stretch from 8 am till 10 pm.