Hanging Bridges of Kodagu: Reality Check – 1
Kushalnagar: The tourist spot of Dubare in Kodagu district, famed for its elephant camp and a wide and turbulent River Cauvery, will soon get a hanging bridge. The suspension bridge will be 110 metres in length and will have a width of 1.8 metres.
The proposal has been submitted by the Kodagu Tourism Department to the Forest Department and is awaiting approval from the Governing Body of the Forest Department. Thousands of tourists visit Dubare every year and a long hanging bridge that connects one side of the river to the other will be an added attraction.
River Cauvery flows in full force here and the two sides can only be accessed by motorised boats at present. While one side of the river bank is controlled by the Tourism Department, the other by Forest Department that runs an elephant camp there, popular as Dubare Elephant Camp where tourists can get a close-quarter glimpse of forest life of mahouts and kavadis along with the elephants. Wild elephants are also captured and tamed in the elephant camp.
The proposed hanging bridge will have three columns — two at the sides and one in the middle — as it is 1.8 metres wide. Other hanging bridges usually have only two columns.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Assistant Director of Kodagu Tourism Department Raghavendra said that the hanging bridge will enhance the beauty of the place and attract more tourists.
“At present, people have to use motorised boats to cross from one side to another and at times it is risky as accidents do occur due to the turbulent river. Also, there is a long line of tourists for boating tickets every day. With the hanging bridge, tourists can smoothly transit from one side to the other,” he said.
The Tourism Department first sent a proposal of hanging bridge in 2015-2016 and the estimated cost was Rs. 2.35 crore. The estimate has now been revised to Rs. 4 crore. “The money will be sanctioned by us while the work will have to be undertaken and supervised by the Forest Department. We hope that the Governing Body of the Forest Department will accord speedy permission,” he said and added that the Tourism Department has already earmarked Rs. 1 crore for the project.
Apart from facilitating tourists to cross over from one side to other, the hanging bridge will be of great help to over 30 families of mahouts and kavadis and their children who go to school and also for medical help. At present, they have to either depend on boats or take a roundabout route after crossing the river at a particular point where the water currents are low.
For children, even the low tide is risky and they solely depend on boats before and after school hours. The hanging bridge will be a boon to them and it will also eliminate pollution including oil leaks caused by motorised boats.