With visitors to parks and gardens in the Nilgiris complaining of over crowding, the scenic Kattery Park near Coonoor has emerged as a popular alternative for visitors over the last two years.
Officials said that the park, which used to receive less than 40,000 visitors each year till a few years ago, has seen visitor numbers increase, with around 70,000 people visiting each year over the last two years since 2017.
The primary reasons for the increase in visitor numbers has been put down to a number of factors, including better promotion of the location as a tourist spot by the horticulture department, and people stopping at the park due to the spectacular views on offer of the surrounding forests.
However, tourists visiting the park also said that over crowding at other parks and gardens in Udhagamandalam and Coonoor, especially the Government Botanical Garden and the Sims Park in Coonoor, had led them to seek out more remote, less crowded tourist spots to visit.
V. Sashi Karan, a 37-year-old IT professional from Bengaluru, on a visit to the Nilgiris, said that as the Sims Park in Coonoor is often crowded during the weekends, he felt it was much more pleasant to visit less popular places. “During the weekends, almost all the major parks and attractions are full of people, and long waiting queues are common. The Kattery Park is not only easily accessible from Coonoor, but also offers spectacular views of pristine forests, which no other park in the Nilgiris can offer,” he said.
Speaking to The Hindu, S. Suresh, the horticulture officer/ farm manager of Kattery Park, said that there had only been a marginal increase of tourists in 2018 when compared with previous years. “We received many tourists last year due to poor rainfall and high temperatures in the plains, with people flocking to the hills to escape the heat, while this year, there was a drop in visitors due to the floods in Kerala and also the elections in Karnataka,” said Mr. Suresh, adding that visitor number are expected to exceed 75,000 by the end of the year.