Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mandalpatti: A degrading paradise

Or, should I say, A lost paradise?

From a long time, I wanted to go with my friend to this place which I had visited last year and explore more flora. The place is full of orchids and a lot of other interesting flora. So we planned to go on a Sunday during the mid April. I had thought that because its summer time, not many people would visit the place. Later we discovered that I was completely wrong. It was full of people. It was discouraging to see so many people at the peak who had come there for sheer enjoyment. Some were ignorant about the environment and some others were helpless but to watch people spoiling the place. That there is a neat road all the way to the top of the peak, it is even more easier to reach the place. Last year they were widening the road and this year I saw it was completed and there were two other new roads that connected the main road to the peak. Earlier it was accessible only for jeeps and the 4X4s I guess; but now its easier for any vehicle to go to the top. 

Firstly I do not have any idea on why is there a need for the new roads? and secondly, why is government/forest department taking such destructive decisions? Just to collect 20 Rs per person at the forest check post on top of the peak, they create such facilities? I would say the cost of destruction to the habitat will be much more than the money they collect from tourism. Not just that, last year I had seen only one coffee/ tea shop on the way to the peak. It was actually a house but they were serving drinks and snacks. This year the number of small coffee houses/shops were 5. All of them were new and the old one had reformed itself to look like a neat restaurant. It was so disturbing to see them occupying the forest area and creating such facilities for tourists. Because of them, there will be so much litter; usage of plastic and tons of garbage at the peak. I'm sure that all of them are illegal shops and no one would've given permission for them. Or, a corrupt official would've given go ahead. Very soon, it will not be a surprise or a shock if we see a resort on the way to the peak!

We saw good number of orchids and a variety of flora and fauna. A wild hare jump-running was a beautiful sight for sure. The habitat around the peak was absolutely mind-blowing and those wilder patches of sholas were looking spectacular. I was recalling somebody saying that wherever 'tree ferns' are found, the habitat will be very rich. We saw some majestic tree ferns and some interesting trees at the peak. We did not stay for long at the peak because of too many people. 

Bulbophyllum fimbriatum 

Sholas at the peak

Viewing Kotebetta to the East

Tree Fern sp

Tree ferns 

Oberonia sp

Beautiful fern

We thought of going near the river at the base of the peak and explore the place. When we reached there we were discouraged again by seeing the number of people. The stream was full of people having fun taking bath and playing in it. This was not the case when I visited last year. There were no people even during the weekend. I was totally shocked to see the rate at which number of people are visiting this place. Without wasting any time, we left from the place. 
Gardenia sp?
Elaeocarpus sp
Mandalpatti is such a breathtakingly beautiful place in the Coorg region of the Western Ghats. But its getting degraded everyday. Habitat is getting destructed everyday because of the sheer ignorance and much greed. Its also a part of the region that is considered as one of the biodiversity hot-spots. There are so many endemic species of wild flora and fauna that makes this place a special one in the globe. But still, its getting a fatal treatment from the humans around. One hardly realizes that enjoying nature and protecting nature has to go hand in hand. Destructing a paradise at the cost of one's pleasure is a coward act. Very soon we will realize that we have lost it all. And that we are a subset of nature, we will perish sooner if we do not care for it.  

For more pictures visit my flickr page here.

An act of evil is the death of wonder ~ Joe Meno


Narasim said...

A road with five coffee shops says it all.

It is sad to see natural beauty spoiled by ecologically insensitive tourists. The desire for democratic access to all is always in a dynamic tension with the desire to keep nature pristine. There is a middle ground in this tension but rarely followed.

The photographs are very good. The one I liked most is the one titled Oberonia.

SuZ said...

They say a road leads to new places, but in this case the road is leading to destruction.

It's not very difficult for the forest authorities to instill some discipline on top of the peak and regulate the number of people who visit the place everyday.

Vineeta Yashswi said...

Its very sad that this beautiful place is spoiling now...pictures are beautiful and your write up is also interesting...

Aravind GJ said...

I went there during last weekend. What you have said is completely true.

Mainak said...

Was planning to go .. but now no more interested. Btw cool pics.. Keep it up!!

Sandeep Channappa said...

Hi wonderful observations made in this blog, but after visiting twice this place here are my comments too,
Firstly i would appreciate your concern for the nature getting spoiled because of commercialization(I'm a great nature lover). But it can also be done in a well disciplined manner, like giving permit to only one restaurant which is a direct government undertaken, and plastic and liquor can be strictly prohibited at the entrance itself.
Secondly i appreciate the governments effort in bringing up new road so that everyone can see this beauty, since in my first visit we were unable to reach the peak as we were not on 4x4 drive vehicle. On our 2nd visit we had to book a local Jeep, and also the roads were terrible horror, people don't mind paying 50Rs as entrance fee if it is really maintained properly.
you can see my pics of roads 1 year back.