Ooty flower show: E-passes, travel regulations in place; here's how to source the pass

Visitors peddling boats at the Ooty Lake. Photo: Special Arrangement

Nilgiris: Visitors to Ooty and Kodaikanal must source an e-pass before entering the checkpoints of Nilgiris and Dindigul districts, respectively, as mandated by the Chennai High Court in a recent verdict. The move is the sequel to the HC order to assess the impact on the roads and ecosystem and also to reduce the number of footfalls to the regions which have been struggling to cater to the excessive number of tourists. Moreover, the summer flower festival, the mega tourism event of Nilgiris, is all set to start at Ooty on May 10 (Friday). The Tamil Nadu government has launched a portal exclusively for availing of e-passes for visitors' vehicles. The e-pass can be sourced from this website. The QR code also has been widely circulated. There is no extra fee for availing e-pass as tourists have to pay an entry pass which is already in place for entering the Nilgiris district.

Dip in the number of tourists at Ooty
However, the major tourism spots at Ooty, including the botanical garden and boat house, witnessed a sharp fall in the number of tourists last week. Tour operators attribute the sudden dip to the new travel restrictions imposed from May 1, aimed to reduce the traffic jams in the town. Only light and medium vehicles are allowed entry into the city. The inefficiency of the alternate services by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Buses also contributed to the chaos. Vehicles heading for Ooty from Mettupalayam are allowed only through Coonoor Road whereas vehicles returning from Ooty towards Mettupalayam are allowed only through Kotagiri Road. Apart from cars, all medium and large vehicles, including tempo travellers, mini-buses and large buses are banned entry into the town between 6 am and 8 pm. Medium and large vehicles from the Gudalur side could be parked at HPF Road and Golf Club Road at Finger Post and on Coonoor Road near the Aavin Milk Dairy. From there the tourists have to depend on Tamil Nadu Government Transport Corporation buses operating linking tourism destinations and the parking point or hire taxis.

Preparations in full swing
The preparations for the flower festival have entered the final lap at the Government Botanical Garden (GBG) at Ooty. Spread over 54 acres, the garden was established in 1847 by the colonial rulers when Ooty was their endearing getaway spot. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin had sanctioned an amount of Rs 3 crore for improving the facilities and smooth conduct of the festival. In the last two months, 5.1 lakh (1.73 lakh in March and 3.37 lakh in April) people visited the GBG, earning the state a revenue of Rs 2.48 crore, according to a press statement. To book flower show tickets, visit the horticulture department's website. You can also book the tickets at the venue in person. 

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