With all roads in this hill station leading to the Government Botanical Garden where the famed band of the Madras Regimental Centre presented numbers which catered to the taste of the young and the aged, the curtain went up on the three-day 114th Annual Floral Carnival on Friday. The venue wore a picture postcard look.

By way of showcasing the recent achievements of the Government and reminding the people that the World Classical Tamil Conference at neighbouring Coimbatore is round the corner, the organisers had put up a huge replica of the new Secretariat made of carnations and a tastefully decorated lookalike of the conference logo which featured a statue of saint-poet Thiruvalluvar.

While they were the cynosure of all eyes a flower mound nearby and a vase made of carnations in the heart of the main lawn vied for attention.

After a gap of a few years bonsai plants returned this year to thrill visitors.

It was said that henceforth they would be on show round the year.

While a collection of bird of paradise caught one's eye in the exhibition section, flowers like tuberous begonia, heliconium, inca marigold, petunia and pansy were among those most photographed.

While filing past the display many visitors told The Hindu that they were lucky to see such a display in a picturesque venue.

Among the stalls put up that of the Department of Horticulture displayed the entire horticultural wealth of the state.

A good part of the GBG was illuminated.

Despite a downpour there was a steady flow of tourists to the garden.

The State Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S.Arumugham inaugurated the show. Among those present were the Khadi Board Minister K.Ramachandran, the Secretary, Agricultural Production, Nandakishore, the Director of Horticulture and Plantation Crops B.Chandra Mohan and the Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik.

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