Amma Mandapam Road, the arterial road that leads to the famous Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, has in recent days been clogged by tourist vehicles parked along the roadsides.
While devotees and tourists visit the temple town throughout the year, this is the peak of the tourist season which also coincides with the influx of Iyyappa devotees. With the Vaikunda Ekadasi festival at the temple set to commence on December 13, the town is set to attract more devotees over the next 30 days.
In the absence of a designated parking area for the tourist vehicles, which are levied an entry fee, the buses and vans are parked along the Amma Mandapam Road. Scores of vehicles could be seen parked between Amma Mandapam bathing ghat on the Cauvery River and the temple that is about a km away.
Locals complain that the problem is acute during the peak hours in the morning and evenings.
Some groups of devotees, who arrived from different parts of the country, even cook their food on the roadsides.
With pedestrian corridor being laid on left side along the road under the Tourism Department funded project for the benefit of devotees, the other side of the road is fully occupied by tourist vehicles.
Some vans could be seen parked even along the Corporation drinking water tank, closer to a couple of bus halts, causing traffic problems. Tourist vehicle drivers say that they have no option but to park the vehicles at the available space, as closer as possible to the temple.
“There seems to be no parking area for the tourist vehicles. We will be only too happy to park our vehicles if there is some designated place, even if it meant paying a parking fee,” observed Dinakaran, a driver of a tourist vehicle.
Though the problem has been an annual affair, the Corporation’s inability to find a parking space for tourist vehicles has caused much consternation among residents. “It is high time that the Corporation comes up with a plan to allot a parking area for these tourist vehicles.
For, every year the number of devotees and the vehicles seems to be going up,” observes Raghavan, a resident.
Even though the Tiruchi Corporation has announced a plan to establish a bus stand in Srirangam, it is yet to announce the exact site or location of the facility.
If a bus stand were to come up in the town, the Corporation could create a parking area exclusively for tourist vehicles adjacent to it, feel some of the residents.