For the convenience of tourists, special buses were operated to Coonoor from various places

With the time, money and energy put in by the organisers paying rich dividends, the two-day 53rd Annual Fruit Show got off to a splendid start at the Sim's Park in Coonoor on Saturday, notwithstanding a downpour.

The show was declared open by the Nilgiris Collector, Archana Patnaik. Despite the flowers blooming early and the season being at its fag end the venue wore a colourful look. From the morning there was a steady flow of visitors including, tourists and locals to the sprawling park.

A mixture of sunshine and rain had rendered the surroundings verdant. The cynosure of all eyes was a 15 feet high, 35 feet long and 15 feet wide look alike of the heritage building which houses the railway station in Coonoor. It was made of about five tonnes of sweet lime.

Pointing out that the showcasing of an important part of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) in such a manner bore testimony to the fact that the railway was very close to the heart of the people of the Nilgiris in general and those of Coonoor in particular, some of the local visitors toldThe Hindu that it was a commendable initiative of the Department of Horticulture.

Vying for attention nearby was a model of the Hoganekkal falls made of about four tonnes of mangos by the horticulture officials in Dharmapuri.

While Madurai had displayed a replica of the famed Meenakshi Amman Temple, Dindigul had made a Mickey Mouse out of grapes. Other districts had exhibited fruit carvings. Many of the tourists appreciated the way in which the show had been organised. One of them quipped, “the park and the show are made for each other.”

New look

Stating that on account of the variety and absence of features which turn such events into village melas the show wore a new look, the Secretary of the Coonoor-based Nilgiri Cultural Association S. Ananthakrishnan said that in recent years such an excellent show had not been witnessed in Coonoor. The stall of the Department of Horticulture lived up to the reputation of the Nilgiris being referred to as a horticulture district.

In the competition section there were stalls of vegetable and fruit growers.

The Assistant Director of Horticulture, N. Mani, said that last year 22,000 persons had witnessed the show and this year it is likely to be more.

For the convenience of tourists, special buses were run to Coonoor from various places. An appropriate security plan was put in place.