Tiruchirapalli

Pachamalai hills still out of bounds for tourists

The cottages made as part of an eco-tourism project lies in disuse due to the COVID-19 lockdown.   | Photo Credit: SRINATH M

Youth from Tiruchi district who travel to Pachamalai hills during the weekends to relax are a unhappy lot as the Forest Department is yet to allow visitors to the various falls on the hills, trekking or staying at the eco-tourism cottages at Top Sengattupatti. While other places such as Kodaikanal have reopened to tourists, why Pachamalai is still out of bounds, the youth ask.

Pachamalai is a preferred weekend getaway for those wanting to beat the heat in Tiruchi and with the lockdown being partially lifted, many who had been looking forward to spending time there are disappointed.

M. Sharath, a techie in the city and his group of friends had decided to travel to Pachamalai last weekend. However, they returned home disappointed as the attractions were yet to open. “We do not have many such places in Tiruchi. We drove all the way up to be told that none of the falls were opened. When Kodaikanal and Nilgiris can handle large number of tourists, why can't Pachamalai?" he asked.

Like him, many are looking forward to travelling as they have been restricted to their homes during the lockdown. “Every summer, we travel to Pachamalai, stay at the cottages and spend at least two days here. However, over the last two summers, we have not been able to go there,” another visitor said.

Along with a few waterfalls, Top Sengattupatti also has a eco-tourism project by the Forest Department with tree-top houses, including two dormitories, one for boys and one for girls. A restaurant, an Interpretation Centre are also part of the project.

Speaking to The Hindu, a forester on duty at Top Sengattupatti said that they were yet to get clearance to reopen. “There are some picnickers who travel to the top of the hills, visit the villages and return. The lockdown norms continue to be in force in the biological park and as an eco-tourism project, Pachamalai comes under it,” he said.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 11:40:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/pachamalai-hills-still-out-of-bounds-for-tourists/article35632187.ece

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