Photos of Neelakurinji on social media ‘cheat’ tourists

Photos of Neelakurinji on social media ‘cheat’ tourists

The hoarding by the district tourism development committee inviting people to get a glimpse of the flowers.

A large number of tourists were left disappointed as the hilly ranges of the district refused to ‘turn into’ an expanse of the purple Neelakurinji flowers.

The flowers bloom only once in 12 years and photographs of and messages in social media on the Neelakurinji flowers on the ranges of Chandradrona Hills had led to tourists thronging the hills to have a look at the flowers.

The landscape of the hills comes alive with the blooming of the flowers and once every 12 years, the entire hillocks turn into an expanse of purple.

Messages inviting tourists to Bababudangiri to the Neelakurinji flowers went viral on social media – including WhatsApp and Facebook. The tourists who visited the ranges anticipating the flowers, however, were disappointed.

B Gagana, lecturer at Alva’s College, Moodbidri, told DH, “I saw the photographs of the Neelakurinji flower on WhatsApp and my friends and I decided to visit Bababudangiri to see the beauty of the flowers. Unfortunately, there was no trace of the Neelakurinji flowers on the hill ranges. Miscreants have been spreading rumours on social media on the blossoming of the flowers.”

Rohan Bhat, a software engineer, said that his friend had posted a photograph of a vast area of the hills covered in the purple flowers. “I came from Hyderabad to get a glimpse of the Neelakurinji flowers, but there was no sight of a single such flower. People were being misled by posts of old photographs of the flowers on social media,” he added.

A retired Forest Department officer explained, “The flower had been spotted on one point on Mullayanagiri. Photographs of the Neelakurinji flowers that had bloomed in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been posted on social media. It is a tactic used by resort and homestay owners to attract tourists.”

D V Girish, trustee of the Bhadra Wildlife Conservation Trust, told DH that the hilly ranges had turned purple in 2006 and that at he flowers have not blossomed this year.

He concurred that old photographs have been used on social media to promote tourism.

“Increase in the number of tourists to the hilly ranges became a challenge for the police personnel. More than 1,000 vehicles passed through the ranges on the day of Vijayadashami,” said Girish.

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