Karnataka’s highest peak, Mullayanagiri (1,930m above sea level), has an unusual problem. On weekends, the winding roads leading to maximum witnesses are jammed with traffic, sometimes the traffic jam lasts for several minutes. Now, the district office has decided to put the brakes on the trip to the summit. Private vehicles will soon be banned and tourists will have to use public vehicles.
The local administration wants to follow the model of Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta (near Bandipur) where tourists can park their private vehicles and travel only by KSRTC bus. Chikkamagaluru Deputy Commissioner K N Ramesh said: We have now taken it a step further and identified 5 acres of land near Allampura (17 km from the foot of Mt. Mullayanagiri) where all tourists must park their personal vehicles.
Public vehicles can transport tourists from Allampura to Mullyanagiri. All private vehicles will be banned once the parking lot construction is complete. This measure will not only help regulate crowds, but it will also help reduce litter on Karnataka’s highest peak.”
The move was welcomed by nature lovers who say Mulayanagiri is part of the fragile Western Ghats, which is unfortunately seeing heavy vehicular movement. There will be traffic jams on this route on weekends. The road is winding and in some places there are deep canyons. Driver errors can be fatal. Thus, the traffic restrictions in Mulayanagiri were necessary from both an environmental point of view and road safety. Many people throw garbage there and pollute the environment. Therefore, if the district office does not ban traffic, it must take strict regulatory measures.
“Mullayanagiri is a unique place where the peaks are shrouded in mist during most of the year. Travelers travel long distances to enjoy a walk on the misty road. There is a small parking lot where vehicles are parked at the foot of the Mulayanagiri hill and from there people climb to reach the summit. Unfortunately, the road from Kaimara to Mulayanagiri is narrow. Many of them stop their vehicles midway, not realizing that there are wild animals in the forest. This time, we hope that the authorities will be serious and take appropriate action,” said environmentalist Girish Kumar.
For a long time, the local administration has been trying all tricks to regulate traffic without success. Previously, the district office had imposed restrictions, such as allowing only 300 vehicles in the direction of Murayanagiri in two shifts during the day (150 vehicles each, between 6 a.m.-9 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., Murayanagiri and Sittalaianagi may be directed in the direction of Lee). Initially, only 1,200 people or 300 vehicles were allowed. However, this plan was never implemented. Thousands of travelers traveled to Murayanagiri on Sunday, especially on New Year’s Day, causing traffic jams.