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Tourists are here, but parking is nowhere

Free-for-all:A private tourist bus parked on Amma Mandapam Road at Srirangam in Tiruchi on Sunday.M. Srinath

Puja holidays may be 10 days away, but the tourist season has already begun in Srirangam.

The arrival of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has witnessed an upward trend during the last fortnight on account of the auspicious Tamil month of Puratasi.

And it is expected to increase further in the coming weeks. But the long-pending demand of a dedicated parking lot is yet to see its light.

More than 500 buses and vans from different parts of the State, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana arrived in Srirangam on Saturday to visit Sri Ranganathaswamy temple.

A large number of tourists visited the temple town on Sunday too. In the absence of an established parking lot, they parked their vehicles on Amma Mandapam Road. This has hindered the smooth movement of vehicles on the road.

A section of pilgrims also bring cooks from their native place and establish makeshift kitchens on the road side near their vehicles. The vehicles remain rooted to the spot for least four to five hours, adding to the traffic snarls.

As drivers look for convenient space for parking, traffic holdups are a regular phenomenon in different parts of the town, particularly near the existing bus stand and its vicinity. Several of them choose residential areas to park their vehicles.

The tourist season, which begins from October, lasts for five months up to January. While devotees visit Srirangam in October mainly on account of puja holidays, Ayyappa pilgrims throng in large number during November, December and January. The arrival of devotees reaches its peak during the annual 21-day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival at Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple.

Tiruchi City Corporation and police manage the situation by setting up temporary parking lots on Salai Road and Panjakarai during the peak season. But it appears that the Corporation does not have a permanent solution to the problem.

“Town planners and law enforcers have a bigger role to play in finding a permanent solution to the parking issue. It can no longer be ignored. It is time to find a solution,” said R. Sridhar, a resident of Srirangam.


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