Visitors throng Lalbagh, but find main attractions closed
Summer tourism has truly begun with many popular destinations seeing a flush of visitors for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak. For those visiting Bengaluru, the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is a sure stop — the best known symbol of the ‘garden city.’
However, as busloads of tourists and locals throng the prime lung space, especially during the weekends, they are left a tad disappointed as many of the prime attractions within the gardens are closed for various reasons. While a stroll inside Lalbagh is still worth a visit, many pointed out that buying a ticket and being able to see the attractions only on paper is disappointing.
According to the Department of Horticulture, before the pandemic, Lalbagh would have around 12,000 visitors every Sunday, which was reduced to 6,000 after the pandemic.
Surovi, a visitor from Delhi, said: ”I searched on the Internet and saw lots of nice photos, like fountains, bonsai gardens, flower clocks, etc. Even on the entrance board, I saw so many things. I was so excited, and as the area is too vast to walk, we took a cart. But all we could see was trees. There is nothing special to see here except trees. It did not meet my expectations.”
Princy, who came to Bengaluru for the first time from Kerala, was happy after visiting Lalbagh. Asked about what she liked, she mentioned the greenery and the flowers. “I noticed that there was a fountain, but it’s not working. I asked a guard, and he said fountains are mostly run in the morning. So, what about us, as we are coming from far and we even cannot see such attractions?” she asked.
Some visitors also pointed out that they are not getting their ticket’s worth if the main attractions are closed. The entrance ticket costs ₹30 for general, and ₹10 for children.
“For last three years, I have seen that there is an aquarium but it is on the board only. I am not buying a ticket to see only lakes and trees. I can go to Cubbon Park free of cost instead,” said Bharat.
Kusuma G., Deputy Director of Horticulture-Lalbagh, told The Hindu, “Some places like bonsai park, flower clock are under renovation, which is why they are closed. Due to pandemic, all these places were locked for so long and there were less visitors too, which is why we were working on a couple of things. Soon, Lalbagh will get back to its beauty.”
About the fountains, she said to save electricity, fountains are operated only once a day. “But as the number of people will increase in the coming days, we will try to add these attractions soon,” she said. The aquarium though, she said, needs a very large budget, which will take some time.