Shola grasslands are high-altitude grasslands, evergreen, with very good water retention capacity. The Western Ghats is a biodiversity hotspot, supporting many endemic and threatened species, a region where many streams and rivers originate. The mountains are known for the wide variety of flora, including many medicinal herbs. The roads are laced with many tiny wild flowers of different hues.
One look at the landscape is enough to take your breath away. It is alright to soak in the beauty. It may also be ok to let others see the beauty through one’s eyes, through visuals. But here we stumbled upon one such attempt of showcasing this beauty to the world – a commercial movie / serial shooting was being held in front of the Seetalayana Matha, Seetalayanagiri. Right in the middle of Shola grasslands, right ON them, two ‘lovers’ singing away. One would expect to forget everything else in Western Ghats and simply appreciate the wonders of nature. But here, the blaring music made us forget that we were in Western Ghats! There were many retakes, the loud music repeated forever, the crew was trampling all over the grass.
With this hotspot under many a threat, is it necessary to allow such disturbance? Permissions are being given to such commercial activities in biodiversity hotspots. Mullayanagiri, a couple of kms away from where we stood, is the highest peak in Karnataka. Seetalayanagiri, Mullayanagiri and many such places are hotspots for the party-lovers. Every path is not just lined with pretty flowers, it is also lined with empty bottles and plastic. More often than not, the revelers decide to break the bottles.