Karwar: A wondrous forest of sculptures designed to showcase the rich art and culture of indigenous tribes in Uttara Kannada district, is facing a dire fate due to years of neglect and mismanagement. This captivating artistic oasis, constructed at a substantial cost, was once a thriving tourist hotspot. However, recent years have seen its gradual decay, leaving both visitors and the local community disheartened.
Situated along the picturesque shoreline, this remarkable art installation was strategically placed next to a highway for easy tourist access. Unfortunately, the lack of proper maintenance has allowed the charm of this tourist attraction to fade away.
The Rock Garden, nestled in the heart of Karwar, was inaugurated in 2018 with a budget of around Rs 3 crore. Its primary goal was to offer insight into the unique lifestyle of the tribal communities in the district. During its prime, the garden was a bustling hub, attracting visitors from all over. Sadly, the artifacts have lost their former glory, and some sculptures have suffered damage, leaving tourists disappointed.
In its early years, the Rock Garden generated significant revenue, bringing in millions of rupees. However, after its management was handed over to a private entity and due to the challenges of 2020, including a cyclone and the COVID-19 pandemic, the garden was left unattended. While tourists began to return, the responsible organization failed to effectively preserve and manage the sculptures.
As the October holiday season approaches, concerned individuals are calling for immediate action to restore this iconic site to its former splendor. The responsibility for managing the Rock Garden now rests with the tourism department, following the end of the tender period in March. While some initial repair work has begun, progress has been hampered by persistent monsoon rains.
Baby Mogare, Assistant Director of the tourism department, stated, “We will assess the situation, hold discussions with the DC, and decide on a course of action. Currently, we are facing a budget deficit, and our committee lacks the necessary funds. We will need to determine whether to seek additional financial support from the head office or the DC’s office. Additionally, a shortage of staff is adding to our challenges. Nevertheless, we remain committed to the task at hand and plan to restore the Rock Garden through a phased approach.”
The fate of this cultural treasure trove now hangs in the balance as concerned authorities grapple with the dilemma of how best to rescue this invaluable cultural showcase.