Chennai: The Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai district, known for its waterfalls, cliffs and precipices alluring nature lovers almost all through the year, is slowly transforming into pepper and coffee plantation. It is set for more development to receive more visitors.
Being accessible by road from here this sequestered less-known hill station will get a botanical garden and an orchard on a 200-acre land. The Jawadhu Hills situated about 75 km from Tiruvannamalai as part of the Eastern Ghats has many attractions and the Beema Falls, Komutteri lake, Kavalur Observatory, Amirthi forest and the Glass House are among the popular haunts.
Though samai (small millet) is traditionally grown as a major crop by the locals, the state horticulture department undertook a project to propagate plantation crops for the first time.
“The soil conditions and also the cool climate provide conducive atmosphere for raising plantation crops like coffee and pepper. So, we decided to take it up on a small scale initially,” a senior horticulture official said.
These new crops are being tried on experimental basis on 50 acres land at Kovilur with coffee seeds brought from Yercaud, while pepper is being raised on 100 acres of land. Various varieties of fruits and spices, all new to the hills, including Surinam cherry, Rambutan, litchi, Duriyan, nutmeg (Jathi), cinnamon, clove and garcinia have also being raised with the involvement of tribals.
The agriculture department has allotted `2 crore for developing the sector in Jawadhu Hills. Recently, tourism reception centre was constructed at `32 lakh in Tiruvannamalai and a tourist rest house was built in Jawadhu Hills for `57 lakh.
“Tourism is the mainstay here. We plan to take steps to drive more tourists to this hill station as the popular hill resorts are getting saturated during peak season,” a senior official said....