Vehicular traffic on the busy Nanjangud-Ooty road came to a grinding halt for more than an hour yesterday afternoon as Forest officials closed the stretch of NH-212 between Chikkati gate and Omkara forest range to launch an operation to drive away a herd of elephants which made a sudden appearance at Chikkati, back into the forest.

The herd which appeared near Chikkati created tension among villagers around Begur forcing the forest authorities to close the stretch to drive away the unruly herd back into the forest as the herd annoyed by the noise emitted by vehicles, turned towards Chikkati. Hundreds of stranded vehicles were seen parked on either side of the road.

Meanwhile, a verbal duel broke out between Forest officials and owners of stranded vehicles as the pachyderms refused to cross the road back into the forest. However, the Forest officials succeeded in ensuring that the elephants were driven back to the forest which resulted in restoration of normalcy.