Come Closer to Nature with These 10 Eco Friendly Destinations in India
Eco-tourism is all about giving developing a friendship with nature, getting acquainted with the concept of responsible travel and promoting the concept of sustainable living. It is also a way of seeking the various ways and means of conserving nature and biodiversity. Eco-tourism is not just about enjoying nature but ensuring her participation in it.
India, blessed with a natural biodiversity, makes for a great eco-tourist destination. The diversity in its natural landscape makes it an immensely friendly eco-tourist destination. Whether it’s the backwaters of Kerala, a quaint village in Uttarakhand or a National Park in Madhya Pradesh, every destination provides a wonderful experience while leaving you with a deep appreciation of nature. You also become acquainted with several local cultures, as eco-tourism is as much about community living as nature preservation. If you are interested in knowing more about it, then here are the 10 eco-friendly destinations you must visit in India.
Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim
Khangchendzonga National Park covers almost 30% of the total land area of Sikkim in northeast India. It was given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2016. Its natural beauty escapes the description of words, while its landscape is marked by lakes, glaciers, rivers, valleys, plains and caves. The park is home to a variety of mammal species, some of which include snow leopard, musk deer, red pandas and Himalayan blue sheep. Almost half of India’s bird species and one-third of the country’s flowering plants are found within this park. Mt. Khangchendzonga also holds a deep spiritual significance for the locals. Taking a trek in this park is the best way of exploring its ecosystem.
Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
One of the best places for ecotourism in India is Lahaul Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. It’s mostly craggy terrain and extreme climate, where temperatures are known to fall beyond minus 30 ° C, provides very little opportunities to earn a livelihood. However, there are a few organizations which are enthusiastic in their endeavor to save the ecosystem through encouragement of sustainable tourism in this region. Adventure here means trekking through the Pin Parvati Pass, biking through difficult Himalayan trails and enjoying a spiritual experience in one of many meditation centers. All throughout their stay, however, visitors are requested to cause minimum impact on the Spiti Valley’s ecosystem.
Khonoma Village, Nagaland
Khonoma Village lies about 20km from Kohima, itself famous for hosting the great Hornbill Festival. The village, which is also referred to as Khwunoria, is believed to be around 700yrs old. Over the last decade, Angamis, one of Nagaland’s tribes, have made enormous progress in strengthening their natural resource management, conflict resolution, village administration and other forms of development. Biodiversity and wildlife are also given special emphasis.
Visitors to the village are left pleasantly surprised at the various kinds of activities the villagers seem to be absorbed in. Besides, Khonoma is the only village in India which boasts a global citizenry along with a self-identity. September 1 is celebrated every year as the village’s birthday. Another interesting fact is that the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS), which was set up in the year 1998, is the private property of the people of Khonoma Village.
Thenmala, one of the lesser explored destinations in India, is India’s first eco-tourism destination in India. Its 10 eco-tourism spots cover the hill ranges of Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta and Kollam districts. Thenmala means “honey hill” in the local language, and quite appropriately, it’s a major exporter of high quality honey from this area. Its terrain, dotted with rubber, forests and tree plantations, was selected by the World Tourism Organization, as one of the most premier eco-friendly projects in the world.
A visit to Thenmala allows you to enjoy various kinds of activities. From boat rides to leisurely walks to adventure sports like rock climbing and mountain biking, there are a lot of options to keep you entertained. Visiting the Thenmala Dam is a favorite with the tourists. In the deep, dark woods of Thenmala, there are tree huts which allow you to spend an evening deep inside the forest. One of the highlights of your trip is a boat ride to in the wonderful Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mawlynnong Village, Meghalaya
Mawlynnong Village holds the claim of being one of the cleanest village in India. Situated about 90km from Shillong along the Indo-Bangla border, its home to several natural attractions, from the living root bridge to the eccentric phenomenon of one boulder balancing on top of another. Agriculture is the main occupation of the people and they mostly grow betel nut.
An impressing sight in the village is a dustbin made of bamboo which ensure that dirt and filth are collected properly, instead of being littered and strewn on the streets. Another enormous achievement of this village of 100% literacy, is the complete banning of plastic. Mawlynnong Village is drawing a large number of tourists from across the globe. The rest houses, constructed from bamboo, are very hospitable and inviting. Visiting the village promises to be an enriching experience, in terms of eco-tourism.
Coorg, located on the Western Ghats of Karnataka, is one of the best places to visit in India. It boasts a well-preserved biodiversity and is blessed with abundant flora and fauna. Dressed in old-world charm, dreamy looking hills, coffee and cardamom plantations, it is the perfect eco-tourist destination. The hospitality of the people belonging to the Kodava community will win you over, as will the picturesque beauty of the place. After exploring and absorbing the beauty of Coorg, you should check out the other attractions like Abbey Falls. Its cascading water resembles a brilliantly painted curtain. Eco-tourism in Coorg is about admiring the various aspects of its natural beauty, exploring its coffee and cardamom plantations and learning about the unique history of the Kodava community.
Looking for the best summer destinations in India? Head to Sitlakhet in Uttarakhand. Visiting this place lets you leave the hustle-bustle of city life behind you. Situated in the district of Almora, Sitlakhet is one of the best offbeat destinations for eco-tourism in the Kumaon Himalayas.
In terms of eco-tourism, this place has much to offer. Panoramic views, opportunities for hiking, going for nature walks, appreciating the wildlife and enjoying mountain biking, among others. In the morning and evening, one can enjoy 200 degree views of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas. Hiking to the Syahi Devi Temple is another enjoyable activity as it takes you through the dense pine forests and tiny hamlets. Further, you can also enjoy nature walks and come closer to nature, because that’s the entire point of eco-tourism, isn’t it?
Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
If you are planning a tour to India, then make it a point to visit Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. In this region, the Royal Bengal Tiger is found in large numbers. The park is renowned for saving the Barasingha from extinction, besides enjoying the reputation of being one of the best managed parks in Asia. Besides these, it’s also a part of Project Tiger.
The park is home to over 350 species of birds along with various kinds of flora. A safari in this park is a wonderful experience as you get to explore meadows, huge plateaus and valleys. Its your lucky day here when you spot a Barasingha, or catch a glimpse of a tiger in the jungle. Ever wondered how sindoor (vermillion) is made? From the Sindoor Tree, which is found in abundance here. You also come across sites related to mythology, sites such as Shravan Tal, where Shravan Kumar, the devoted son in Ramayana, came to fill water for his parents.
Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh
If you are planning to visit Himachal Pradesh, then June is the best time to do it. Once in Himachal, head for Pragpur, India’s first heritage village. The architectural style of the houses in this village remind you of a past era. The village, named in honor of a princess from the Jaswan royal family, acquired the status of a heritage village in December 2007.
Among the beautiful mud-plastered and slate-roofed houses, you find the presence of exquisite havelis, mansions and Italianate buildings. Ask the locals though, and they will tell you of the mansions being 300yrs old. In this heritage village exist heritage buildings, such as the Judges Court. Of course, there are the tales of villagers to be enjoyed and their lifestyle to be experienced. Pragpur is another example of how enjoyable and educative ecotourism can be.
Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
Located in the northern part of Amravati district, the Melghat Tiger Reserve is a great eco-friendly destination which you should visit during your trip to Maharashtra. Spread over 3,600sq.km, this tiger reserve covers the Gugamal National Park and Melghat Wildlife Sanctuary, along with the rich deciduous reserve forests in the neighboring areas.
The sight of the leisurely flowing Sipna River through the dry deciduous forest is very pleasing, and allows for some amazing photography. Observing the tribal communities of Korkus and Gaolis and their lifestyles promises to be a unique experience, and sheds light on the harmonious existence of humans with nature.
It gets even better when you get to walk alongside the Sipna River with a Korku adivasi as he hunts for fish using innovative hunting techniques. In the forests of Melghat Tiger Reserve, you can also spot handsome crested serpent eagles and crested hawk eagles. However, nothing beats the sight of the racket tailed drongo, with its amazing talent for imitating over 15 types of birds.