If there is one thing constant in our lives it is change. It is something we get used to over a period of time. Some changes are termed good as it is for the betterment while there are those that have a negative impact. Unfortunately this change is applicable to nature as well. Some of the fascinating places in the country are slowly disappearing due to mankind.
A resting place for the departed soul, one of the largest river islands in the world, a monument of love, carpet of alpine blossoms, a region where the only surviving sub-species of the Red Deer family roam about and many such more places are junder the threat of facing extinction in the coming few years. Here is a guide to ten fascinating places that travellers should see before they completely disappear.
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The town of Rakhigarhi in Haryana is apt for those interested in history as they will find here the ruins of the Indus Valley civilisation. However, the ruins are in bad shape and constant erosion is destroying it further more. The region is considered as the largest known city during the period of the Indus Valley civilization and can be termed as one of India's most prized possessions. Those travelling here or planning to travel should visit the place before it completely vanishes.
Photo Courtesy: Bernard Gagnon
It is always refreshing to journey to the hills and what better place to head to than the dense forests of the Western Ghats. You can enjoy the crisp mountain air and natural sights while you travel here. But this green paradise too stands the test of time as it is under the scanner of builders and developers. The region that is rich in flora and fauna houses more than 300 threatened species. Little is done to protect the Ghats and we suggest you head here quick before it turns into a concrete jungle!
Photo Courtesy: Navaneeth KN
Savour the rare sight of Balpakram Forest that lies in the South Garo Hills of Meghalaya and is famous for its canyon-gorge. This mysterious place holds the belief that the hill is a resting place for departed souls and locales have said to be seen several strange formations occur in this area. These forests are vanishing fast due to dams, shifting cultivation on the hills and coal mines. Those interested in travelling to mystical places should head here fast before it completely disappears and turns into a small town.
Photo Courtesy: BMC Ecology
Delve into the enigmatic terrain of the wilderness of the Sunderbans. A UNESCO World Heritage Site this region is covered with the largest mangrove forests in the world and is also the home to the endangered Royal Bengal Tiger. It houses around 334 plant species, various bird species, snakes, crocodiles and other fauna. Located in West Bengal, an ominous threat clouds the entire region. Being low lying in nature, the rising sea levels have already submerged some parts of it. Due to the effects of global warming the sea has already taken down four islands, and it is alleged that around 10,000 inhabitants are now environmental refugees. The fear is that the entire site would be under water one day.
Photo Courtesy: Frances Voon
Lakshadweep Coral Reef
So stunning are the coral reefs in Lakshadweep that they make you feel like you are in dream, though this might not be the case for long. According to a study the coral reefs face dire threat from pollution, rummaging of navigational channels, coral mining, and blast fishing. The study also states that sea-level rise triggered by global warming can indirectly have an adverse effect on reefs, lagoons, beaches, and sand dunes. The island already has a fragile coastal environment, and continues to be subject to increase in population, mining of corals, coastal corrosion, unrestrained construction and unscientific waste disposal. You would dread to imagine the plight of these islands a few years from now!
Photo Courtesy: NOAA Photo Library
The Chiktan Castle in Kargil emerges from a cliff and used to serve as the royal residence for hundreds of years. Constructed in the 16th century, this castle depicts the fine dexterity of Balti (Pakistani) craftsmen. The intriguing structure was once a symbol of unity, strength and community as it prepared the people for impending attacks. It is believed that the castle was abandoned in the late 19th century, and what once stood grand and mighty is left in a state of degeneration. Neglect and natural elements have been a major cause for this. Huge parts of the outer walls have collapsed and the castle now stands in a sorry state. Travellers interested in exploring old monuments and palaces shout visit it before it finally gives way.
Photo Courtesy: World Monuments Fund
The Bhitarkanika Mangrove, situated in Odisha is home to endangered species of Saltwater Crocodiles, White Crocodiles, Indian Pythons and King Cobras. This sensitive land is being corroded quickly due to various reasons, of which humans encroachment of land and the deforestation is a major factor. This mangrove forest and its wildlife is highly threatened by humans and face extinction in the years to come.
Photo Courtesy: Vishnu Sharma
Travellers heading to Kaziranga have just one thing on their mind and that is to catch a glimpse of the fifth largest land animal, the endangered one-horned rhinoceros, the only kind in the world that lives here. The tall elephant grasslands, marshland and many water bodies of this area make it a prefect abode for this animal. A huge population residing in the entire stretch of the Indo-Gangetic Plain once upon a time, today their number have reduced by a great extent due to excessive hunting. It is believed that only 3,000 of these are said to live here. With the locals taking up more place the home of these beasts are becoming small and within time if necessary preventive actions are not taken you might just be able to read about them in history books.
Photo Courtesy: Scott Anderson
Enjoy the view of one of the largest river islands in the world that goes by the name of Majuli in the state of Assam. Located on the banks of the holy Brahmaputra River, the landscape portrays nature at its charming best. Those wishing to see this wonder of nature should head here fast as it is likely to submerge in a few years due to the constant erosion of the Brahmaputra.
Photo Courtesy: Kalai Sukanta
Hemis National Park
Now this one is specially for the wildlife enthusiasts who love to encounter different species. Head to the Hemis National Park in Ladakh and catch a glimpse of the endangered Snow Leopard. If rumours are to be believed then only 200 to 600 of this species are said to be alive and the numbers are unfortunately on a decline. One of the major reasons for the slow extinction of this elusive and beautiful cat is the melting of glatial ice due to global warming.
Photo Courtesy: Rodney Jackson