Tourism in India is a window to the world of poets, painters and writers. From the exuberant colours of the south to the quiet melody of the north; from the tranquil beauty of the east to the celebratory spirit of the west. Tourism in India has taken the ecotourism route to match global demands of conservation and sustainable travel.
Ecotourism is the answer for growing depletion of natural and cultural heritage of the planet. It not only enriches an individual's travel experience but also adds to the economic empowerment of local communities.
The awareness and understanding of nature and culture increases two-fold when one decides on an ecotour. India is host to many such eco-campaigns that increase sensitivity among visitors.
Ecotourism would be the ideal travel practice in India. Here are a few ecotourism destinations across India. Come, explore and discover the experience called 'India'. Make every moment a picture perfect one.
Nanda Devi, Uttarakhand
As the name suggests, Nanda Devi is a bliss-giving spot indeed. The Nanda Devi National Park is situated around the peak of Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain in India.
Along with the adjoining Valley of Flowers National Park to the northwest, the Nanda Devi National Park shares the prestige of being a world heritage site. The area houses a wide range of flora and fauna much to the pleasure of the ecotourist.
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan
Yet another world heritage centre opens itself for ecotourism. This avi-fauna sanctuary in Rajasthan sees rare and highly endangered birds such as the Siberian Crane. This bird sanctuary is home to over 230 species of birds - cormorants, spoonbills, storks, egrets, herons, pelicans, ibis, to name a few.
The place gets its name after Keoladeo or Lord Shiva, whose temple is situated within the limits of the park. The ecotourism project is alive and welcoming around Rajasthan.
Situated in the Kollam district of Kerala, Thenmala is India's first planned eco-tourism project. Largely a forest area, Thenmala is located at the foothills of the Western Ghats.
Thenmala is a complete ecotourism package on the offer - mountain Biking, riverside soft trekking, bird watching, boating in the Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary; a visit to the Deer Rehabilitation Centre are some of the activities visitors could engage in.
Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand
The first park under the Project Tiger initiative, Corbett National Park, seemed prepared for constant jungle violation. Ecotourism has tried to help curb the infringement while the traveller isn't left unsatisfied.
The ravines, rivers, streams, plateaus; the rich flora and fauna around leaves the traveller spellbound!
Bheemeshwari Wildlife Sanctuary, Cauvery delta
Placed perfectly amidst the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary and between the picturesque falls of Barachukki, Mekedatu and Gaganachukki, Bheemeshwari Wildlife Sanctuary offers a serene and yet exciting weekend experience for ecotourists.
Bheemeshwari opens itself to rafting, river crossing, kayaking, rappelling, caving and the much sought-after sport in the region -angling.
Kudremukh, Western Ghats
If you want to take the path less travelled, Kudremukh is the place for you to be. Kudremukh encompasses the districts of Chickmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka.
The rivers Tungabhadra and Netravati originate here. Trekkers on their ecotour, usually set up their base camp at the nearby town Kalasa which is about 10 km away from Kudremukh National Park.
This place is a feast to the eye and the soul.
Karla Caves, Maharashtra
Ecotourism is very integral to caving as well. And if architecture is your cup of tea, then Karla Caves would suit your taste. You can witness the finest of Buddhist rock-cut architecture right here.
The elaborately carved pillars of the caves are a treat to the eye. The chaitya griha here is the grandest and the largest in India. Located in Karli near Lonavala in Maharashtra, Karla caves are exquisite to say the least.
The deers, the safari, the people, the trees, the elephants, the boars, the promised sight of a tiger - Bandipur is all of this and more. Watching nature from such close-qaurters will leave you wondering if your voyeurism would violate nature's purity.
The resorts in Bandipur offer complete ecotourism packages for an apprehensive traveller. The Serai is one among the many resorts that help empower local people.
Sikkim, the second smallest state in the country, is known for two things - tea and travel.
Now, with the emergence of ecotourism, Sikkim has opened up to home stays where one can experience the local flavours unveiled. Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim, an NGO, has been working closely with the people of Sikkim to make it the ecotourism capital of India.
Mangalajodi Ecotourism, a wildlife conservation venture, has taken over all responsibilities of green travel in Mangalajodi village. Situated on the banks of the Chilika Lake, Mangalajodi is a wetland that hosts more than 150,000 birds. Winters are ideal for keen bird-viewers and ecotourists alike.
Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary, Vizag
Located in Vishakapatnam, a small part of the Wildlife Sanctuary is converted to ecotourism park. Situated on the Eastern Ghats, the park is the abode for rare species of endemic flora and fauna. As part of the ecotourism project, trekking trails and angling have been introduced around this area.
Gir National Park and Sanctuary, Gujarat
Gujarat Tourism has been very active on the ecotourism front as well. The Gir National Park and Sanctuary, an abode for the last of Asiatic lions, has been welcoming ecotourists from all over. To promote nature education an Interpretation Zone has been set up at Devalia within the sanctuary.