India is a beautiful place which has lots to offer for those who are looking at history, nature or culture. You name it, and one will sure come across it in India. There are places in the country which are craving for attention or for the need to be preserved.
Many places in India are known for something unique,let's say Hampi is known for its ruinsthat are preserved well to make it stand the test of time. In the same way, there are numerous wildlife sanctuaries which have taken measures to protect the wildlife, like the Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu. They imposed a ban on vehicular movement from 9:00 PM in the night until 6:00 AM the next morning.
In the same way, there are places which need to be protected to restore its beauty and essence for the generations to come.
So, here is a list of places which you might want to visit while they still exist, but not for too long.
1. Rakhigarhi, Haryana – The Biggest City Of The Indus Valley Civilization
Located in Hisar District of Haryana, Rakhigarhi is a dream of every archaeologist. The archaeologists discovered that this was the largest city in the Indus Valley civilisation in the year 1963. It appears much larger than the sites found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa.
The site was excavated for three winters since 1997 but came to a stop due to a CBI investigation for the misallocation of funds. The lack of maintenance has rendered the boundary wall not to serve its purpose, which let the locals to steal ancient artefacts from the site and sell it to interested buyers.
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2. Rama Sethu, Rameshwaram – Limestone Shoals Connecting Two Nations
Rama Sethu also known as Adam's bridge is a chain of limestone shoals which connects Dhanushkodi in India and Sri Lanka's Mannar Island. Legend says that it was the bridge built by Rama with the help of his monkey army. While that is still conjecture, the sad part is the planned Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project by the Government of India brings a huge amount of threat to the existence of this natural wonder.
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3. Sundarbans, West Bengal – Home Of The Largest Mangrove Forests
The Sundarban Delta is one of the most exciting places in the world if you are a person who loves nature and wildlife. It is home to the largest mangrove forest and also to the now endangered Bengal Tiger. The delta is in a low-lying region which puts it at a great risk of annihilation by getting submerged underwater. Adding to that the impact of global warming and the rising sea level, this natural beauty could very soon be seen only through pictures.
PC : V Malik
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4. Shimla Civic Centre, Himachal Pradesh – The Charming Side Of Our Colonial Past
Shimla received its attention from the British as a potential summer retreat, and a slew of colonial style buildingswere erected which gave the town a unique look. As time flew, the British left India, and over the years unplanned developments and lack of proper maintenance, the colonial hill town fell victim to the unplanned urbanisation. The Civic Center is one of the four Indian buildings to be featured on World Monuments Fund's 'at risk' list.
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5. Dechen Namgyal Monastery, Jammu And Kashmir – A Fort Of Spiritualism
This magnanimous fortified 17th-century Buddhist monastery was built along the Ladakh trade route built by a Ladakhi King Sengge Namgyal with the assistance from a Tibetan priest. As it is so difficult to reach, the much-needed restoration work has suffered over the years, The ten monks who pray here, do what they can to keep it standing with the help from the locals in Hanle village.
PC : Dave Kleinschmidt
6. Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan – A Majestic Structure Struggling With Modernity
The Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan is one of the largest fortifications in the world. It is the pride of the Rajputs in India. An amazing feature is several families still live within the premises of the fort, which is also a major tourist attraction.
Due to the rising population and with the introduction of modern plumbing, this 12th-century fort is deteriorating, which has made its way to the WMF's watch list.
PC : Adrian Sulc
7. The Western Ghats – Man Vs Nature
The Western Ghats is known for its lush greenery along the west coast of India. It is home to various kinds of animals and plant species. The Adivasis or the tribes have been living in this region for over hundreds of years, in the name of development, many areas of the Ghats are now exposed to builders and this threatens the basic core of the region.
The Mumbai - Pune expressway, cuts right through the hills affecting the biodiversity of the forest land.
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8. Balpakram Forest, Meghalaya – The Home Of The Departed Souls
Home to the local Garo tribe, the Balpakram National Park is located in the southern part of Meghalaya. According to local legend, it is said that this is where the souls of the departed go to rest.
A delight for an environmentalist, the green gorges are filled with wildlife such as wild water buffaloes, red pandas and various species of wildcats. Due to water dams and coal mines, the forest area is receding day by day, which forms a drastic threat to the existence of all animals in the region.
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9. Coral Reef, Lakshadweep – The Only Coral Reef In India
Have you ever gone snorkelling in Lakshadweep? Then you will know how beautiful the coral reefs of this region are. With excessive blast fishing, coral mining and change in navigation paths these coral reefs are put into danger. To add on, the rising sea level due to global warming, you can realise how bleak the future of this region is going to be.
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10. Majuli, Assam – The Largest River Island
Located in upper Assam, Majuli is one of the most diverse wildlife regions in India. Elephants, tigers, deer, rabbits and many other different kinds of birds and animals have made this river island their home.
The tragedy is that the island is shrinking, from 483 km to 421 km, all thanks to deforestation which results in the massive erosion. Certain surveys show that at this rate, Majuli will become history within 15-20 years.
PC : Peter Andersen
11. Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand – Strictly For Trekkers
The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand is so beautiful that it attracts a lot of tourists, which is the biggest threat to the region. The line between an ideal trekking destination and a large scale tourist hub is very thin, but it seems that this line has been crossed in the Valley of Flowers. They were right when they said 'beauty can be a cruel mistress.'
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12. Kaziranga, Assam – Less People, More Rhinos, I Say
The rhinoceros has become synonymously with Assamese pride, but the irony here in Kaziranga is local poachers are the biggest threat to this animal. At one point in time, there was an abundant population of one-horned rhino in Kaziranga, along with other animals.
But now, only around 3000 of them are said to exist. The area of the National Park too, is decreasing, because of people settling in too close to the edges proving that man's moral sense is thicker than the rhino's skin.
PC : Deepraj
13. Hemis National Park, Jammu And Kashmir – The Snow Leopard's Abode
Hemis National Park is located in the Eastern Ladakh region, which is the home of the endangered snow leopard. About 200 - 600 are still said to be going around the higher regions of the park. If you ever happen to go to that part of the country, make sure you catch a glimpse before this elusive animal ceases to exist.
PC : Kashmir Wildlife Protection Dept
14. Sasan Gir Forest, Gujarat – Where Lions Are Making A Comeback
The Sasan Gir National Park or Gir forest is home to the majestic Asiatic lion. It is listed as an endangered animal, but the number is steadily growing;, all thanks to some artificial insemination measures undertaken by the Sakkarbaug Zoo in Junagadh.
Tourists are curbed in the region to some extent to preserve the natural essence of wildlife, but some areas are still open to outsiders.
PC : Rupal Vaidya
15. Wular Lake, Jammu and Kashmir – The Shrinking Lake
Wular Lake in Kashmir is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world which regularly hosts water sports for locals and tourists. But it is shrinking due to pollution and hunting. There is a plan to fell 2 Million trees to increase the size of the lake, which is a time-consuming process, but the idea seems to be a bit bizarre, cutting down trees to preserve a natural body? It sounds different, must say!
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