Eco-Tourism in Madhya Pradesh

Natures Treasure Trove .. in Madhya Pradesh

 

When a state has the largest forest cover in the country, even the most ardent adventurer cannot second-guess the surprises the place can spring on him. With natures wholesome charms waiting to be explored around every corner, the vast and varied landscape of Madhya Pradesh is a discovery in every direction.

Lying in the Satpura hill ranges, Pachmari is a beautiful round-the-year hill station and is popularly known as Satpura Ki Rani – The Queen of Satpura.

The setting up of jungle camps has made the forest accessible for visitors apart from providing employment opportunities for the locals.

About 60 km from Gwalior, the scenic Sonagiri Hills are dotted with Jain temples of the 9th and 10th century.

Renowned writer Rudyard Kipling was once at a loss of words at what he saw. It was a setting so stunning, the mesmerized writer was instantly inspired to create one of his greatest works – The Jungle book.

That’s the effect the beauty of Madhya Pradesh has on one’s soul. With more than a third of the state covered by vegetation, the land’s verdant plateau is interspersed with the highlands of the discontinuous Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges, creating a stunning setting for the sore, urban eyes. While maintaining the raw charms of the land, The 20 year Perspective Plan of Madhya Pradesh Tourism established in 2003 has provided a filip for eco-tourism in the state. The setting up of Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board in 2005 has helped in conserving natural resources while, at the same time, making it more comfortable for nature lovers to enjoy the states pristine surroundings.

Ecotourism has also led to the creation of employment opportunities for the local villagers in the area of hospitality, catering, camp management, guide roles and adventure-based activities. While the local have found a new means of livelihood, the forest have gained new guardians.

The establishments of jungle camps has made the dense forest accessible for visitors who wish to be amid nature. The Samardha Jungle Camp was one of the first such camps established around 20 km from the capital city of Bhopal. The first day here should simply be spent ambling out on a morning walk to soak in the cool climes and the sights and sounds of the jungle. There are designated trekking routes and nature walks that have been chalked out through virgin forest, with vantage points that give a wonderful glimpse of the terrain. But for those short on time and looking for some local sightseeing, there are things to do not too far away. Just 6 km from the camp is Satkunda, which has associations with the Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama dug seven wells at the location when Sita felt thirsty. You can still see the well here. About 5 km away is Chudail Dant, where rocks bear paintings that are said to be more than 1000 years old.

The Tower sort offers a breathtaking view of the vast water body at the dam at Tawa near Itarsi.

 

Dhupgarh is the highest point of the Satpura mountain range. It is best known for its dazzling views of the sunrise and sunset. The path that leads up to Dhupgarh offers a gorgeous view of the surrounding valleys, and at night, the horizon is a mesmerizing display of lights reflected from the local villages.

Other camps such as those at Kathotiya, Kerwa, Kukru and Rukhad also teleport you to the heart of nature, and catching up on sleep on a drive here is a strict no-no, with leopards, sloth bears, sambar, barking deer and spotted deer more than happy to be invited to a game of hide and seek. Bicycles available at the camps are a good way to go around with the local guides. For the more adventurous, activities such as rock climbing, rappelling, monkey crawling and river crossing are available at all levels of difficulty under the keen observation of trained instructors.

Kayaking is perhaps the best option to mix up the adventure and jungle experience. The excursions are bound to live you ravenous, and there is nothing better than some piping hot local cuisine waiting on arrival back at the camp around a bonfire that creates the perfect setting for idle banter as the jungle comes alive with the setting sun. The rest of the evening can simply be spent stargazing under the open skies. While certain camps have a refurbished Rest House such as the one at Samardha, the tents are as comfortable and only make the experience more worthwhile.

About 430 km north of Bhopal is the Deori National Chambal Sanctuary. The Chambal river that serpents lazily through it is a haven for crocodiles and ghariyals, while also home to the elusive Gangetic River Dolphins and other dwellers such as Turtles and River Otters. The water bodies are also good grounds for bird watchers, with over 150 species reporting including flamingos, bar headed geese, brahmani ducks and pelicans. An early hour boat outing is a must. Another interesting day trip can be made to the Tighra dam, which is just 23 km from the city of Gwalior. While the dam was originally built to provide water to the city, the water body soon drew birds that made it to their habitat. The arrival of the endangered great Indian Bustard changed the profile of the area and he Ghatigaon Wildlife Santuary was established in 1981.

The national parks of Madhya Pradesh are among India’s most sought-after tourist destinations. All of them offer morning and evening safaris for viewing the wildlife which includes tigers, leopards, bisons, beers, deer and a huge variety of exotic birds.

 

 

A luxury tent on the fringes of the forest.

 

 

 

 

The best way to appreciate the natural landscape of Madhya Pradesh is from above -parasailing offers tourists the opportunity to see the entirety of the vast, enchanting landscape and taking the sheer expanse of beauty that this magnificent state has to offer.

Madhya Pradesh is a havan of picturesque treks in and around Pachmari, which is also known as the Queen of Satpura. Just 5 km away from the town lies Dhupgarh – the highest point in the state at 1350 m and a good spot to gaze at a peaceful sunset. For those who want a higher peak at the surrounds, parasailing is a popular option. A trail past the caves leads to Apsara Vihar, which is a little pond filled by a waterfall. A gentle climb up from here takes you to a vantage point which gives spectacular views of Rajat Prapat, which is the highest waterfall in the area with a drop of about 107 m. About 3 km north of the main village along a trail lies Jata Shankar, which is a cave temple with a natural Shivling that has been formed over the years due to erosion. If you are ready for a longer trip, plan a visit to the Chauragarh Temple. The trail starts at the Mahadeo Temple, about 9 km from Pachmari. The 4 km trail climbs to an altitude of 1,330 m – the second highest elevation in the state where the temple is located. The final ascent involves more than 1,300 steps carved in the rock face.

 

 

 

Another echo-destination is Amarkantak, which lies in the Maikal Hills about 55 km from Bhopal. While it is a primarily known as a religious spot, there are some wonderful hikes in the vicinity.

Time is always a constraint in the wilderness but there is a surprise awaiting you at every step in the forests of Madhya Pradesh.

Kipling would simply agree.

 

 

 

All the Eco Tourism destinations of Madhya Pradesh are managed by the Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Development Board which is an autonomous organization in the forest department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh.

Mentioned below are the Eco Tourism destinations of Madhya Pradesh :

 

Boriyamal Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Boriyamal is situated on right bank of Narmada Sagar Dam. It is part of proposed Omkareshwar National Park , having beautiful floar and fauna of mixed deciduous forest. It is connected by fair weather road throughout the year from Narmada Nagar to Kannod. Hanuwantiya, the aqua tourist station is at half an hour distance by motorboat. It is complete jungle experience destination.

Accommodation
Boriyamal Jungle Camp ( Tents )

Activities

  • Boriyamal safari with Cycling
  • Boriyamal safari with Boat and Bird watching

 

Chambal Safari

 

 

 

 

The National Chambal Sanctuary was formed to protect this pristine river ecosystem, complete with its varied flora and avi fauna. Located in Morena, Madhya Pradesh, the Chambal river which is mainstay for the entire wildlife of the sanctuary harbors a variety of aquatic life like the elusive Ganges River Dolphin, Crocodile ( Muggar), Gharial ( Gavelia Gangeticus ), Freshwater Turtles, River Otters and a various species of fishes. All of which can quite easily be seen by tourists within the sanctuary area, especially in the middle reaches in the downside of Rajghat Bridge on National Highway No. 3..

The Crocodile Centre at Deori, Morena nearby is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Madhya Pradesh and has recently been opened to public. The centre helps breed and rehabilitate Crocodiles and Gharials in the Chambal. The river boasts of a population of over 200 Crocodiles and 1600 Gharials. Active efforts are now to protect the Ganges River Dolphins.

The rare Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista Gangetica), the sole member of the Cetaceans group is one of the main attraction of the sanctuary. So called the Queen of Chambal, the Dolphins inspite of being blind can be seen pursuing their playful antics in the water while coming out to breathe for air. The Chambal sanctuary is one of their safest breeding areas. And one has to really lucky to sight one while cruising in the Chambal.

The surrounding environs of the river are a true bird watchers delight. During the season (November-March) one can see thousands of migratory and resident birds flock at the shores of river. At least 150 species of birds have been identified. Species of birds in abundance are the Bar-headed Geese, Brahmini Duck, Common Teal, Pelicans, Flamingoes and Cormorants. One can have an easy sighting of the Indian Skimmer- the highest population of which in the world is found in Chambal.

Tourists to the sanctuary can enjoy its many sights by motor boats specially provided by the Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh. Complete safety within the peripheries of the sanctuary is ensured by the local authorities. And one can freely enjoy the natural wonders of the sanctuary which during the 50’s and 60’s was largely hidden due to the presence of dacoits.

Stringent measures to protect the fragile ecosystem of the sanctuary are followed by the authorities. The visitors are also advised not to disturb, spoil the serenity of the surrounding environs or help in poaching activities directly /indirectly.

The National Chambal sanctuary can be easily reached by road, rail and air.
Accomodation
Deori Eco Centre, Morena

Activities
Chambal river speedboat safari and Bird watching

 

Eco Centre, Deori

 

 

 

 

 

The Crocodile Center at Deori, Morena nearby is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Madhya Pradesh and has recently been opened to public. The center helps breed and rehabilitate Crocodiles and Gharials in the Chambal. The river boasts of a population of over 200 Crocodiles and 1600 Gharials.

Accommodation
AC Rooms

 

 

Gandhi Sagar Abhyaran Eco Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Terrain of the area present spectacular landscapes, e.g, the topography in the vicinity of Gandhisagar Dam site is of Scenic value. The site in and around the Gandhisagar Dam really present the splendid site, which invariably attracts thousands of tourist over there. Along the bank of Chambal river forest covers are really of great value. Sedimentary rocks enhance the value of the site and at the same time draws thousands of birds in that  zone including indigenous and migratory. Hairpin bends, adjacent to Gandhisagar Dam are truly marvelous in all respect , this is the site where hundreds of tourists comes through out the year.

Main attractions are :

  • The main site Gandhisagar .
  • Chambal Mata statue and its adjoining garden.
  • Overhangs , cliffs and various other peculiar features of the Sedimentary rocks.
  • Hair pin bends with moderate to steep slope.

The site near the Gandhisagar is of paramount significance, a magnificent site, as there the water of Chambal river is spread in such a huge area that it looks like an ocean and there are several islands. These islands get submerged during heavy down power. The island are a favorable abode for the poisonous snakes of rare species. Reptiles remain on these island during the onset of monsoon.

Accommodation
Gandhi Sagar Abhyaran Eco Jungle Camp ( Tents )

 

 

Hinnota (Panna Tiger Reserve)

 

 

 

 

Hinouta range is renowned for its vulture sighting point at the Dhundwa Seha during the monsoon, the major one being at the Dhundwa Seha. Coincidentally, this also happens to be the same location where the first litter of the trans located tigers was born. Elephant camp where trained elephants are stationed for patrolling purposes is also located nearby. The accommodation facilities provided at the gate by the forest department boasts of providing the best experience at the most reasonable price. Some of these accommodations were designed innocatively like tents which will enthrall adults and kids alike with there unique ambiance.

Accommodation
Cottages

Activities
Jungle Safari

 

Kathotiya Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Kathotia is a small forest village only 17 km south from the capital Bhopal, nestled among sylvan hills, ancient cave paintings, wildlife, with excellent opportunities for adventure sports such as rock climbing, rappelling, trekking etc. The Kathotia Adventure Camp is managed by a group of local tribal youth and offers an excellent outing for the people of Bhopal, combining nature, adventure and heritage walks along ancient rock paintings, similar to the ones found at Bhimbhetka. The camp has a basic Rooms and Tented accommodation is available and serves local ethnic cuisine and cultural fare.

Accommodation
Tents & Non AC Rooms

 

 

Kerwa Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

Kerwa Jungle Camp is one of the famous urban getaways of Bhopal. Situated at the sylvan surroundings of Kerwa Dam, it is a must visit place for every individual. Kerwa Jungle Camp offers blend of Adventure and Recreational activities which tourist seldom find anywhere in MP. The south-East Asia longest twin Zip, Kayaking & Rappelling are major attractions of Kerwa. Combined with ethos of Nature Conservation & Community Participation Kerwa offers unlimited thrill, pleasure to an ecotraveller and adventure seeker.

Kerwa Jungle Camp only offers Day Activities

Package
Welcome Drink, Lunch (*Lunch will be vegetarian/*Non Veg is available on cost/*Mineral Water on cost) , Rappelling, River Crossing, Nature Trail, Balance the rope, *Archery (10 Attempts Each), *Paint Ball Target Shooting(10 shots), *Zip Line (One Course)

 

 

Kukru Jungle Camp, Betul

 

 

 

 

Kukru an obscure corner of Satpuda at the border of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra is a true reflection of the above words of William Wordsworth. Overlooking rampart after rampart of Satpuda Mountains welcomes you in eternal tranquility and peace. Kukru is not over crowded destination. Basically Kukru is a scenic village on the Maharashtra – Madhya Pradesh border , with a population of 400, at Bhainsdehi , in Betul district, it is situated on the lap of Satpura Range and about 75 km from the district headquarters at a height of 3500 feet above sea level. Main livelihood source is agriculture and collection of NTFP like mango, Anwla , Jamun , hara and Bahera. In lean season they migrate to nearby cities for work.

Accommodation
Heritage Forest Rest House, Alpine Tents, Non AC Rooms, Dormitory

 

 

Parsapani (Satpura Tiger Reserve) – Eco Jungle camp

 

 

 

 

Parsapani is a small Village/hamlet in Pipariya Tehsil in Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh State, India. It comes under Parsapani Panchayath. It belongs to Narmadapuram Division . It is located 80 KM towards East from District head quarters Hoshangabad. 133 KM from State capital Bhopal Parsapani is surrounded by Bankhedi Tehsil towards East , Sohagpur Tehsil towards west , Badi Tehsil towards North , Sainkheda Tehsil towards East . HOW TO REACH Parsapani By Rail Pipariya Rail Way Station is the very nearby railway stations to Parsapani.

Accommodation
Non AC Rooms

 

 

Payli Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

Backwater of Bargi dam forms a huge lake having enormous potential for tourism development. Realizing this fact, Madhya Pradesh Ecotourism Department Board is introducing “PAYLI” a small village sharing the backwater on its edges, just a 50 km drive from Bargi dam one can enjoy the true beauty of nature and many nature based activities such as:- Trekking, Bird Watching, Waterfall, Boating & Adventure based activities It offers accommodation in Camping Tents & Rest house, Canteen facility. Surrounding area of Payli is also good for nature tourism which includes bird watching, mammals sighting.

Accommodation
Non AC Rooms & Alpine Tents

Activities
Lunch (Veg), Nature based, Water based, Fun based, Cultural based , Stay in camping Tents

 

Raneh Falls

 

 

 

 

Very few people are aware about this breathtaking place which is approx 22 km to the proximity of Khajuraho and 44 km from district headquarter of Panna. This beautiful water fall is situated on the Ken River, and comes in under Chhatarpur district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This is about 30 meters deep canyon formed with pure crystalline granite in different colors like pink, green, misty white, and red to grey. The most fascinating thing about this place is that, there is dozens of small and big falls in regular stretches, some of them are seasonal having furious water flow during rainy season. Ken River is encompasses Panna National Park, and Raneh water fall is just located where this Park is begin to start, this cascading waterfall is magnificently possessed a scenic surroundings of rocks and invariable mounds around. Green pristine forest gives you a glimpse of complete natural paradise and so this is an ideal place for nature lovers. River ken is quite prominent river in central India in terms of crocodile conservation, as an alligator national park has been set up along the banks of this river. Landscaping is become so spectacular in rainy season as the black and pink basalt rock provide a wondrous look and flourish water force gives a mesmerizing look.

Accommodation
Cottage

 

 

 

Samardha Jungle Camp

 

 

 

 

 

Samardha is a small village, situated in the dense forests, nearly 21 km north east of Bhopal. It has been a popular getaway for the people of Bhopal for quite some time. The MP Ecotourism Board has trained and supported a group of village youth to start ecotourism operations as a livelihood. This group now offers ethnic food, bird watching, camping, Cycling, rock climbing, rappelling and miscellaneous adventure opportunities to visitors from Bhopal. A forest rest house and two prefab cottages provide the core of the accommodation while extra tents can be pitched in the rest house compound to accommodate larger groups. Samardha is quite popular with the local corporate staff for team building exercises. Spectacular rock formations, dense forests and wildlife are the main natural features of the destination.

Accommodation
Non AC Rooms & Tents
Activities
Welcome Drink, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Accommodation , Blow to win, River Crossing, Stomach Crawl, Nature Walk, Bird Watching & Volley ball