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.

Eco - Tourism 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.

Infrastructure

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.

Jungle calling

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.

Biosphere Reserves

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.

Satpura Maikal Landscape

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.

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