As avid travelers, we are always in search of the new and the hitherto unknown. We seek to explore places few have even heard of, let alone travel to. However, in this greed of new discoveries, we forget about the ecosystem we are traveling in. We trample over the prevailing ecosystem of a region, which includes the local population, the flora, the fauna, the culture, the heritage etc.
Eco-tours are travel journeys which make an effort to preserve the natural ecosystem of a place while taking nothing away from the travel experience. India has quite a few eco-tours, some of the best being:
1. A visit to Taj Mahal – Taj Mahal is the most popular tourist attraction in India, recognized by a global audience. This beautiful monument stands testimony to India’s rich cultural heritage. In order to preserve the beauty of the monument, and hence, one of the most important cultural symbols of India, vehicles have been barred in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal complex. A visit to Taj Mahal does not let you trample over the existent ecosystem of the place.
2. Corbett National Park – Corbett National Park is regarded as one of the best habitats for tigers in India. Precautions have been taken to ensure that the wildlife in the forest reserve is protected from poaching, thus conserving the flora and fauna of the region. You can take a jungle safari through Corbett National Park, but it is restricted to earmarked areas only, so that you do not disturb the natural habitat of the wild animals here.
3. Andaman and Nicobar Trip – If there is one destination in the world which can give the coral reefs of Australia a run for their money, it has to be Andaman and Nicobar islands. The islands are known for their stunning coral reefs and exotic marine life, including some rare species of sea turtles. You can indulge in various water sporting activities in these islands including diving, snorkeling etc. However, there are enough restrictions in place to ensure that the marine life of the region is not endangered in any way because of tourist activity.
4. Kerala – A Kerala tour is a must if you are looking for the best eco-tours in the country. It is blessed with the best of nature, including calm backwaters, stunning lakes, swaying coconut palms and much more. Take a trip to Kerala and explore the many delights that the destination has to offer. The human race exists peacefully with elements of nature in Kerala, and various efforts have been made by the government too to make that co-existence even better.
5. Valley of Flowers – A part of the mighty Himalayan range lies within the boundaries of India. The Himalayan range is home to some of the most beautiful destinations of the world, one of which is the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand. Every year, during the summer months, the snow capped peaks of the valley give way to some stunning varieties of flowers, making it haven for botanists and nature lovers. The Valley of Flowers national park is also inhabited by exotic wildlife including snow leopards, blue sheep etc. You can take a tour of the Valley of Flowers, but only through areas where tourist activity is allowed.
6. Arunachal Pradesh – Arunachal Pradesh may well be termed as India’s best kept secret. The largely unexplored territory of this north-eastern state has some amazing trekking trails, wildlife, and exotic flora to explore. There are tribal villages to visit too, which give you a peek into the way early man may have lived his life.
7. Sunderban eco-tour – The Sunderban delta is one of the best biodiversity regions of India. The networks of swamps, marshes and rivers make the delta a hotspot for several species of flora and fauna. It is also home to the mighty Bengal tiger, apart from other species of wildlife. You can take an adventurous tour of the Sunderban wildlife reserve without the worry of destroying the prevailing ecosystem. Enough measures are in place to ensure the natural habitat of the flora and fauna of the region is preserved.
8. Kutch – Imagine yourself driving your sturdy cruiser bike or a rugged 4*4 on barren land covered with salt deposits. That’s Rann of Kutch for you, a vast stretch of barren land in Gujarat. The area is largely uninhabited, except for some local tribes, and some exotic species of flora and fauna. A tour of Rann of Kutch is an eco-tour and an adventurous at that too.
9. Ladakh – When talking of the best eco-tours in India, you can all but leave a tour of Ladakh. The lost kingdom is home to some of the best trekking trails in the country, apart from other adventure experiences like rafting, paragliding, mountain biking and more. Despite the increase in tourism in Ladakh, the place has been left untouched by vested interests of commercialization, making it a fantastic eco-tour of the country.
10. Goa – It may come as a surprise to some, but a trip to Goa could actually be an eco-tour, if you want it to be. There are lush forests in Goa, exquisite waterfalls, and a variety of flora and fauna to explore in the region. If you move away from the party culture of Goa, there are actually quite a few pleasant surprises waiting for you in this Indian state.
About author: Divij Pasrija is an adventurer, budding photographer and a digital marketing strategist. He has been to various trekking trails in India ranging from Ladakh to Kerala. He has been writing since he was 12. Currently, he writes articles on travel for Thrillophilia.