For almost a whole year, travelling for most people meant heading to the nearby grocery store, and car drives around the neighbourhood were probably more thrilling than ever before. And within the first few weeks of this limited movement, cleaner air and thriving wildlife started to make the headlines across the world. Now, with the pandemic looking slightly less threatening than it did six months ago, travel has finally opened up, although travellers are still taking every precaution.
However, if you hope to leave as little an impact as possible without compromising too much on your plans, eco-tourism could be the answer. In recent years, eco-tourism has emerged as a favourite as it offers travellers the opportunity to explore the natural and cultural heritage of a place while preserving it for future generations. If you’re on the verge of booking your next vacation on Tourism Day, why not make it eco-friendly by heading to these destinations:
1. Thenmala, Kerala
2. Coorg, Karnataka
A place that oozes bliss and tranquil energy, Coorg is profusely enriched with nature’s bounty. Home to the Kodava tribe, it stretches from an elevation of 900 meters to 1800 meters and boasts of sprawling coffee and spice plantations. This jewel on the Western Ghats hosts the Brahmagiri, Talakaveri and Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuaries, and is also home to the Nagarhole National Park which is not only dotted with bamboo, rosewood, sandalwood but also shelters several endangered animal species. The presence of countless waterfalls and gushing rivers makes it an ideal spot for water sports such as river rafting which can be possible in Barapole and Dubare. The terrain is also favoured amongst seasoned hikers who do not miss a chance to explore the earthy landscape on foot.
3. Maredumili, Andhra Pradesh
Take the road less travelled and embrace the hidden charm of Maredumilli – a quaint village in the Eastern Ghats exhibiting rich biodiversity with picturesque grasslands and cascading streams. Developed by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department as an eco-tourism hub, several indigenous tribes actively contribute to conserving this eco-tourism project. The dense greenery also veils numerous trek-worthy trails that provides ample opportunity to explore the wilderness. With many scenic spots including Amruthadara waterfall, Manyam viewpoint, Bhupathipalem Reservoir and over 200 plant species, this is a nature lover’s paradise. Apart from these natural treasures, Maredumilli is immensely famous for its Bamboo chicken, so don’t miss out on trying this delicacy while you’re there.
4. Majuli, Assam
Located on Brahmaputra river, Majuli is the largest freshwater river island globally, exhibits a unique ecosystem and preserves a rich agricultural base. Known as the cultural capital of Assam, this island is inhabited by the Deories, Sonowal Kacharis and Mising tribes. Covered by greenery on all sides, this is a pollution-free tourist destination where you can experience amazing boat rides to get from one place to another. The island is also visited by several types of migratory birds from across the globe, such as warblers, wagtails, thrushes and more. Majuli is known for its vibrant festivals, most notably the Raas festival – a joyous and exciting spectacle that attracts thrillseekers. This surreal island is known to grow about 100 different varieties of rice among which Komal Saul is one you shouldn’t miss out on. While here, make sure to treat yourself to beautiful pottery and handloom items that you can take back home from this island.
5. Great Himalayan National Park
Hosting unique biodiversity, the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal Pradesh, is a nature lover’s paradise and was recently declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spread over 1,170 kilometres, the park covers four valleys and shelters 300 fauna species and numerous plant species. Not only do the high altitude and rich landscape fascinate throngs of mountaineers, but the never-ending forests make for excellent photography and can leave any traveller speechless. Comprising exceptional natural beauty surrounded by alpine meadows, streams and snowcapped peaks, this is the ideal vacation spot for wildlife enthusiasts and leisure travellers. So, on your next getaway capture the unbridled spirit of Mother nature by visiting the Great Himalayan National Park.
6. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh
Stretching over an area of 940 square kilometres and blessed with more than 1000 species of flowering plants, Kanha National Park is most popularly known as the Royal Bengal Tigers habitat. This refreshing eco-tourism core is covered with grasslands, sal and bamboo forests and ravines where you can spot leopards, barasinghas and sloth bears in their natural glory. The best way to start your day here is at pre-dawn when you’ll drive into the sal forests in an open jeep and witness the golden light of dawn illuminate the landscape. The air is filled with the songs of birds as herds of deer graze in the rolling meadows. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a flash of stripes and hear the powerful roar of the mighty Royal Bengal Tiger. Staying at a wildlife lodge is an excellent option if you want to experience the calm solitude and oneness with nature.
With a range of splendid eco-friendly destinations across the country, now’s a great time to swap the sights of the urban jungle for a natural panorama. One of the great things about eco-tourism is that it packs a riveting experience for the entire family. A car like MG Hector Plus ensures a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride for everyone. This seven-seater SUV features bench seats that boost seating space and includes separate AC vents for the third-row seats, ensuring complete comfort for every passenger. The foldable third-row seats also ensure you have plenty of boot space to carry your luggage if you need it.
As you make way through the changing landscape, MG Hector Plus allows you to enjoy the drive without constantly itching to make a pit stop. Whether it is navigation details or selecting tunes to match the mood, the touchscreen panel clubbed with easy voice commands make it effortless and boost your driving experience. Equipped with first-in-class safety features such as Front-Parking Sensors, Electronic Stability Program, Electric Parking Brake and Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, you can clock as many kilometres to the day as you’d like with ease.
As you embark on the pursuit of sustainable vacations in your MG Hector Plus, you’ll discover a spectacular side of travel with your loved ones.