Monday, March 15, 2010

Eco Resorts at Kanha

Tiger tourism is one of the main draw of the visitors from foreign countries and the locals. Tiger reserves like Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench in Madhya Pradesh are very popular for tiger safaris. Corbett National Park and Ranthambhore are also very popular for tiger tourism in India. 

In spite of large number of National Parks/Tiger Reserves greater tourism is limited to the above forests. The reason is high density of tigers and hence easy visibility. Though tigers are present in good numbers elsewhere especially in South India the visibility is lacking due to nature of the habitat. Periyar and Wynaad are examples.

To cater to ever increasing numbers of tourists on tiger safaris the accommodation has been steadily increasing. Initially the rest houses belonging to forest and other government departments were the only places one could stay. In recent times the influx of hotels, jungle camps and resorts has been catering to the tourists.

The concept of holiday accommodation in Indian jungle is steadily changing. The tourists prefer fully equipped wildlife resorts for a stay. These resorts are now being built on the principle of sustainable eco friendly tourism. The ambiances though highly modern is built on the exteriors were eco friendly sustainable resources have been used.      

Most of the eco resorts are built using the same technology as the ethnic dwellings of the tribal villages. Kanha Tiger Preserve leads in this aspect. The new concept has been encouraged by responsible eco friendly tourism which is the need of the hour. Even the energy is obtained from solar panels as much as possible. Though for temperature control electricity is a must. But much of the power is generated using solar panels.  

The ethnic construction is environmentally well heeled and cottages and rooms maintain an amiable temperature reducing the need for temperature control. As in ethnic dwellings the walls are used using locally available mud in conjunction with natural materials used by the tribal. The construction is safe, stable and rock solid as has been proved through centuries.    

The appearance of the resorts is that of beautifully sculptured dwellings in harmony with the surroundings. All this, without sacrificing modern comforts and utilities that the guests look for in luxury accommodations. The eco resorts are well equipped with wildlife interpretation center, trained naturalists, and professional managers and wait staff. The resorts offer in house activities relating to eco tourism iike tribal dance and music - this way they provide lively hood to the locals.   

In time to come eco friendly resorts at Kanha will be the preferred accommodation.  The tourists on wildlife safari do not wish for city type hotels anymore in wild habitats. With increasing tourism awareness of our wild heritage is growing among the tourists. They are more and more becoming conscious of responsible tourism practices.

Kanha and other tiger reserves our life sustaining eco systems. The support vast diversity of life forms with which our lives are linked. Conducting proper tourism will help save these vital ecosystems, and sustain lives of the local communities as well. The tribal are the real sentinels who conserve our green belts.