Travelling is fun, but how many of you are aware of responsible travelling? You might have guessed the word right. Yes! I’m talking about “eco-tourism”, a way of travelling where you can create a positive impact on our environment and society altogether. Eco tourism simply means visiting the fragile, peaceful, untouched areas without harming the environment with intention to conserve these places. The indecent human invasion in nature’s space has threatened the very existence of the exotic species of plants and animals. Which is why, you as a traveler/tourist should try to minimize the harm caused due to anthropogenic activities and let nature run its course.
Eco- tourism is often confused with throwing garbage in the trash cans, staying in cheaper hotels, feeding animals, clicking pictures with locals, buying handmade items etc. These are just small parts of umbrella activities involving eco-tourism. This post is especially meant for environment conscious people who hope to make a difference through travelling. Here are some amazing eco-tourism places where you can jump straight into the cradle of nature to experience its heavenly beauty and lose yourself in it.
Talk about eco-friendly destinations in India, Kerala stands tall among all such places. With a wide diversity of fauna and flora, evergreen forest, serene landscape, sparkling backwaters and tea plantations, the state is a favorite hub of environment lovers where they can chill out and spend some quiet time in the lap of nature. Thenmala, a sparsely populated gem with untouched surroundings is one of the key places promoting eco-tourism.
Thenmala is also India’s first planned eco-tourism destination. The place is divided into three zones namely-culture, adventure and leisure zones where tourists can take pleasure in the local culture and traditions, get involved in various exciting adventure sports activities and take rest while enjoying nature. Those who wish to rejuvenate themselves while contributing to the protection of environment must visit Thenmala once.
- Best time to plan a trip: Anytime
- Weather conditions: Remain pleasant throughout the year
- Adventure sports opportunities: Rock climbing, hiking, biking, rappelling, boating, rope-bridge, camping, etc.
- Places nearby: Butterfly safari park, Deer rehabilitation centre, Thenmala dam, Tree huts and Shendurney wildlife sanctuary.
Located in the east Khasi hills, this cleanest village in Asia needs no introduction when it comes to eco-tourism. The inhabitants of Mawlynnong have taken cleanliness to the next level which is an inspiration to the whole country. This tiny village is a classic example of “efforts taken by locals for the conservation of environment”. This is the reason why the place draws nature lovers from across the globe.
Sparkling streams, pristine air, evergreen forest, breathtaking landscape, diverse species of animals and birds, and natural caves in this place can blow anyone’s mind. Interestingly, people in this village have completely banned plastic and you can find bamboo dustbins in every nook and corner to put trash in them instead of littering and throwing it on the roads or streets. Spending some time in this village is surely going to change you as a person and give you a new perspective on life. For an enriching experience, make sure to add Mawlynnong (best eco-friendly place to visit in India) in your travel bucket list.
- Best time to travel: March to September
- Weather conditions: From March to June, the weather is neither too cold nor too hot. Monsoon is the time when the beauty of this village is at its peak.
- Places nearby: Living root bridge, boulder balancing on a rock, mawphlang sacred forest, east khasi hills, byrdaw falls and jakrem hot spring
- What to do in Mawlynnong: Sightseeing, biking, trekking.
Nestled amidst the Western Ghats, this surreal hill station is one of the best eco-tourism places in the country rugged by towering mountains, dramatic terrain, dense forest, and azure water bodies. The place has earned many international accolades for conservation of biodiversity. Coorg is known not only for its magical charm but for the efforts of the people in keeping intact its untarnished beauty. A dreamer’s land, this place has everything a dream is made of be it- scenic views, rich coffee plantations, gardens, blinding fog, dense forest, sparkling river, orange grooves and what not! It’s a perfect holiday destination for you to spend some “me” time.
- Best time to plan a trip: March to September
- Weather conditions: The place experiences moderate climate with warm summers, pleasant winters and heavy monsoon.
- Places nearby worth visiting: Nagarhole national park, Abbey falls, Valanoor, Harangi dam, Durbare,
- Things to do: River rafting, trekking, rock climbing, boating, angling, camping etc.
Bisle Rainforests, Western Ghats
Situated in the heart of Western Ghats, Bisle is a small town adjoining Bisle forest reserve- a home to the evergreen rainforest that attracts tourists from all over the world. It is another popular eco-tourism spot in the country that is applauded for the efforts taken by the local communities and tourists to preserve its natural state. Bisle rainforests house a selection of flora and fauna compelling nature lovers to visit it at least once. Bisle is a place where you can encounter wild elephants, leopards and other animals in action. Covered with thick fog, these rainforests are a feast to the eyes where you can also capture nature’s unrivalled beauty.
- Best time to visit: January to March and October to December
- Weather conditions: Bisle rainforests have a sub-tropical climate and heavy rains are observed round the year making perfect weather for travel junkies.
- Places nearby: Sunny mountain, Kempuhole forest reserve, and sakleshpur.
- Things to do: Bird-watching, sightseeing, trekking etc.
Silent Valley National Park, Kerala
Silent valley national park is one of the favorite eco-tourism spots that attracts Wildlife and nature lovers from all the nook and corner of the country. Tucked in the folds of Niligiri range, this park is located in Palakkad district and is a major biodiversity hotspot. Silent valley houses many highly endangered species of animals and birds. The place earned its name due to the absence of the chirping of cicadas, making the valley silent as time.
The terrain of the valley is a little rough and remote making it a perfect habitat for wild animals where they can live peacefully. Venturing into the wilderness of silent valley is a dream come true to many wanderlust and environment lovers. Here, you get to travel through a range of forests i.e. from deciduous to evergreen. Trekking through these forest patches along the bank of the river Kunthi is absolute bliss. The rich and preserved biodiversity in Silent valley has made it worth a mention in the list of best eco-friendly places in India. Here you can spot more than 100 species of butterflies, moths, orchid plants. Some major animals of the park are lion-tailed macaque, tiger, elephant, wild boar, Sambhar, nilgai and Pit viper.
- Best time to visit: October to April
- Places to see nearby: Virgin valley, Kanjirapuzha dam, Palakkad fort, and Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary.
- Things to do: Safari, sightseeing, bird watching.
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Situated on the banks of Brahmaputra river, Kaziranga national park is a safe haven for many endangered species of birds and animals notably the one-horned rhinos. The park has always been a hub of tourists who bombarded the place to an extent that it has resulted in degradation of the environment affecting the fauna and flora. Thanks to the concept of “eco-tourism”, people are now becoming conscious about the environment and taking necessary steps to maintain the balance of nature. Kaziranga National Park is a splendid example of biodiversity conservation. It is counted among the few protected places in the country where you can witness nature at its best.
- Best time to travel: November to April
- Places to see nearby: Tea gardens, Haflong, Kakochang waterfalls, Deoparbat ruins, Basudev doul, Kalyani mandir etc.
- Things to do: Jeep safari, bird watching, river cruising, tea estate touring, and sightseeing.
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
Shimla is a great place to develop a bond with nature and getting acquainted with the concept of responsible tourism where you can promote sustainable living. The place has witnessed a boom in tourism over the last few decades which have harmed its natural environment. Thankfully, with the emergence of eco-tourism, people are now becoming aware of the negative impacts of anthropogenic activities including irresponsible traveling.
This blooming hill station is a perfect weekend gateway to rejuvenate yourself and spend some quality time with loved ones. Misty mountains, snowy peaks, colonial architecture, tranquil air of Shimla will make you yearn for more. Shimla is an ideal place for relaxation of mind and body where you can not only bask in the everlasting beauty of nature but also contribute in conservation of environment through eco-tourism.
- Best time to travel: Anytime except monsoon
- Places to see: Mall road, church, jakhoo temple, the ridge, Chadwick falls, army heritage museum, etc
- Things to do: Shop souvenirs, sightseeing, toy-train ride, ice-skating, rafting, trekking, nature walk, camping, and cycling.
So next time you think of planning a holiday, make sure to include these places before fixing on the clichéd holiday destinations. These eco-friendly destinations in India will not disappoint you no matter if you are looking for a quiet time or fun time with your friends and folks. Have a happy and responsible travelling!