Mahima, a Delhi-based freelance journalist gives us a sneak-peek of Ecoplore, which promotes eco-tourism, on World Environment Day, as Special Feature, exclusively on Different Truths.
My esteemed readers, on World Environment Day I wish to raise a few questions to you:
Do you love to holiday close to Nature?
But how many of you stay close to Nature?
How many of you think before booking a stay as to how Eco-friendly is it?
And if you don’t think that, then why not? After all your idea to holiday say in hills or the jungles is to have a breather from the concrete jungle you live in, isn’t it?
Then why stay in another concrete jungle? Ahem, sorry to say, a resort!
If you have a river or a stream or a beach around you, why do you need a swimming pool providing resort? Well, the same can be found in your city as well!
This World Environment Day, I bring to you my kind of vacation.
Vacation? Nah, a mission to conserve the natural surroundings. And in my mission at lead are my two friends. A former journalist Prerna Prasad, who founded Ecoplore – a platform to bring together all Eco-stays and encourage eco-tourism. And the first one to join her mission and experience the idea is friend and photographer-at-heart but News Producer Nishand Venugopal.
Nishand recently took his camera for an expedition to Pawalgarh Conservation Reserve, which is a heaven for bird watchers. Birds that have left cities long back.
Situated near Jim Corbett National Park, Pavalgarh is a tourist hub of nature lovers.
But for Nishand the experience was out-of-the-world due to his choice of accommodation and way of exploring the reserve.
So Nishand reaches Camp Hornbill. I let Nishand define the place. He says, “I was in such a captivating surrounding for the first time, that I could not believe my eyes. I was not staying at the luxurious extension of the concrete jungles we city-dwellers live in. Instead, I was in a kind of heaven: mud huts and tents in the lap of nature with gurgling streams and a thick forest surrounding the area. No words enough to explain the beauty and joy.”
And a joyous Nishand was out with his camera clicking some 45 species of birds. Yes, birds, which can hardly be seen in our cities. Sparrow, our childhood companion, is almost on the verge of extinction. As he filled his camera and own memory with birds, birds and more animals, his heart filled with pride. A mission to help these birds stay alive, by simply changing his choice of accommodation!
“Crested Kingfisher, Indian Pitta, Blue Whistling Thrush, Blue Flycatcher, Brown Fish Owl, Himalayan Bulbul, Ashy Bulbul, Yellownape Woodpecker. You name it, and I saw them and captured them on my camera. In short, my eco-stay, though very short, was an experience I would cherish forever.” The happiness was palpable in Nishand’s voice.
At Pavalgarh, you can do this and much more at a very nominal price per day, which includes three meals, nature walks, rafting, mountain cycling, rock climbing, internal transportation, trekking, bird watching, river crossing, water surfing, guided nature walks, cycling, mountain biking, ladder climbing, river trek, village tour, picnic on the riverside, village lunch, volleyball court, campfire, swings.
So not only eco-friendly but pocket-friendly as well.
Additional Paid Activity: Wildlife Safari to the Tiger reserve.
Ecoplore emphasises on two major things by which they differentiate between an eco-stay and a concrete hotel.
1. At least 33% area of the campus of the stay should be green (tree cover)
2. Major building construction should not be concrete. It could be anything else like mud, thatch, stone, wood, etc.
Prerna details, “There are a lot of other criteria like rainwater harvesting, own electricity generation, home-grown vegetables, composting etc. The more of these criteria fulfilled by the accommodation, the higher its rating by Ecoplore.”
Surprising isn’t it, rating here is not by the money on luxury you spend here, but how much the place is contributing in conserving nature. Isn’t it superb? How many resorts fall into this category? At least I know none.
As I am lost in my thoughts and analysis, a determined Prerna goes on, “The entire idea and vision of setting up of Ecoplore is not to make money, but promote eco-stays over concrete hotels. All the popular tourist spots like Shimla, Manali, Munnar, Ooty, etc., are now full of concrete hotels. They have lost their serenity. People no longer want to visit them and are looking for offbeat experiences. So why not connect them to nature in a way they can’t go back.”
A rising pitch and her last sentence shook my senses. A sense of anger behind her assertive voice was evident. It reminds me how I still haven’t planned my summer vacation since I too fall into the category of people looking for peace in the real lap of nature. But where is true nature?
The hills of Solan, near Shimla, where I spent most of my childhood are mere hillocks with buildings, buildings, and more buildings. My childhood is lost forever. And what do I plan for my future kids? The same? No, never.
Cut to the present situation. Here, I am getting roasted in Delhi, which was today simmering at 48 degrees Celsius. Why? Because we Delhites fell trees to give space to our dream house in a multi-storey society. We ate up villages too!
So my pledge today is to always not just explore, but Ecoplore. And being a woman an added advantage tells Prerna, “Special look-after of a solo woman traveller and her security.” What more do I want? Can I jump with joy?
So as I pack my bags and do my bit by planting trees on World Environment Day, June 5, you too surely do the same for the sake of your children.
And also watch the following video by Ecoplore and do your bit for Mother Nature by picking up an eco-friendly vacation this season.
We will include you in our series. Yes, our mission for a Green Earth has just begun! Keep reading this place and FB page of Different Truths and Ecoplore for how to be a good Earth-izen!
Photos by Nishand Venugopal, Video by Ecoplore, Prerna Prasad
Solan Photos from the internet.
#WorldEnvironmentDay #GoGreen #EcoFriendlyHoliday #EcoStay #SaveTrees #ConserveNature #SaveAnimals #SaveMotherEarth #
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