Recreational resources of India: national parks and reserves

16 places worth visiting in India - h

One of the main and historically first preconditions for the emergence and development of tourism in India is its natural and recreational resources. In the conditions of modern urban civilization, their attractiveness not only has not weakened, but is also becoming increasingly important for both domestic and international tourism.

The uniqueness of India's nature is well known. The peculiarities of the geographical position of the Indian subcontinent, stretching between the highest mountain system in the world and the warmest ocean, have determined the diversity of its natural complexes. Currently, there are about 45 thousand plant species on the territory of the country, of which 15 thousand are endemic. All major classes and families of animals, birds and insects are represented, numbering about 82 thousand different species, including 2500 fish species, 150 amphibian species, 450 reptile species, 2000 bird species, 850 mammal species and more than 60 thousand insect species [1 ].

It is not surprising that India is the second country in the world in the number of specially protected areas and the first in their area. To preserve and enhance the flora and fauna, there are more than 500 national parks, reserves and sanctuaries.

The nature of the country has firmly entered the spiritual context of Indian culture and, in general, Hindu civilization. Perhaps it was India that was the first region of the planet where people paid attention to the need to preserve nature. Since ancient times, the image of a tree associated with the myth of the creation of the world has been of great importance in the Indian religious tradition. So, in the ancient Agni Purana it was said that trees should be objects of worship. And in the IV century. BC e. the brahmana Chanakya Kautilya, who served as the first minister of the state of Pataliputra under Emperor Chandragupta I, wrote in his treatise on the art of state administration Art Hashastra: “It is forbidden to cut trees, cut bamboo and reeds, mow grass, collect brushwood and leaves, burn charcoal, to kill animals for the sake of their skins, fangs or bones ”(quoted from: [2, p. 7]). In the III century. BC ... Emperor Ashoka forbade hunting and issued an edict listing birds and animals that must not be killed; by the same edict, it was forbidden to burn forests. Thus, the modern concept of national parks and reserves is the embodiment of the ancient idea of ​​mercy to all living things that existed in India. The origins of these ideas can be found in the ancient Vedas, and working models - in Arthashastra [2].

However, over the past centuries, the state of the flora and fauna of India has noticeably deteriorated, and there are many reasons for this. In the recent past, wild elephants were caught and trained for use in wars. Rhinoceroses were destroyed for the sake of their skins, which were used to make shields for warriors. When India was an English colony, the favorite pastime and "sport" of both Indian maharajas and princes and high-ranking British officials was tiger hunting - one of the first types of hunting tourism in India. To meet the needs of an ever-growing population, forests were randomly cut down - this was required by the development of agriculture and industry. Wild animals were forced to look for a new habitat. As a result, their numbers have declined sharply, and many species are now threatened with extinction. So, at the beginning of the 20th century, according to the most rough estimates, there were from 40 to 50 thousand tigers in India, in 1972 their number was reduced to 1827 individuals [2].

The fauna of India also suffered greatly in the first years of sovereign existence (after gaining independence in 1947): the princes and princelings were deprived of their former power and did not look after the lands, and poachers, who did not set the rules for a penny and the orders of the Forestry Department began to exterminate wild animals. The new government of independent India was burdened with countless urgent problems, and by the time it was able to take up the protection of the animal kingdom, significant damage had already been done.

For many years, there has been heated debate about whether it is worthwhile to engage in the protection of wild animals in a country where human care is urgently required. The answer to this question is not as self-evident as it might seem, it requires foresight and large-scale thinking. Animals are the most accurate indicators of forest health, and are as important to agriculture as they are to wildlife. In this complex interdependence, the protection of the animal world ceases to be just an act of mercy and becomes a matter of human survival.

In 1962, the Committee for the Conservation of Wild Animals was established in India, and the creation of national parks and reserves began. Their network stretched from Kashmir to Cape Kumari and further, to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. To date, 83 national parks, 447 reserves, 23 tiger reserves, 200 zoos and 8 biosphere reserves operate in India with the aim of preserving rare and scarce species of flora and fauna [3]. The results of systematic work on the conservation of forests and wild animals, carried out with the support of the World Fund for Conservation of Nature and the International Union for the Conservation of Natural Resources and other organizations, attracted the attention of the general public. Howl prevented the threat of extinction of such rare species as the bristly hare, pygmy wild pig, crocodile, tiger, rhino, hangul, tamin and the great Indian bustard. India's efforts to protect rare animals are very important, as the country is home to about 60% of the world's tiger population, over 50% of Asian (Indian) elephants, 80% of one-horned rhinos and the remnants of the Asiatic lion population.

The Government of India has a strong commitment to environmental and wildlife conservation. This was reflected in the creation and implementation of government programs for the conservation of tigers, elephants, and the organization of biosphere reservations. Thus, the Tiger project, launched in 1973, halted the extinction of these animals, led to an increase in their population and the opening of tiger reserves in Ranthabhor, Sariska and Sunderban [4].

It is considered to be the largest number of protected natural areas in Africa. However, this is not the case: in terms of the area of ​​protected areas of wildlife, India occupies a leading place (about 4.5% of the country's territory). Their total area is more than 140 thousand km 2, i.e. four Holland. These territories, where hunting is prohibited, are home to about 400 species of various mammals and over 1200 species of birds. The most popular reserves are those in which tigers live.

India's first national park, Hailey, was founded in 1935 in the state of Uttar Pradesh at the foot of the Himalayas. In 1970, there were only five national parks in India (Kanha, Bandavgarh, Shivpuri, Taroba and Corbett). By the beginning of the XXI century, there were already 83 of them.

Recreational resources of India: national parks and reserves

There are many things that surprise and fascinate in this strange country. Experienced travelers, unlike those who first went abroad, may not pay attention to many traditions and events in India. However, when it comes to traffic, then, regardless of the frequency of visiting this country, it is impossible to get used to it and understand it. So what's special?

Vehicle variety

On the highways of megalopolises and on small country streets, you can find a variety of types of transport. In addition to common means of transportation such as cars, bicycles, buses and motorcycles, there are often:

  • Rickshaws.
  • Camels.
  • Elephants.
  • Donkeys.
  • Barrels on wheels.

In other words, everything that can move on the roads and carry cargo, you will surely see on the roads of beautiful India. At the same time, regardless of the degree of exoticism, each vehicle is an equal participant in road traffic.

On the condition of roads and on the presence of traffic signs

Even for tourists who have been to underdeveloped countries, they are surprised at the sight of Indian roads. For example:

  • Literally everywhere for two-way traffic there is one lane without any markings. Road width in India is the single lane width of our version of the roads multiplied by approximately 0.. wider asphalt pavement can be found on federal roads.

  • Even in large settlements, you are unlikely to find sidewalks. They simply do not exist. But the roadside can be found at times. Thousands of passers-by are forced to move along the road, mixed with transport.

  • There are very few road warning or warning signs, as well as traffic lights. The local population does well without them. Most often, you can find a sign that warns of a sharp turn, and the presence of a traffic light does not mean its performance at all.
  • The level and quality of the pavement almost everywhere matches the quality of our rural roads - the roads of India are indeed very close.

One of the main and historically first preconditions for the emergence and development of tourism in India is its natural and recreational resources.

Direct flights from Russia to Delhi and Mumbai are available only to Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents, the rest of the Russians fly charters only to the state of Goa. But Goa is not exactly India, so I advise you to visit other interesting places to really feel the taste of a fabulous country.

Kashmir

Despite the fact that the state of Kashmir is located near the Indian-Pakistani border and there are frequent military clashes, it ranks first among the tourist routes among the Indians themselves. First of all, thanks to the amazing Himalayan nature.

The sacred capital of the state of Srinagar is located right on the water of the mountain lake Dal. Winters are snowy here, summers are blooming and hot.

The state is almost completely Muslim, but there are many places of pilgrimage for representatives of other religions. For example, the house-museum and the grave of Jesus Christ, who, as all 1.3 billion Indians are sure, did not die on the cross at all, but calmly lived out his life in Kashmir, while acquiring numerous offspring.

Ladakh

The highland state of Ladakh is also called Little Tibet. You will not see anything Indian there, everything is like in real Tibet: Buddhists, monasteries, ribbons and mountains. But what mountains!

The best time to visit is, of course, summer. But at the same time, it is desirable for tourists to have a decent physical fitness. The very long-term stay at an altitude of 5000 to 6000 meters is not easy for everyone.

Those who seek, above all, peace, go to Ladakh. The locals are friendly, but extremely soulful. In general, you will hardly be able to find a bar with alcohol :)

Manali

The town of Manali in the foothills of the Himalayas is a well-known mountain health resort in India. It is located at an altitude of 2000 meters, so there are still no such snowy peaks as in Ladakh, but there is a mountain taiga familiar to the Russian eye - with huge pines, rocks and waterfalls.

Tourists have been accepted here for a hundred years, so there is a lot to do. If you want - swim in hot springs, or climb the mountains, or fly on a paraglider ...

Manali attracts extreme travelers by its road to it - one of the most dangerous in the world.

60 km north-west of Jammu at an altitude of 1700 meters is the famous Vaishno Devi cave temple dedicated to the three goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati, which is visited by thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year. The depth of the cave is 30 m, and the height is 1.5 m. On the full moon of the month of Kartik (October-November), when the Durga Puja holiday is celebrated, symbolizing the victory of the goddess Durga over the demon Bhairon, the number of pilgrims reaches tens of thousands. Since no more than 12-15 people can be in the cave at the same time, the line to the sacred shrine stretches for several kilometers.

How to get there: by car to the village of Katry, and then 14 km - on foot.

Amritsar is the main center of Sikhism and the largest city in the state of Punjab. The city was founded by Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru, in 1577. The name of the city means “lake of amrita”, a drink that bestows immortality. The main attraction of Amritsar and the main shrine of the Sikhs is the Golden Temple. The temple is a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim architecture, and about 100 kg of gold was actually used to cover the dome. The temple stands in the center of a large pool. Here is the Adi Granth, a sacred book containing the instructions of the guru. The Sikh ritual comes down to reading the poems of Adi Granth. Every day at 5 pm, the book is solemnly carried around the temple. The temple is open to representatives of all religions. Quarters of the old city are located not far from the Golden Temple. Wandering through them, you can see a small temple of the goddess Durga, erected in the 16th century, the temples of Lakshmi and Narayana, as well as many mosques.

This pilgrimage center is located 11 km from Ajmer and is separated from it by the Snake Mountain. Numerous ghats and temples are located near Lake Pushkar. Here is the only temple of the god Brahma in India. According to the legend, once Brahma was preparing for a sacrifice, which required the obligatory presence of his wife. But at this time the goddess Savitri, the wife of Brahma, was not around, and Brahma married Indra's daughter, Gayatri, and performed the ceremony. At this time, an angry Savitri appeared and cursed Brahma, saying that no one would worship him in any other place except this one, and whoever worships Brahma anywhere else will lose all the results of worshiping both Vishnu and Shiva. Every year on the November new moon, thousands of pilgrims gather in the city to bathe. At this time, a crowded fair takes place. In Pushkar there are the temples of Savitri and Gayatri, the wives of Brahma. There is a belief that those who visit these temples are able to achieve success in science.

This city is located on a hill (1200 meters) in the southwestern part of the state near the border with Gujarat. Ashrams and Jain temples are located here. Ashram Vasishtha is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. Vasishtha is the legendary spiritual master of Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Next to the ashram is the 14th century Gaumukh temple with sculptures of Rama, Lakshman, Vasishtha and his wife Arunadhati. The Brahma Kumaris Spiritual University Center is located on the top of a mountain near Lake Nakki. Branches of this university are located in different parts of India and in many countries. The university conducts seminars open to everyone. Adinatha Temple - a temple built of white marble in the 11th century during the reign of King Bhima I and dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar Adinath/According to legend, 1200 builders and 1500 sculptors worked on the construction of the temple. In the altar of the temple stands a bronze image of Adinath, adorned with precious stones. Near it there is the Mahavira temple, the Chaumukhi temple - the highest of all the Dilvara temples, built in the 15th century. The Shiva Temple is located in the Achalgarh Fort, 10 km from Mount Abu. Built in the 11th century. The Shiva Lingam is installed in the altar of the temple.

WEST OF INDIA

One of the seven sacred cities of India, located in the west of the state, on the Malwa plateau. Ayodha, Mathura, Haridwar, Varanasi, Kanchipuram and Dwarka are the other six. Ujjain is one of the four centers for Kumbha Mela (other centers are Allahabad and Haridwar on the Ganga River and Nasik on the Godavari River). The Kumbha Mela festival takes place here every 12 years, begins on the April full moon and lasts for a month. Several million pilgrims each time bathe in ghats in the Chipra River. The next Kumbha Mela will take place in 2004. There are many sacred places for Hindus in the city. Shiva Temple is one of the 12 main Shiva temples in India. It was built in the 19th century on the site of an older temple. Now open to the public by non-Hindus. The Krishna Temple was built in the middle of the 19th century. In his altar there is a half-meter deity of Krishna made of silver, and the altar itself is made of marble with a silver door. The gate of the temple is also lined with silver. Vikram Kirti Mandir is a major scientific center for the study of Hinduism. The collection of the institute museum contains archaeological exhibits, about 18,000 manuscripts on palm leaves, including the illustrated Bhagavata Purana in gold and silver cover, miniatures of the Rajput and Mughal schools. Ashram Sandipani Muni is the place where, according to the Bhagavata Purana, young Krishna and Balarama received spiritual instruction. Near the ashram is Lake Gomati Kund, which, according to legend, Krishna filled with the waters of all the sacred rivers so that his spiritual master would not have to make a pilgrimage.

In this picturesque city, 187 km northeast of Mumbai. stretching on the banks of the Godavari River, about 200 temples have been built. According to legend, many events described in the Ramayana took place in this place: Rama and his wife Sita lived here in exile; from here Ravana kidnapped her; Rama's younger brother, Lakshman, tired of the harassment of the female demon Shurpanakha, cut off her nose and threw it, and in the place where the nose fell and now stands Nashik.

This is the place 75 km from Nashik, where the great saint Shirdi Sai Baba lived about 100 years ago. Many believe that he was the avatar of the god Shiva, and the saint Sathya Sai Baba who now lives in Puttaparthi is his next incarnation.

A complex of 34 cave temples: 12 (southern) - dedicated to Buddha, 17 (central) - Hindu temples, 5 (northern) - Jain. The temples were built between the 7th and 13th centuries. The territory of the complex stretches for 2 km. The most interesting of the temples is the Kailash Temple, dedicated to Shiva, in cave No. 16. In the center of the cave is the Shiva Lingam, and the walls are decorated with sculptural compositions illustrating scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The size of the cave is striking: it is one and a half times larger than the Parthenon in Athens. This is the largest cave temple in the world. Opening hours: from 9.0 to 17.0, but the best lighting is in the afternoon. In cave N 21 on the walls there are images of Shiva's dance and the destruction of the demon-bull by Durga. In the center of the cave are the Shiva Lingam and the Nandi bull, as well as sculptures of the Ganges and Yamuna. In cave N 29, the murals tell about Shiva, the destroyer of worlds. In caves NN 1-12 there are Buddhist shrines. Only cave 10 was a temple; the rest of the caves were used as monasteries. From an architectural point of view, they are not as remarkable as the Hindu cave temples. The most interesting images and statues of Buddha are in caves NN 2, 3, 5, 6, 10 and 12. Caves NN 30-34 are Jain caves. The temple of Mahavira (cave N 32) is especially interesting.

EAST OF INDIA

A completely unusual country attracts foreign tourists like a magnet. The resorts of India are visited by several million travelers annually. They are attracted by the originality of the people, its ancient culture and the incredible beauty of nature.

In India, vacation can be diverse: there are spacious beaches, and a lot of interesting sights, and ski slopes. The best resort areas are located on the sea coast, so tourists from Russia prefer to visit the hospitable state when the calendar autumn and winter come to their homeland.

In different states, the way of life is radically different, so before the trip you need to find out about all the features of the rest.

The best resorts in India

The high tourist season is from October to March. Visiting the best resorts in India is an opportunity to get into the whirlpool of adventure, feel the atmosphere of ancient wisdom, and find yourself in a reality where human abilities know no boundaries.

Description of resort areas will provide detailed information about their location, infrastructure, attractions and places to stay. What is important to know if you are visiting this country for the first time?

Kerala

On the southwest coast of India there is a beautiful resort, washed by the gentle waves of the ocean.

Kerala is not in vain called the Land of the Gods or the true paradise on earth.

Thousands of tourists from all over the world come here every year to relax on spacious beaches surrounded by coconut trees. There are a lot of coffee, tea and rice plantations, and for the large number of picturesque canals, the resort is called the Indian Venice.

Popular resorts in India, including Kerala, are famous for many places of interest. What you can see here interesting according to the reviews of tourists:

  • Ayurvedic medicine centers;
  • the residence of the rulers of Tiruvantapuram;
  • Periyar National Reserve;
  • the city of Cochin, famous museums and temples.

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