Monthly Archives for December 2015

Pondicherry – Where India meets France

Blog, Destinations, Weekend Getaways - GoroadTrip - December 28, 2015

With its chilled out laid-back atmosphere, Puducherry Tourism’s tagline ‘Give time a break’, aptly sums up a holiday spent here. Pondicherry (Puducherry), with its quaint French names, its boulevards and grand villas is dotted with restaurants and cafes serving French and international cuisine, and delicious seafood.

1. Promenade Beach

Promenade Beach is one of Pondicherry’s most enduring landmarks and its most popular beach. While the beach per se is a rocky stretch, the 1.5 km long Beach Road or Goubert Avenue, which runs parallel to the Beach, is well-maintained and is a great place for a leisurely evening stroll.

2. Manakula Vinayagar Temple

Manakula Vinayagar Temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha is a famous temple in Puducherry (Pondicherry).

3. Chunnambar Backwaters

The Chunnambar Backwaters is a very popular destination for fun, sports, romance, and beauty. The water is clean and the sand pristine.

4. Aurobindo Ashram

Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry’s most well-known tourist attraction attracts spiritual seekers not only from India but from across the globe.

5. Auroville Beach

Auroville Beach is a beautiful beach located in the vicinity of Auroville. It is situated along the shoreline bordering the Bay of Bengal and is a famous destination among tourists who visit Pondicherry.

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DATR: ‘India’s Future Tiger Reserve’

Blog, Wild life & Conservation - GoroadTrip - December 16, 2015

To be called ‘India’s future tiger reserve’ is impressive in itself; living up to the title is quite a task and one that Dandeli – Anshi Tiger Reserve (DATR) accomplishes impressively. Anshi National Park was granted its status as a tiger reserve the same year as Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, in 2007; along with six adjacent protected zones in north Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, they form over 2000 kilometer square of uninterrupted forest area. This is extremely important in laying the foundation for successful conservation, especially with regard to an animal as territorial as the tiger.

With a larger vision in mind, the concerned Forest Departments are already working in tandem, having set the wheels in motion with forging an undisturbed belt for tiger protection. As part of this, they have also been working on designing scientific itineraries tying together Bhadra, Dandeli, Anshi and Goa so that they function as one unit. Splayed over three states, this wide range puts DATR and Bhadra in the run, lending it the potential to be one of the largest protected areas of the Western Ghats; a corridor that will assume first priority in the national efforts to’Save the Tiger’.

It is shocking to learn that the range of the tiger has been slashed by 93% in the last century alone. A regal predator that once hunted throughout east Russia and Turkey; central and south Asia is now scattered, surviving in habitable forests from India to southeast Asia, the Russian far east and Sumatra.

Though solitary in nature, tigers need a vast area for mating, territory and food; fragmenting available forests with imagined political borders adversely affects their survival. Still, some of its range has been well maintained under a plan called Double Dhamaka.

As part of this, the Forest Department of Uttara Karnataka offers a compensation to villagers in and around Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary if they will relocate to alternate housing provided by the former. This incentivized scheme is working rather well and has given several families the chance to play an albeit small but relevant role in tiger conversation.

Quite apart from addressing the major issue of forest fragmentation in protecting the tiger’s range, DATR is also being prepped as a popular destination for tourism along with its neighbor in Goa. Be it river rafting along the rapids of Kali, trekking against the backdrop of the majestic Dudhsagar or exploring the caves at Syntheri rock, eco-tourism is taking shape and the Forest Departments are certainly headed in the right direction.

That said, many state and national highways run through these protected areas and what is most exciting about them is that you are not limited to thoroughfare but can actually spend quality time immersed in the wild. This is a golden opportunity; as is with all great opportunities, one has the responsibility to to exercise great caution.

For one, it is a disgrace to know that these parts see rising numbers of road kill, from reptiles, small mammals to a wild cat as rare as a malinistic leopard. The immensity in micro habitat means that even smaller animals are affected by reckless driving, the absence of speed breakers only pronounces the problem as the Forest Departments struggle with regulating popular tourism.

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Wildlife in Gokarna: The Sanderling

Blog, Destinations - GoroadTrip - December 7, 2015

The Westernmost edge of the Sahyadri Range in Karnataka takes shape in Gokarna before the land mass of the subcontinent surrenders to the Arabian Sea. The west coast is, quite easily, India’s most sought after and lauded sea front.

Goa and Gokarna come to mind instantly when we speak of India’s west coast. Many travel far and wide for just a few days spent in serene afternoons on its sunny shores. Quite a few crave the warmth of the Gokarna sun and the peace of its shore.

There is one and only one esteemed visitor, however, who flies themselves over continents and oceans to winter on these brilliant beaches – the sanderling.

This long distance migratory water bird flies all the way from the Arctic in flocks, to visit the length of the Indian coastline. Their itinerary is widespread as the range of this beautiful bird stretches half the world. They pass through North America, South America, Europe, South Asia, Australia and parts of the Pacific Islands.

Arriving from high Arctic breeding grounds, the sanderling travels distances between 3,000-10,000 kilometers – mighty impressive indeed. They choose to nest on dry, stony regions around wet grounds; ideally between 60 – 800 meters above mean sea level.

It is unfathomable, the distances that the sanderling travels, covering nearly all sandy tropical and temperate coastlines – save Antarctica – each year. Though its winter migration takes it largely to coastal sandy beaches, it has been seen around sandbars, inland lakes, rivers and the occasional mudflat. It definitely prefers rocky shores such the black, jagged rocks of Gokarna.

When in Gokarna, in Indian winter months, you can spot this elegant white and brown bird in varying flock strengths on the shore. Their elegant bicycling style of walking is interesting to watch as each bird hurriedly hunts out little creatures of the sea. They feed on plankton, crustaceans and invertebrates that lap up along with each wave. Their feeding behavior is spectacularly peculiar to watch.

Lifting each black leg in a cycling motion, they dance on the wet beach sand and quickly dip their black beaks around two centimeters deep in the hope of nabbing a crab or two. They can be seeing rushing toward the water as it recedes, or quickly retreating in response to an oncoming wave. This behavior goes to show that the sanderling is a truly adaptive bird.

Want to do an adventurous activity? A trek from Gokarna Beach to Om Beach to enjoy the wild life of the region.

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