Bharatpur safari boosts eco-tourism | Bhubaneswar News

BHUBANESWAR: The revival of the Bharatpur-Chandaka sanctuary landscape near the city has given a boost to the state’s eco-tourism as the recently introduced jungle safari has been a massive hit among youngsters.
Officials said the Bharatpur jungle safari comprises nine open – 12 and eight seater – vehicles for tourists to explore the 28-km sanctuary, which is spread over 20 sq km area. The safari passes through meadows and deep forests.
“On an average, the safari records a footfall of 60 tourists. Between December 2018 and March 2019, 3,560 tourists and between April 2019 and September 2019, 2086 tourists booked the jungle safari,” official records revealed.
The safari is open to day and overnight tourists (who stay the night at Deras or the Godibari nature camps). Tourists can take safari vehicles from the Bharatpur side, Deras or Godibari. “The number of visitors booking the safari is encouraging. We will take online booking of vehicles in the future to make the process smoother,” said nodal officer (eco-tourism) Anshu Pragyan Das.
Chandaka, which is spread over an area of 193 sq km, has exciting tourist spots at Kuasara, Kochilaberena, Baunsaberena, Pitagadia, Kumarakhunti and Pithakhia, among other places. During the trail, tourists come across these places, depending on the routes they choose.
The safari trail is an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of the sprawling forest and watch wild animals such as spotted deer, barking deer, mouse deer, wild boar, porcupine, hyena, jackal, civets and wolves.
According to the state eco-tourism annual report, herbivores animals will be introduced in Chandaka wildlife sanctuary in the future to attract more tourists. It will also improve the sighting of animals. Boating facilities will be opened for the tourists this year.
The nature camps in the state have been steadily gaining popularity with the community managed eco-tourism, in which nearby villagers run and manage the camps and earn their livelihood. Rural women, who were earlier seen indulging in the destruction of forests, have been generating income from the eco-tourism sites. Around 60 per cent of the community members engaged in all 40 eco-tourism destinations are rural women, officials said.
This apart, till the beginning of 2019, around 600 community members were enrolled for managing the camps. Villagers of the adjoining villages, where the eco-tourism sites are located, are reaping indirect benefits by selling vegetables, milk, food items and different hand-made articles to the people running the eco-tourism sites. These are procured to provide food and hospitality services to the tourists.

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