BHUBANESWAR: What about rock-climbing in the cooler ambience of a forest? Or rather a bi-cycle ride in the woods with the family? May be a few hours of fun watching films in a natural atmosphere? And all this only a few kilometres drive from the City!
Come April 20 and Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary is going to be fun to be in. Packing in education with amusement, the wildlife sanctuary is bracing itself for a brand new concept of eco-tourism which aims at luring in families as well as serious naturalists.
Starting from rock climbing to rappelling, from films on nature to trekking, the Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary is readying a package which the denizens would find hard to ignore. As part of its eco-tourism development, the sanctuary has put in place a series of amenities that hitherto were missing in the City’s life.
Over a 2.70 acre land which the sanctuary management had kept isolated to give itself a facelift, the new facilities are being installed at a brisk pace. A herbal garden, fodder garden and an eco theatre will be part of the educational or knowledge centre the management is coming up with.
Besides, there will be two different trails - a Sal Trail and a Machharanka (Kingfisher) Trail for people willing to go beyond the normal concepts of amusement and entertainment. “We have landscaped and designed the entire area in a manner in which all these features can be accommodated,” Divisional Forest Officer Akshya Patnaik says.
Since Chandaka lies close to a bustling urban space, there has been a conscious attempt by the sanctuary management to instil elements of awareness and eco-sensitisation through the amusement features. The gardens will have a multitude of plant species with bi-lingual signages and those are not just for the educated masses. People living close to the sanctuary will also find it interesting.
The huge elephant gates at the sanctuary will be hub of these activities. The sanctuary authorities have come up with an interpretation centre where touch-screen kiosks have been installed. A visitor can choose from features such as nest, egg, pugmark and scat which will take one through a variety of animal species. In the beginning, database for 100 species will be uploaded. Similar arrangements are being made for the plant species too. This, Patnaik says, will come handy for students and researchers alike.
One of the major attractions will be the eco-theatre-cum-auditorium where people can watch films amidst rows of signature plants and herbs and miniatures of wildlife species seen in this part of region.
Apart from educational activities, the Chandaka authorities have been putting in place amusement facilities for kids and youths too. The rocks are being designed for rock climbing, rappelling as well as wall-climbing. “Tourists can take a net-walk up till the gate with safety-harness,” the DFO informed.
The elephant gate, a mark of Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary since 1990s, has been given a fresh look too. The black facade has given way to a bright and attractive hue. Work for the eco-tourism development project had started in 2008 and the sanctuary authorities carried out the designing all by themselves. An estimated ` 1 crore has been spent on it.
“We are keen on adding quite a few features for over-night tourists so that it becomes a memorable experience for them,” Patnaik added.