BHUBANESWAR: The eco-tourism project in Satkosia Tiger Reserve has become a centre of attraction for the nature lovers, birders, photographers and conservationists.
The Satkosia Sands Resort at Badmul that recorded visitors’ footfall of more than 4,500 during the last financial year has earned around Rs 1 crore to be ranked as second most visited destination after Similipal.
Started in 2016 with three tented accommodations on the sand bed of Mahanadi river with an investment of Rs 2 lakh, it now houses 19 accommodations and provided direct employment to 34 villagers.
The project that takes the pride to have the State’s first canopy walk facility has already transformed Muduligadia village into an eco-village.
Different programmes like ‘Know your Birds’, ‘Poacher turned Protectors’ and ‘Walk in the Jungle’ run by the community in the nature camp turned out to be fascinating for tourists.
The destination was the first-ever eco-tourism project in Nayagarh district and now it is one of the successful models of eco-tourism in the State.
Boating in Satkosia gorge, birding, trekking, sports, library, canopy walk, bathing ghat in river for tourists and farm visits are being offered to tourists.
Deputy Conservator of Forests (Eco-tourism) Anshu Pragyan Das said villagers of Muduligadia have been engaged in managing the nature camp as eco-guides.
“Cycling on the forest roads along Mahanadi river and boating in Satkosia gorge are the favourite thrills for tourists visiting the destination. It is an ideal place for cultural tourism as well as rural tourism. Most of the community members engaged are rural women,” she said.
There has been significant improvement in the villagers’ lifestyle. While the households repaired with beautiful wall paintings are using LPG gas instead of firewood, they have good toilets, drinking water supply and the village is free from open defecation with plastic-free environment.
PCCF (Wildlife) HS Upadhaya said the objective is to provide good experience to visitors coming to eco-tourism destinations in Odisha and boost the rural economy with the involvement of community members.
“Last year, each family has earned around Rs 2 lakh per month from Badmul project. Wildlife wing has started a dedicated trekking programme throughout the State to attract more tourists and villagers are being imparted training on natural history of flora, fauna, culture and hospitality,” he added.
19 tented accommodations
34 villagers employed in the project`1 crore revenue generated last year