Indians love to travel. On average when planning our travel we tend to go abroad in search of exotic locations and end up paying a fortune. With over 500 biosphere reserves in the world spread across 100 countries, India, the seventh largest country in the world, alone has a total of 18 national Biosphere Reserves. These reserves display a unique way of preserving the community, with an aim of protecting not only the flora and fauna but the entire region in total and play an important role in the conservation of the wildlife and unique tribes living in the area. If you are a nature lover, here are a few biosphere reserves you can visit for a unique travel experience.
Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve
This Biosphere Reserve, shared by the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, has three rivers – Narmada, Johilla and Son – originating from its land. Visit this dense forest for a refreshing and breathtaking view. The Achanakmar-Amarkantak Biosphere Reserve is located at the junction of hill ranges, with topography ranging from high mountains, shallow valleys and plains. Moist deciduous forests constitute 63% of the area. It is very rich in flora and fauna due to its tropical moist deciduous vegetation which covers the majority of the area and tropical dry deciduous vegetation to its southern part, minimum disturbed landscapes, endemism and genetic variation.
Gulf of Mannar
One of the few Biosphere Reserves in India that is shared by another country – Sri Lanka, in this case – this place offers much to its visitors – right from its rich pearl banks to the mythologically important Ram Sethu point. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve covers an area of 1,050,000 hectares on the south-east coast of India across from Sri Lanka. It is one of the world’s richest regions from a marine biodiversity perspective. The biosphere reserve comprises 21 islands with estuaries, beaches, forests of the nearshore environment, including a marine component with algal communities, seagrasses, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangroves. Among the Gulf’s 3,600 plant and animal species are the globally endangered sea cow (Dugong dugon) and six mangrove species endemic to peninsular India. The inhabitants are mainly Marakeyars, local people principally engaged in fisheries. There are about 47 villages along the coastal part of the biosphere reserve which support some 100,000 people.
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve
Located in the Nicobar island the reserve takes up 85% of the Great Nicobar island. Famous for its unique flora, fauna, tribes and limestone caves, it is also connected to the Andaman Islands. The reserve is the home of one of the most primitive tribes of India, the Shompens. The most endangered species in India, the Megapode and the Edible-nest Swiftlet, also reside in this reserve. The total geographic area of the reserve is 885 sq. km. and is surrounded by a 12km-wide “forest buffer zone”. It presents a varied natural panorama covered with virgin lush evergreen dense tropical forests, which extend from seacoast to the tip of the hills.
Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
At 25,646 feet, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is an elevated reserve that houses a number of vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species like Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, brown bear, among others. Many species of birds can also be spotted here and the national park is considered to be an important bird area and an ideal spot for bird watchers. All important rivers and streams of the Garo Hills region rise from the Nokrek Range, of which the river Simsang, known as Someshwari when it emerges into Bangladesh at Baghmara, is the most prominent.