World Earth Day is an annual event observed on April 22 to promote environmental awareness and protect the Earth’s natural resources. It is an opportunity to educate people about the importance of environmental conservation and to inspire them to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and protect the planet. As we celebrate Earth Day in 2023, it’s essential to recognize the impact of tourism on our planet’s health. Travelling can contribute significantly to carbon emissions and other environmental issues, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up on exploring our beautiful world. In this context, eco-friendly travel has become a growing trend, and many destinations in India offer sustainable and responsible tourism experiences. By choosing these destinations, you can explore the beauty of India while minimizing your impact on the environment. (Also read: World Earth Day 2023: How being a plant parent can improve your relationship )
Eco-friendly travel destinations in India:
Bharat Seth and Simran, the co-founders of OneLatitude, shared with HT Lifestyle, some of the best eco-friendly travel destinations in India that you must visit.
1. Chicham, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Perched at approximately 14,500 Feet, Chicham is one of Spiti’s highest villages. With a population of just approximately 400 locals, the village, located in the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, is a haven to spot the elusive ghost cat. It is growing in popularity with photographers, who reach here to get a glimpse of the Snow Leopard. Accommodation options in this region are typically homestays, where you get an opportunity to experience the life of locals and live in mud homes, built in the vernacular styles.
2. Turtuk, Ladakh
Most travellers who visit Ladakh will have Nubra as a part of their travel plans. 80 KM on from Nubra, lies Turtuk, a relatively lesser-known hamlet, which came into Indian territory as late as 1971! Located on the left bank of the Shyok River, the village is an oasis of green in an otherwise barren high-altitude desert! Visitors can drive up for a day trip from Nubra, or spend a night in one of the guest houses!
3. Tadoba, Maharashtra
The largest Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, Tadoba is known for its tiger sightings and diverse flora and fauna. The park offers several eco-friendly accommodation options that promote sustainable tourism. Visitors can indulge in eco-friendly activities such as morning and evening safaris, bird-watching and jungle walks. The park also offers opportunities to interact with the local tribal communities and learn about their culture and traditions. The administration has a vision to increase the amount of space for tigers and promote sustainability to preserve the livelihood of the villagers in the region.
4. Munsiyari, Uttarakhand
A paradise for trekkers and nature lovers, Munsiyari, situated in the Pithoragarh district is a quaint community where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Panchachuli peaks year-round! Munsiyari is the base for exploring the valleys around it as well as a base for expeditions to Nanda Devi peak. Travellers can enjoy a stay in an eco-camp, camp out or stay in local homestays.
5. Auroville, Tamil Nadu
Auroville, located in Tamil Nadu in southern India, is a perfect destination for eco-friendly lovers who want to explore sustainable living while promoting sustainable tourism. Auroville is an experimental community that promotes sustainable living practices, including the use of renewable energy, waste management, and organic farming. Visitors can participate in eco-friendly activities such as volunteering in community projects, attending workshops on sustainable living, and exploring the community’s sustainable infrastructure.
6. Mawylynnong, Meghalaya
Meghalaya, located in northeastern India, is known for its natural beauty, waterfalls, and living root bridges. The state offers several eco-friendly accommodations that promote sustainable tourism. Visitors can explore the Nokrek National Park, known for its biodiversity, take a trek to the living root bridges in the region or visit Asia’s cleanest village, Mawlynnong, located in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.
7. Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Located on the edge of The Great Himalayan National Park, Tirthan Valley can be accessed by tourists year-round. The National Park has a host of treks that one can opt for. The valley is also known for brown and rainbow trout, and anglers from across the world come here to partake in game fishing! The Tirthan River is one of the few rivers in Himachal Pradesh that is free from a hydel project, making it a sanctuary for nature lovers. Travellers can experience adventure activities, picnic by beautiful waterfalls, and try local cuisine. One of the highlights is visiting Chehni Kothi, a 1500-year-old, which has been restored over time by locals!
8. Kaziranga, Assam
Kaziranga National Park, Assam, is located in the northeastern state of Assam, India, and is known for its tea plantations, national parks, and biodiversity. The state promotes ecotourism by offering several eco-friendly accommodations and promoting sustainable tourism practices. Visitors can hire a jeep safari to meet the one-horned Rhino up, close and personal. There are several eco-friendly properties in the region and those interested can get in touch with a naturalist to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region.
9. Kabini, Karnataka
Kabini, in Karnataka, is one of the most accessible national parks in Karnataka. A short 5-hour drive from Bangalore, visitors can spend a weekend in Kabini. The beautiful Bison Resort, on the banks of the Kabini Rivers, is one of our favourite places to stay! Many lodges also offer night walks, and activities where a naturalist will guide you through the forest telling you more about the indigenous plants and fauna!
In conclusion, India offers a wide range of eco-friendly travel destinations that cater to the needs of eco-conscious travellers who want to explore the natural beauty of the region while promoting sustainable tourism practices.