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Konni, a forested village in Pathanamthitta district of Kerala, situated on the bank of the mighty Achencoil river has a long and rich history of man-forest interface and is the perfect eco tourism destination. Vast expanse of forests of Western Ghats in the background is crisscrossed by numerous streams and rivulets, which add to the exceptional scenic beauty of the landscape at the eco tourism destination of Konni.
The forests, a repository of rich biopersity were constituted into Konni Reserve Forests by the Maharaja of Travancore way back in 1897, are among the oldest reserve forests in the State.
Managing locations of scenic importance in forest areas frequently visited by nature enthusiasts with the active involvement of local population is a new trend in tourism management, popularly known as eco tourism and Konni is ideally suited for it. Developing visitor locations in the forest tracts of Konni-Achencoil forests and developing Konni Elephant Camp as a facilitation center is the concept behind “Konni Eco Tourism Project”, conceived and developed jointly by Kerala Forest Department and Kerala Tourism Department. Elephant is at the nucleus of the entire project.
The facilities developed at Konni as part of eco tourism activities include elephant viewing, elephant feeding, elephant ride, watching elephant bath etc. An elephant museum, which is planned to be developed as a complete natural history museum based on elephant, also is set up. The project site is designed to be a zero waste center. The elephant dung is converted into biogas and the fiber in the dung is converted into hand made paper, which is an eco friendly product. The plastic waste is planned to be converted into recycled product. Outlets for sale of non-wood forest products and other eco friendly materials are also provided in the center.
The elephant camp at Konni serves as a hub of forest-based eco tourism activities in southern Kerala. Various locations in forest areas also have been developed, which can be accessed through trekking in forests.
Half-day trek takes visitors to locations like Kurichi, Chavarpandy etc., which are locations in evergreen forests. Peruvally in Kallar River is another enchanting location for relaxation after half day trekking. Kattathi, Kottampara and Aluvamkudy are locations, which can be accessed in one day trekking through sylvan forests. Manalar-Kumbhavurutty in Achencoil is a rejuvenating waterfall deep inside the forest.
Forests in and around Konni were originally inhabited by aboriginals, belonging to the Malampandaram tribe. The tribe maintained unique ethnic culture, characterized by highly developed architectural and sculptural skills. This is evident from the remains of very old temples, which are seen even in the inaccessible tracts. The forested tract in this eco tourism destination provides the right climate and environment for the development and sustenance of perse flora and fauna, which include a variety of medicinal herbs.
For more details on the land of pilgrimage, log on to pathanamthitta.com
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