Now, Varanasi forests to be next eco-tourism spot

Lucknow: The forests of Varanasi division will now be one of the important eco-tourism destinations of the state. The state Forest and Tourism department will be jointly initiating eco-tourism projects in this region as part of the Joint Forest Management Programme.

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will be funding one of the projects.

The Tourism department has already prepared projects worth Rs 95 lakh, of which Rs 84 lakh have been approved. According to official sources, the eco-tourism project will kick-start with two projects covering the Rajdari forest range in Varanasi district and the Keenaram Sthali at Chahaniya range in Chandauli district. The state Forest Corporation will be undertaking the construction work under the eco-tourism project.The first project will include the development of the Rajdari range, which has a small lake and an island. Estimated at Rs 49 lakh, the project will witness the construction of a Nature Interpretation Centre.

Divisional Forest Officer (Varanasi) Dr P P Verma said: “The entire range has a large number of rare herbal trees, which can be of major interest to not just botany students, but also research scholars.”

“There are trees in this range which are as old as over 150 years. Hence, they can be a major attraction for eco-tourists,” added Verma.

Apart from the centre, the project will also see nature huts, where tourists can see the lifestyle of the local tribals and also live like them. This project will be supported by the JBIC.

In the second project, Baba Keenaram Taposthali in Chahaniya range in Chandauli district will be developed. Rs 55 lakh has been allocated for the project.

The department will be constructing a social forestry museum, which will give extensive details of the flora and fauna of the area. The area also has a pond, where the water is said to have medicinal properties.

“We will be undertaking the cleaning up exercise of the pond and will be putting up benches and flower trees around the pond. We will also be constructing an entrance gate to the campus, called the Baba Keenaram Dwar,” said Verma.

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