Tourism in Terai Arc: Some Dos and Don'ts

The four areas identified for this study; Pilibhit Forest Division, Kishanpur WLS, Katerniaghat WLS and Suhelwa WLS all form part of the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL). The TAL is an 810 km stretch that extends from river Bhagmati in the east in the state of Bihar to river Yamuna in the west near India’s Capital Delhi. It comprises the Himalayan foothills, Terai flood plains and the Bhabar tracts. The total area of the landscape is about 49,500 sq. km of which 30,000 sq. km lies in India and the rest in Nepal. There are nine Protected Areas in TAL-India that conserve under their umbrella three of the five terrestrial flagship species; Tiger, Asian elephant and the Indian Rhinoceros.  The TAL represents one of the densest populations of tigers in the world. Some of the PAs are isolated refuges and do not currently provide the connectivity required for key wildlife species to maintain their natural ecology and behaviour as well as for important ecosystem processes to be sustained. The vision is to restore habitat connectivity and maintain the existing corridors in this landscape.

The overall ecotourism potential is high in all sites with site specific variations. For example, Chuka is easily accessible from Pilibhit and has enjoyed wide publicity, infrastructure development and a fairly successful JFMC arrangement. Katerniaghat with its critically endangered Gharial is a destination of global importance. Kishenpur in the Jhadi Tal has one of the most important sub-populations of the Swamp deer, and though still unknown, it is already part of the Dudhwa circuit.  Suhelwa has some accessibility issues and is the least known within the four, however the isolation and lack of footfall is one of its pulls. There is a general lack of destination options for the populations residing in these regions, which adds to the tourism potential of these four destinations. Within the larger national and international wildlife tourism context, there is a saturation in the well known destinations and people are keen on exploring lesser known, quieter destinations.

Supported by: Uttar Pradesh Forest Department