Ralamandal wildlife sanctuary has been undermined despite its rich wildlife for long, and to change that and invite visitors, forest department is re-branding and promoting the sanctuary. With corona virus outbreak that affects the lungs majorly and causes low oxygen levels, the department quotes all the more reason to take a walk up the Ralamandal hillock.
In a study published, US Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year, as shared by Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) Dr Arun Parekh.
Feeling healthy? A walk around the trees and natural wildlife of Ralamandal can make you smile even on a dull day. Another study published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health conducted on 585 young adults says that all the participants walking in a forest experienced less anxiety, hostility, fatigue, confusion, and depressive symptoms, and more vigor, compared to walking in an urban setting.
More 10,000 trees make the green wall
The sanctuary was established in 1989 and is spread over a total area of 5 square km.
The Fauna residing in majority at the sanctuary are Leopard, Black Buck, Sambhar, Chital, Blue bull, Jarak, Bhedki (Barking deer) Rabbit etc. while Teak, Saja, Chandan, Eucalyptus, Babul Bamboo etc.
Long back, the place served as a hunting ground for the royal family members of Holkars as it had a huge population of tigers, leopards and deers.
Parekh added that in order to protect animals and birds from noise and air pollution emanating from nearby highway, a green wall of about 10,000 trees was created. It is 180 metres long and 6 metres wide.
Other than highlighting the sanctuary as a wildlife getaway, it is being re-branded as a family retreat and getaway from urban city areas.
According to the officials of the forest department, Ralamandal is the only such sanctuary in the country which remains open even in the rain.
Walk to the historic route
Photographs, paintings and animal trophies of Maharajas, including Holkar-era weapons, were displayed in the video.
The Shikargah walk-through showed plush and beautiful paintings of kings made by artists, rare photographs of Holkar kings and royal families.
The princely weapons were also displayed. One of the most special attractions was animal skins and models.
They were prepared after the stuffing and chemical treatment of dead animal skins.
Trekking & Ghazebo
What people can do at Ralamandal begins with wildlife photography to trekking and family fun time in Gazebos. A gazebo is a freestanding, open garden structure, sometimes hexagonal or octagonal in shape, with a roof.
Depending on the region or culture, a gazebo might also be referred to as an Alhambra, belvedere, kiosk, pagoda, pavilion, pergola, rotunda, shed, summerhouse, or tea house.
Further, interesting informational videos are played in auditorium for tourists. There is a also an electric car facility for those who are not comfortable in trekking on the hillock.
Medicinal plants, birds & leopard
“Ralamandal has a variety of flora along with fauna that impresses people,” Akanksha Khatekar, forest ranger at Ralamandal, said. She added that with numerous medicinal plants, the place is a perfect spot to learn their identification and uses.
Further, bird watchers can make the most of their trip as winters approach. Ralamandal becomes home to several migrant birds in winters.
“Leopard, one of the most mysterious wild cats, also recently moved to Ralamandal and is often spotted in the sanctuary,” Khatekar said.
Fossil museum & animal rescues
From dinosaur eggs to other fossils, a learning centre is also built in Ralamandal. The rescue team from Ralamandal frequently rescues animals from entire Indore divisions.
Tourists are allowed to see the equipment used for rescue and are guided on rescue process.