The Himalayan range is one of the most spectacular wonders of India. In recent years, the Himalayas have become the focus of much environmental concern. In terms of bio-diversity, the Kanawar wildlife sanctuary located in Parvati valley of Kullu district is worthy of close attention.
Kullu Valley, popularly known as the ” Dev bhumi” is host to diverse flora and fauna found in a number of National Parks and sanctuaries. A metal road from Bhunter, where Parvati River merges into Beas River, leads into the Parvati valley. The Parvati River runs through the valley. The valley holds many small and big villages on both sides. Most of the population is concentrated on the northern part of the valley. The number of houses per village varies from five to sixty. The villages have their own traditions and customs. The prime occupation of the villagers is agriculture and livestock rearing. Electricity reaches even the remotest of villages.
There are numerous gods worshipped in the valley. Every village has its own god associated with their village and have sacred places around the village. The temples are beautifully built and rituals are performed regularly. Strict rules are maintained for entering the temples. Carving is very common in the temples and many temples also have horns decorated on outer walls. The belief is so strong that even the high passes in the mountains have small worship places. One of the popular tourist and pilgrimage places is Manikaran, known for its Hot Springs. This beautiful valley is becoming more and more popular with tourists.....
An explosion of human population with intense human activities has had far reaching effects on wildlife. Extensive deforestation resulting in
habitat destruction supported with indiscriminate hunting of birds and animals has threatened many species with their existence....
Deforestation is again posing a serious threat to both flora and fauna in the Parvati valley. It is not uncommon to hear the sound of an axe striking a tree in the forests.....
Another reason for the clearing of forest area is the need of land for the cultivation of poppy plants popularly known as “charas”. The fear of authorities lead the cultivators of this plant to grow it in the denser parts of the forest and at a higher altitude. A well-camouflaged clearing is made amongst the refuge of the dense trees. Poppies require less investment and care than other crops, but at the same time it yields high profits which lure more and more people into it. The wild inhabitants and the forests pay the heavy price instead.
On one side of the river lies the famous village “Malana”. This is one of the oldest settlements in India. The ancestors of the village are believed to be the soldiers of Alexander’s army who fled and settled in the mountains. The charas cultivated in this area is considered to be of a very high quality. It is very common to see the drug abusers, which are of foreign origin mostly, setting up in the area. It is high time the authorities take immediate steps to bring this business to an end, which is directly and indirectly contributing in destroying the flora and fauna of the valley.
Over the last ten years Kasol has been commercialized into a small township. Back in the early 90s Kasol was a small village bearing few houses. Today numerous houses, hotels and restaurants have sprung up in the region. As the human concentration has multiplied, the road traffic has increased drastically. Both are effecting the ecology of the area.....
by Dharma Singh, April 2nd, 2002
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