Sindhudurg At The Centre Of The Asian Biodiversity Hotspot

The Western Ghats are at the centre of Asia’s largest known bio-diversity hot-spot, and at the centre of the Western Ghats lies Sindhudurg.  This unique position has resulted in many representative species of the northern and southern regions to exhibit their presence.  Arts and crafts from the region have been gifted by the Indian kings to the British monarchy, and are preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum. This place is well known for its Malvani cuisine, cashew and the succulent Alphonso mango.

The Ghats harbour approximately 5,000 species of vascular plants of which about 1,700 species being endemic. Of the 58 endemic plant genera, nearly three-quarters are monotypic. Of the 490 tree species, 308 species are endemic. Of the 267 species of orchids, 130 are endemic. There are more than 450 known bird species, of which about 35 are endemic. The hotspot is home to about 140 mammal species, although less than 20 are endemic. Of the region’s more than 260 reptile species, about 175 are endemic. Endemism is marked among amphibians, approximately 175 species, roughly 130 are endemic. Among the endemics amphibians, over 85 species are considered threatened. Nearly 140 of more than 190 species of strictly freshwater fishes are endemic to the hotspot. Among invertebrates, 100 of nearly 140 tiger beetle and 37 of the 330 butterfly species are endemic. Oliver Ridley turtles are found to lay eggs on some beaches and Leatherback turtles too find their way to the pristine shores of this land. On a clear day, you can see the sea-bed through a depth of 20 feet. Dolphin sighting is an attraction. The coral reefs around the coast are supposed to be bigger than the ones at the Great Barrier Reef – Australia.

The bauxite-capped tropical hill forests of Dajipur carry forests of tall and medium trees, shrubs, climbers, bamboo, ferns and medicinal herbs. Plateaus are covered by grasslands. The last forest census recorded five tigers, though difficult to sight.  Inhabitants include the king cobra.

Amboli receives the second highest rainfall in India. Amboli is known for its unique biodiversity, flora and fauna. There are more than 69 varieties of medicinal plants growing here. A species of Caecilian, a legless amphibian, has been discovered and described from Amboli.

Mindful tourism is dedicated to sustainable development at grass root levels through the revival of traditional art, education, empowering rural women through self-help groups and by creating “branded” home stays.   The homes are constructed using natural materials such as laterite, mud, and timber. Due to their local abundance, bamboo, coconut and sea shells have been extended to design the interiors of the rooms. The flush tanks in the restrooms operate at half turns for low consumption flushes. All domestic drain water outlets are directed to the plants and trees surrounding these homes. Being located in villages, all homes have wells used for rainwater harvesting. Homes are naturally well lit and ventilated.  None of the homes uses air conditioning since it is not required for air management and ventilation at the design stage itself. Small vermin-culture units for organic composts to nurture the vegetable patch in all homes, low consumption firewood water boilers and terracotta coolers are environment-friendly endeavours typical of the homes used by our guests. Bamboo is planted to landscape the surroundings as it cleans the air more efficiently than any other plant or tree, plus the commercial value of bamboo provides a sustainable source of income.

A homestay is a unique experience that combines the comfort of personalized service, with the warm hospitality of a home. Staying with a local family in their home is easily the best way to get the true flavour of the region. Each of the homes is unique and has a character and charm that is defined by the personality of the host family.

The district head-quarters Sawantwadi has been known as a handicrafts town for over 250 years, however, traditional art goes back to the 7th century and include wooden handicraft, pottery, gold and silver embroidery, lacquer ware and ganjifa playing cards.

The Malvani cuisine is predominantly non-vegetarian, and include many vegetarian delicacies. Although an independent cuisine, it overlaps Maharashtrian and Goan cuisine.

1    Sindhudurg Lunch & Dinner
Check-in at the home-stay in the north of the district. The evening is at leisure.

2    Sindhudurg Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Early this morning you leave on a Dolphin Watch at sea by a private boat . Breakfast with the fishermen. Go home with the fresh catch. There will be a cooking demo with the hostess at the homestay. Enjoy your lunch at the homestay. Siesta after lunch. Evening a leisure walk to the local market. Enjoy a folk musical program. Dinner at the homestay.

3   Sindhudurg
Full day at the Dajipur Wildlife Sanctuary, following bear and bison trails.

4    Sindhudurg Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Today enjoy a picnic at the Padagar waterfalls.

5    Sindhudurg
After breakfast go on a visit to Vijaydurgh Fort. Lunch is at a local eatery. Later visit Kunkeshwar Temple and spend time on the beach. Dinner at the homestay

6    Sindhudurg
Spend a day spent with a mango farmer in his orchard. Lunch with the mango farmer. Post lunch visit Girye Mango Research Station. Dinner back at the homestay.

7 Sindhudurg
Have a relaxed morning. Enjoy a ayurvedic massage. Post lunch visit Pinguli Tribal Puppetry village. Visit the Puppet Museum, interact with the puppeteers and enjoy a show. Dinner back at the homestay.

8 Sindhudurg
After breakfast, checkout and continue your journey.

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