India’s first canopy walk is here!
Did you know the world’s largest treetop path (1300m long) is at the Bavarian Forest National Park in Germany? You walk 25 metres above the ground, amidst the towering trees in this ancient mountainous region in central Europe, and if you’re lucky, you could spot a brown bear, boar or a wolf.
If walking on a canopy seems to be a far-fetched dream, thanks to the Karnataka Tourism Department, you can now experience it a lot closer to home. Making its début in India at Kuveshi, near Castle Rock, the canopy walk is all set to be launched tomorrow.
The 30 foot tall canopy will offer visitors a glimpse into the verdant rainforests of the western ghats. The area is a rich habitat for the Malabar squirrel, lion-tailed macaque, hornbill, oriental kingfisher, white bellied treepie, among many woodpeckers and butterflies. Tree enthusiasts are in for a treat as the zone is home to numerous tree species, some over a 100 years old. The Malabar tamarind, cinnamon, bamboo, Bauhinia, eucalyptus, lantana, silver oak, teak and Jamba are common here, says O. Palaiah, Chief Conservator of the Kali Tiger Reserve.
Vinay Luthra, the brain behind the project’s design, says it began as an attempt to provide people an opportunity to explore the country’s tropical rainforests that make up a considerable portion of the western ghats. “In a rainforest, not much grows on the forest floor since sunlight does not reach it. On the other hand, the treetops are brimming with plant and animal life: mammals, birds and a variety of endemic plants,” says the former chairman of the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board.
Providing the project’s technical specifications, O. Palaiah says it’s a 240-metre canopy built about 30 feet from the ground. It can hold up to 10 people at a time and has multiple platforms.”
Luthra says the most important factor was finding an area with large trees. “Such a project cannot come up in a region with small trees. It’s similar to the tree houses seen in parts of Kerala. This initiative will not only give people a new perspective of our forests but also more awareness about the region’s biodiversity,” he says.