Change they say is the only constant thing in life. Unfortunately this applies to some fascinating places in the country too. A resting place for the departed soul, one of the largest river islands in the world, a monument of love, carpet of alpine blossoms, a region where the only surviving sub-species of the Red Deer family roam about and many such more areas lie in the danger of vanishing. Visit these 20 places before they disappear into the history books.
1) The Western Ghats: Abode of 300 threatened species
Enjoy the crisp mountain air and natural sights while you can. It was only a matter of time before the green treasures of the Western Ghats came under the scanner of builders and developers. With the Mumbai-Pune Expressway cutting right into the hills, it is no longer an inaccessible region.
This teamed up with its proximity to the cities make them all the more alluring. The land zoning regulations that converted hill and agricultural land to residential and commercial ones too do not help in its conservation.
Rich in flora and fauna, this is where more than 300 threatened species reside. There have already been some angry outbursts about how little is done to protect the Ghats and we suggest you head here quick before it turns into a concrete jungle!
2) Rakhigarhi in Haryana: The largest known city from the Indus Valley civilization
If you are into history and have been fascinated by civilization, then this is for you. Another site that seems to be eroding due to development and other causes is Rakhigarhi in Haryana.
Considered as the largest known city during the period of the Indus Valley civilization, this is one of India’s most prized possessions. However, insufficient management, looting, neglect and threat of development loom large.
Dating back to 5,000 years, Global Heritage Fund declared this place as one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia. According to a study of Sunday Times, it was found that the villagers sold the priceless artefacts from here and certain areas have been encroached by private houses.
3) Rama Setu, Tamil Nadu: From the epic Ramayana
Rama Setu is a bridge that is reputed for its references in the epic Ramayana. It starts as a chain of shoals from the Dhanushkodi tip of India’s Pamban Island and ends at Sri Lanka’s Mannar Island. A symbol of unity, geological evidence alludes that this bridge was once a land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
However the proposal of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project by the Indian government would damage it. The project would entail the unfortunate breaking of the limestone shoals of Rama’s Bridge.
4) Sundarbans: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Delve into the enigmatic terrain of wilderness that is the Sunderbans. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and covered with the largest mangrove forests in the world, the Sundarbans is home to many gems, one of them being the endangered Bengal Tiger. It also houses around 334 plant species, various bird species, snakes, crocodiles and other fauna.
Located in West Bengal, an ominous threat lies to the entire region. Low lying in nature, the rising sea levels havealready submerged some parts of it. Due to global warming the sea has already taken down a count of four islands. It is alleged that around 10,000 inhabitants are now environmental refugees. The fear is that the entire site would be under water one day.
5) Dechen Namgyal Monastery, Ladakh: Dates back to 17th century
Witness a monastery that dates all the way back to the 17th century and lies in the winsome land of Ladakh. The Dechen Namgyal Monastery was constructed under the patronage of the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal along with the Tibetan priest Stag-Tsang-ras-pa.
Built along an ancient trade route, the architecture of the structure echoes the monastic layout and fortification. Inside are impressive wall paintings and sculptures. However, you might not get to see any of this since insufficient repairs, lack of financial resources, and limited preservation understandings have led to its decline.