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Geo-Tourism in Northeast

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  • 23 Aug 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified certain geological sites across the Northeast for promotion of geo-tourism.

  • 12 locations in the Northeast have been included in the 32 approved geo-tourism or geo-heritage sites in the country.

Key Points

  • Geo-heritage Sites:
    • Geo-heritage refers to the geological features which are inherently or culturally significant offering insight to earth’s evolution or history to earth science or that can be utilized for education.
    • Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent body which is making efforts towards identification and protection of geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.
    • Some of these sites are: Marine Gondwana fossil park in Chhattisgarh; Siwalik vertebrate fossil park in Himachal Pradesh; Stromatolite park in Rajasthan; Pillow lava in Karnataka, Eparchaean unconformity and Tirumala hills in Andhra Pradesh, Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, etc.
  • Geo Tourism:
    • Geotourism is defined as "tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents."
    • It will foster community involvement, improve the local economy and create respect for local culture and tradition.
    • India is a country with diverse physical attributes, rich cultural heritage and eventful ancient history and its subcontinent exhibits imprints of varied geological processes through ages and is a storehouse of interesting geological features.
  • Geo-heritage sites in Northeast:
    • Majuli (Assam):
      • A river “island”, among the world’s largest, in Brahmaputra river.
      • The island is also the hub of spiritualism in Assam because of a number of ‘satras’ or Vaishnav monasteries established by the 15th-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples.
    • Sangetsar Tso (Arunachal Pradesh):
      • It is popularly known as Madhuri Lake.
      • It is close to the border with Tibet and was formed due to the damming of a river during a major earthquake in 1950.
    • Loktak Lake (Manipur):
      • It is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast.
      • The attractions of this lake are the ‘phumdis’ or floating biomass and the ‘phumsangs’ or huts of fishermen on them.
      • The Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating wildlife habitat on earth, is on the southwestern part of the lake and is the last natural habitat of the sangai or brow-antlered dancing deer.
    • Others:
      • Mawmluh Cave, Mawblei or God’s Rock, Therriaghat (Meghalaya); Umananda (Assam), Chabimura, Unakoti (Tripura); Sangetsar Tso (Arunachal Pradesh); Reiek Tlang (Mizoram); Naga Hill Ophiolite (Nagaland); Stromatolite Park (Sikkim).
  • Related Global Concept:
    • UNESCO Global Geoparks:
      • These are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.
      • While there are 169 UNESCO Global geoparks spread across 44 countries, India is yet to have one of its own.

Geological Survey of India

  • It was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Presently, GSI is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.
  • The main functions of the GSI relate to creation and updation of national geo-scientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • It is headquartered in Kolkata.

Source: TH

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