Tourism-Concept, Resources and Development Classification of Tourist Places, Mountain and Hill Resorts Part 4

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Classification of Tourist Places

The tourists’ places are of many types because of their location in different geographical regions, diverse characteristics of their sites, and a scope for a variety of tourist activities. These are classified to sum up their attractions and amenities as the bases of tourism. However, there are many tourist centres which are multifunctional and offer a combination of attractions in their environs. Such places get the benefit of prolonged stay of tourists.

Tourist Areas and Resorts

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Tourist Areas and Resorts

Tourist Areas and Resorts

Mountain and Hill Resorts

We come across numerous such holiday resorts almost in all parts of the country. Besides the high Himalayas in the north, there are high hills in the northeast, and around the Nilgiris in the South. There are hill ranges of medium to low height in the Vindhyas, Satpuras, the Aravallis, and the Western Ghats in addition to isolated hillocks elsewhere. For this reason, even states which have predominantly plain or flat lands, have one or two hill resorts with the exception of Orissa and Punjab.

Locationally, out of 100 hill stations, the largest group of 42 are in the west Himalayas extending from Kumaon (Uttaranchal) to Kashmir. The next long enough of 25 is marked along the Nilgiris-Western Ghats hill divide forming the boundary of our three southern most states. A bunch of 15 is found along Sahyadri ranges, mostly in Maharashtra and another 12 are scattered in the north-eastern hills. One comes across the remaining six unevenly scattered on central hills, Eastern Ghats, and the Aravallis.

Some of these resorts are relatively more developed and are most popular. Many have the potential to gain importance in years to come and there are others lying undeveloped. We can group these hill stations altitude-wise in three broad categories.

  1. Hill resorts at low height (between 800 and 1200 metres at sea level)

  2. Resorts at medium height (between 1200 and 2100 metres at sea level)

  3. Resorts at great height (between 2100 and 3500 metres at sea level)

Most of the medium height, low height, and few having very great height hill resorts of Darjeeling share the salubrious climate, pleasant summers, but usually rainy monsoon season and mildly cool winters. Some of them located in the Western Himalayas experience severely cold winter with frequent snow fall. They are famous for providing relief to the visitors from heat of the burning hot plains in summer months and recreation in the winter season.

There are the examples of less known hill resorts, not even marked on general maps. These are Morni at 1000m height in Haryana near Kalka, Haflong (1637 m) in north Cacher Hills of Silcher district of Assam, Jampui (1390 m) in North Tripura, Ukhrul (1900 m) east of Imphal in Manipur, Mao (1788 m) on Dimapur, Imphal route, Harsaly hills (1265 m) en-route to Tirumala Temple of Andhra Pradesh, Mannar (1600 m) in Western Ghats of Kerala, unspoilt Matheran (830 m) close to Mumbai, Saputara (873 m) on the second highest plateau of the Sahyadri to the Southeast of Gujarat, and Chikaldara (1000 m) on Satpura hills near Amaravati town in Maharashtra.

Their less popularity and low degree of development are largely a matter of chance for casual neglect. They can hardly be ruled out for being less attractive sites. No doubt they regain their lush greenery and seasonal cascades every year during summer rains. Over a dozen such places are situated on Western and Eastern Ghats or on Satpura hill ranges. Each of them is not without a uniqueness of its own.

Ridge sites like Shimla, Darjeeling, Gangtok or Mussoorie attract by opening out a wider view of the deep valleys and of the snow-clad mountains. The wall of the forest green as a backdrop to the slopes parallel to the ridges adds to their charms. If the forest cover is replaced by wholesale cutting down of the trees and mushrooming of the tiers of concrete buildings, the scenic beauty of the resort is lost. The attraction of the distant views on sunny days is as much like as their mystic landscape wrapped in clouds on other days.

Some mountain resorts like Nainital, Udhagamandalam (Ooty), and Kodaikanal have come up around the lakesides, lying in a bowl, and hemmed in by the hills. Their slopes are thickly wooded up to the water edges. In some cases, like Srinagar in Kashmir and Ooty in Tamil Nadu, the encircling mountains are at a great distance and the sites lie in a wide open valley or undulating grassland. The lakeside resort of Udaipur in Rajasthan is an example of a lakeside resort outside the Himalayan and the hill regions.

Resorts like Mt. Abu, Morni, Matheran, Pachmarhi, Saputara, and Ranchi are situated on a hump backed broad hill tops or on an uneven plateau surface giving panoramic views of the lush green valley or wild landscape. Shillong and Dalhousie are two examples of places situated on a group of hills separated by narrow valleys. Dharmsala in Himachal Pradesh occupies a flat-topped spur projecting from Dhaula Dhar towards the Kangra valley. Long walks along a ridge from end to end of circular rounds of the hills engage the visitors every day. Riverside locations like Manali and Pahalgam combine the advantages of the valley site and the altitude of a mountain. Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh along Indo-Bhutan border, Leh and Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir State, Chail, Shimla, Dalhousie, Tabo, Sangla, Thanedar, and Masholora in Himachal Pradesh are the examples of high-altitude or near high-altitude hill stations.

More than the absolute height, a high degree of relative relief is most attractive. It is a measure of the dissection of the landscape. Greater the dissection, more dramatic is the effect on the mind of the observer. Presence of water in the landscape in the form of a lake, cascade, waterfall, springs or subterranean pools add further charms to the site. Besides the lakes at various altitudes, Dhuandhar waterfalls on Narmada River near Jabalpur and the subterranean pools at Pachmarhi are a few noteworthy examples. The waters provide a sharp contrast to the surrounding hills. The reflection of a nearby forest in water of the lake or of a river imparts the effect of depths to the view.

The scope for water recreations helps to engage the tourists for a longer duration. Nearness of a hill resort to a big city is another locational advantage in the sense that busy urban dwellers go there to enjoy their weekend holidays for rest and recreation. Matheran, Mussoorrie, Mahabaleshwar, Shimla, and Kasauli are reached from Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, and the towns of Punjab within few hours journey. But easy accessibility leads to overcrowding by tourists in the peak summer months. It has degraded their natural environment into an environment of concrete structures.

A single hill station in a state in predominantly flat plain is highly valued. Such a singularity has turned Pachmarhi, Mt. Abu, and Ranchi as important summer resorts for their respective states. Other than the site and the locational advantages, the scope for multifarious activities and for circuit tours for a day or two to visit other attractive landmarks around add to their worth. Organisation of winter, summer or folk festivals, exhibition of local handicrafts, the rare plants, the performing arts of the tribal natives at fairs of some interest enhance the appeal of the resorts.

Many hill resorts play the role of base stations by arranging to snow views, sunset or sunrise points, wild life sanctuaries, temples or monasteries, caves, rocky terrains, rock murals or rock cut image in their vicinity.

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