At a time when mercury levels are soaring in the state, leaving the people high and dry, nature lovers had a great escape from the rising temperatures. In an attempt to spread environmental awareness, and to commemorate World Environment Day on June 5, the Warangal District Forest Department in association with Jana Vignana Vedika organised a trekking camp — ‘Forest Bathing’ in the Pandem Reserve Forest in Mahabubabad.
Much to the surprise of the authorities, there was a large turnout of nearly 300 members and it went on to become quite the talking point. Apparently it was Warangal District Forest Officer Purush K. Purushotham’s initiative.
“We wanted to spread awareness about the importance of protecting the environment, and came to know about this concept of ‘forest bathing’. People learned about it through social media and participated in large numbers to make it a super success. Nature lovers from various parts of Telangana participated in the 10-hour camp that kicked off at Pakhal Lake,” states the Forest Officer.
Virul Katla, a student from IIT Mumbai, states that the experience made him realise the importance of experiencing nature first-hand. “It was really heartening to see the kind of efforts that are going towards protecting Pakhal Lake and Pandem forests. I had a great time witnessing the flora and fauna, especially the presence of a wide range of birds in the forest,” explains Virul.
For Madhavi, a housewife, it was her three-year-old child who prompted her to set off on the trek. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to come close to nature. It was surreal. Since our daughter loves to play with mud, we wanted to give her a better landscape to play in. Although she was initially a bit hesitant to climb up the hillock, she enjoyed the trek,” states Madhavi, a resident of Warangal.
Meanwhile, wildlife photographers and bird watchers couldn’t stop raving about the trek. Indaram Nageshwara Rao, a wildlife photographer and Founder of Orugallu Wild Life Society (OWLS), was among the trekkers.
“Since Pandem is a moist deciduous forest, it is damp and filled with tall trees. The oxygen that comes from the trees and other medicinal plants is pure and relieves us from several stress-related ailments. Also, I got the opportunity to spot a rare fan-throated lizard which can only be seen in thick forests,” explains Nageshwara Rao.
Former law professor and environmental campaigner Padma, 67, who went on the trek with a fractured leg, emphasised the need for more such programmes. Revealing that she is a nature lover and that she went alone for the trek, Padma explains, “It was an excellent experience. We went 10 km deep into the forest and experienced Mother Nature. Although the terrain was tough, I managed to walk through it, and it’s all because of my love for nature. I also learnt several things about the environment by interacting with members of the group.”...