Seethathodu: Tourism in Gavi should get a much needed face-lift after it found place in the Central budget. The Swadesh Darshan scheme, which includes a revamp to the tune of Rs 1,100 crore of the Pathanamthitta – Gavi – Vagamon – Thekkady tourist corridor, should finally help tap the unexploited potential of Gavi's forest ranges. At present, there are severe restrictions on the number of tourists who can tour Gavi, under schemes initiated by the Forest department.
When the Swadesh Darshan scheme kicks in, there are indications that a lot of new opportunities in the tourism sector will open in Gavi. With a tourist corridor being developed linking Gavi to famous destinations such as Vagamon and Thekkady, the potential for tourism development is huge. Already, under a Rs. 100 crore grant from the Central government, roads are being improved in and around Gavi in the last few months.
The amount allocated as part of the Swadesh Darshan policy is on top of that scheme, under which road tarring and other development activities have been initiated in Gavi and about 40kms around it. The attraction of Gavi lies in the year-round greenery it has, for which the continued conservation efforts made by the Forest Department deserves credit. From Pathanamthitta to Gavi, a tourist can travel through dense forest for nearly a 100kms. This unique feature already draws crowds from near and far and should skyrocket with better facilities.
The Maniyar tourist project, being developed by the District Tourism Promotion Council, is also on this route. The Maniyar Carborundum, Allunkal EDCL, Karikayam Ayyappa Hydroelectric, Kakkad and Sabarigiri hydroelectric projects, as well as the Muzhiyar, Kakki, Aanathodu and Kochupamba dams are all pristine tourist spots located on this route.
A spectacular climate year-round is another factor that can quickly make Gavi world renowned. Even when the rest of Kerala reels in the gripping heat of summer, Gavi's rivulets are teeming with water, keeping the forest lush green, a feature unique to Gavi. Forest officials say that further impetus for tourists is provided by the chance to spot hundreds of species of forest-dwelling animals, including wild elephants and wild boar. A lack of facilities for accommodation in Gavi is perhaps the only thing stopping tourists from coming back for multiple visits.
Presently, dormitories provided by the water department are the only recourse for tourists and it is not easy to get a booking there. The expectation is that the new scheme will take care of the lack of accommodation facilities in the area. Further, on top of being able to go from Gavi to Thekkady, tourists will hope that permission to return along the same route to Pathanamthitta is also granted soon.