• As an eco-tourist, travel, respecting local culture and traditions and encouraging local pride—local cuisine, folk songs and dance, traditional dresses, local etiquette, local architecture. There is a science (gharat) and art (colour) in everything. Be friendly, inquisitive and patient. Respect holy places.
  • Understand that leakage of economic benefits outside the community due to non-local ownership of tourism business is bad. Give a fair price to rural produce by buying local. Indigenously crafted or value added products provide the right livelihood to the locals and use up less natural resources.
  • Think eco-systems—Be conservation conscious. Support friendly resource usage—water through rain water harvesting, use of non-conventional energy; if electricity is unavailable, use energy-efficient kerosene stoves.
  • Be environmental sensitive respect biodiversity. Respect carrying capacity of the physical environment and the resources, knowing that overcrowding leads to a lessening of the tranquility and simplicity of life that attracts you in the first place.
  • Make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, maintain local harmony. Help the guides and porters to observe eco-conservation measures. Remember that erosion of cultural integrity and values due to the introduction of ‘outside’ influences is ruinous to indigenous cultures. Avoid over-use of community infrastructure.
  • Keep local water sources clean and avoid using chemical detergents in streams or springs. If no toilet facilities are available, make sure you defecate atleast 30 metres away from any water source, ensuring to bury any waste. Conservation of water is vital, especially drinking water. Water from Kitchen waste or rain-water through regular harvesting be used for sanitation and use, where quality of water required is not very high. Water source should not be contaminated in any way.
  • Keep travel-generated garbage at the minimum. Composts, recycles and reduced pollution are what must be practiced. Proper disposal must only be at appropriate points along the route. Leave no eye-sores. ‘Leave no trace’ principle be followed. Camping areas should be left cleaner than what you saw when you came. Remember that another party would be using the camp site after your departure. Differentiate between non & biodegradable garbage. Burn or bury paper, natural refuse and litter. Keep for recycling and don’t throw away any non-degradable garbage like plastic bags, foil, packets, glass bottles and metal cans.
  • See that no damage is done to vegetation. Taking away cuttings, seeds and roots without permission of the authorized persons is illegal, especially in nature reserves. Stop people from plucking flowers or leaves. They should be left as they are for all to enjoy. As much as possible keep to the treks/trails/hikes and avoid stepping on to vegetation—you destroy vital biodiversity. Avoid collecting souvenirs. Reduce impact, keeping to marked routes and paths.
  • Damage to trees/vegetation must not be there. Do not carve initials on trees or spray graffiti on monuments — defacing rocks is pollution and the Apex Court too took badly to it.
  • Firewood is scarce and should be used sparingly, whether for heating water (hamam) or for bonfire or for fire-places provided. Avoid making open fires and discourage others from doing so. There should be no carelessness with reference to fire. One small careless fire can destroy an entire forest. Extinguish any fire—bonfire, fire in grill etc before leaving the place. Do not throw away cigarettes, bidis or matches.
  • Read up literature, brochure, be aware of the environs and surrounds. Be clear about the trek—some have a gentle slope, some have a moderate slope and others are precipitous. Match your physical fitness with the hike being taken up. Keep required medicines, water and inform the guide / networking coordinator complete details about yourself. You cannot half way ask to terminate the tour.
  • Take all precautions not to get lost and in the eventuality, specified instructions be followed. Avoid confusion and panic.
  • Check vehicle travel to reduce for polluting gases/smoke. Pooling for travel is cheaper and lesser polluting. Use bicycles/horses/ponies and wherever possible walk—healthy, non-polluting—stand and stare—there is so much to absorb—the mountain terrain is awesome, serene and educative. Avoid noise pollution—blaring horns, music systems (radios/tape-recorders), loud mobile talking. Silence in the majestic mountains has meaning and character. Take in the peace and tranquility.
  • Avoid offering food to animals and birds as thereby you are threatening their foraging and spoiling their hunting skills. Otherwise too, the food you give will probably make them unhealthy. Feeding monkeys too is common and should be discouraged as it spreads nuisance. A monkey bite can mean spread of rabies. If you see anyone hunting or hurting/teasing animals, report them to the authorities; if you cannot stop them yourselves. Wildlife viewing must be done, observing all security and conditions prescribed. Shouting, teasing or chasing animals is strictly prohibited.
  • It is illegal to carry fire-arms/nets or any explosives. Do not also carry polythenes or other prohibited plastics.
  • While taking photographs or shooting with your video-camera (for which there is a prescribed fee) you are encouraged not to disturb the subject you want to capture in any way. Do not use flashes, particularly close up, as this can disturb and annoy wild animals and nesting birds.
  • Strictly follow the guidelines for personal safety and security taking required precautions.
  • Wear comfortable clothes with inconspicuous colours like khaki, olive green or grey so as not to disturb environs with bright and gaudy colours. Use good quality trekking shoes—some are rain-proof too. Use hats/caps during hot days and rain gear during rains and jackets/wind-cheaters during cold. Travel light in terms of baggage. Back packers only carry essentials—food, medicines, camera.


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