Increased tourist footfall at Beatle’s Chaurasi Kutia Ashram in the Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand may soon become a problem for the reserve animals, Uttarakhand wildlife experts said on Monday. The famous rock band stars of the 60s had visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in 1968 to learn meditation. They stayed in 84 huts for three months and wrote many songs. The ashram, lying abandoned after its lease expired in 1980 when Uttarakhand was the part of Uttar Pradesh, was thrown open for public from 8th December 2015.
Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) director admitted that there has been rise in the number of visitors after the reserve has been thrown open to the public, but she denied there was any danger to the wildlife. What concerns the wildlife experts most is the tourists can drive their vehicle straight into the reserve to the ashram in their vehicles after obtaining the permit from the gate. The roads which are used by the tourists are crossed by the animals like elephant, leopard, tigers etc. to drink Ganga water. The increased traffic has become a threat to the animals.
National Tiger Conservation Authority has given the permission to renovate, maintain and use the Beatles ashram for touring purpose and a budget has also been allocated for this purpose. This has been done to promote the tourism and also to keep a focus on wildlife conservation.
As per one expert the vehicular movement should be minimized in the area which would be hurdle to the animal to access the water. The other thing which has to be kept in mind, that the tigers can be present near ashram within 500 meters range. The reserve is battling with the human intervention in the areas meant for the wildlife. The western part of the reserve along with Gohari range has human settlements.