When we talk about natural beauty, states like Himachal, Uttarakhand and Kashmir come to the mind but now Gujarat can be your first choice as well. Vishwa van of Gujarat has become one such beautiful natural site built where you get to see the flora and fauna of 7 continents of the world. Tourist who loves peace and nature should definitely visit Vishwa Van as it is a great destination for nature lovers. It is a perfect place to explore the beauty of nature and learn about the diversity of the world.
Gujarat is home to many attractive tourist destinations. In the last few years, the state has shown tremendous development in tourism. Of all the tourist destinations in Gujarat, Statue of Unity (SoU) is one of the most praised and visited one. SoU became so famous among national and international travellers that it opened new gates for new destinations in the area to prosper. SoU is surrounded by many other tourist attractions and Vishwa van is one of the most magnificent of these.
One of these attractions is Vishwa van which means Global Forest and it has Plantation from all Seven Continents”. This Global Forest offers a charismatic magnificence. Vishwa van offers a natural aesthetic beauty. The thought of Vishwa Van was conceptualized by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, ShriNarendraModi, who after guiding the construction of Statue of Unity in just 46 months, envisioned the integrated development of Ekta Nagar on the theme of unity in diversity.
This Global Van or Vishwa van is developed in the area of .75 hectares . It is located between the two bridges next to the Statue of Unity. The splendid design of pathways take you to the glory of nature’s play. Anyone can discover the world’s diverse bio geography here, which contains herbs, shrubs, and trees native to all the 7 continents signifying the underlying theme of "Unity in Diversity" in the global context. It has a diverse assemblage of flora representing every continent of the world. The vegetation is arranged in a way to resemble the natural forest of that place.
The aim of this Vishwa Van is to educate the tourists about biogeography, the study of the distribution of species and ecosystems in geographic space. Clusters have been developed for maintaining a suitable environment for raising the seedlings of the forest of the world. The inspiration was taken from the five Olympic rings with a distinct color for each continent. The motive for Vishwa Van is to combine the world's forests and gardens.
Structures representing the traditional abodes of dwellers from remotest corners of the world have been created here with a view to introducing visitors with their living.
Such edifices at the sites are –
Fiji House – Bure: Bure is the Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut. Traditionally, ethnic Fijians live in two types of houses; a vale was the family house, while men’s houses (where circumcised males of the clan met, ate, and slept) were known as Bures.
Bali House: The Balinese traditional house follows a strict ancient architectural guide which is a product of a blend of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, fused with Austronesian animism, resulting in a house that is “in harmony” with the law of the cosmos of Balinese Hinduism.
African-Louisiana Conference Area: The beauty of the concept lies in the conglomeration of traditional houses in Africa with those of the orthodox designs from Louisiana. It’s a blend of aesthetic architectures of both the continents.
Maloca House: This structure is inspired from the traditional house of the indigenous Marubo tribe of Brazil. A Maloca is an ancestral long house used by indigenous people of the Amazon, notably in Colombia and Brazil.
Pagoda: A Pagoda is a tiered tower with multiple eaves, built in traditions originating as Stupa in historic South Asia and further developed in East Asia with respect to those traditions.
A Souvenir shop, to take along the memories, has been set-up. These shops are run by tribal self-help groups, which contribute to their livelihood.
When the Statue of Unity was inaugurated four years back, most people assumed it was only a statue. But PM Modi had a larger vision and grander plans. He aimed at converting it into a hub for tourism with attractions for each age group.
Gujarat had limited natural tourist places, specifically only spiritual tourist destination but State Tourism department has developed more destinations which were not known earlier like Kutch, Saputara, Shivrajpur beach and now Statue of Unity.
(Writer is Joint Director in Gujarat Bhawan)