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Miniature Eastern Ghats: A Natural Wonderland will be started for public visit in November 2023

Nestled in the heart of the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), a transformative project known as the ‘Miniature Eastern Ghats’ (MEG) is set to grace approximately 30 acres of reserved land, owned by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department. This visionary endeavor, an integral component of the expansive Eastern Ghats Biodiversity Centre project, is poised to be unveiled to the public in November 2023.

Situated adjacent to the ACA-VDCA cricket stadium, along the historic NH-16 road, the MEG beckons nature enthusiasts and tourists alike to explore the rich tapestry of indigenous flora found in the Eastern Ghats. As visitors approach the MEG, they are greeted by an enchanting entrance gate adorned with imagery of local wildlife, inviting them into a lush and vibrant sanctuary positioned opposite the freshly laid Law College Road, which winds its way towards the serene Vizag-Bheemili beach road.

The ‘Miniature Eastern Ghats’ represents a pioneering initiative in Andhra Pradesh, calling out to those with a deep-seated desire to immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty. Beyond the impressive assortment of medicinal plants, the MEG introduces an astrology-themed garden, featuring 27 plant species associated with the signs of the zodiac, infusing an element of mystique and fascination into the visitor’s experience. Moreover, this verdant expanse is being enriched with seeds from approximately 200 Eastern Ghats plant species, contributing to the preservation and proliferation of the local flora.

One of the standout features of the ‘Miniature Eastern Ghats’ is the orchidarium, where nearly 200 Eastern Ghats orchid species are carefully cultivated. Orchids, with over 1,300 species documented in Indian forests and a staggering 25,000 species found worldwide, create a mesmerizing and diverse display within the orchidarium. A winding circular walkway guides visitors through this enclosure, adorned with soil blanketed in lush green moss that helps maintain moisture, thanks to the use of artificial vapor circulation fans. The orchidarium serves as a valuable resource for researchers and scientists engaged in the study of the Eastern Ghats’ flora.

According to Visakhapatnam District Forest Officer Ananth Shankar, “The Miniature Eastern Ghats is a one-stop destination to showcase the biodiversity of the Eastern Ghats. Approximately ₹2.5 crore has been invested, drawn from funds provided by various government and private organizations as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.” This initiative is set to open its doors to the public in November, offering a dynamic and educational experience to all who grace its grounds.

The Eastern Ghats, a mountain range extending along India’s eastern coast, from Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu, with extensions into parts of Karnataka and Telangana, reaches its zenith at 1,680 meters (5,510 feet). Comprising a diverse mix of charnockite, granite gneiss, khondalite, granite, and quartzite rock formations, this range conceals invaluable resources such as limestone, bauxite, and iron ore—a testament to its origins in an ancient orogenic belt formed during the Archean Era. The notable Madhurawada Dome in the Eastern Ghats mobile belt owes its existence to tectonic interactions with the khondalite suite and quartzite Archean rocks to the north of Visakhapatnam.

This ambitious undertaking stands as a tribute to the wealth of biodiversity in the region, presenting an immersive and inviting experience for those eager to delve into the natural wonders of the Eastern Ghats. The ‘Miniature Eastern Ghats’ embodies a powerful convergence of environmental conservation, education, and the safeguarding of indigenous flora within this extraordinary ecological sanctuary. It promises to be a destination that will captivate the hearts and minds of visitors for years to come.

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