Etiquette while visiting a National Park
Being sensitive and respectful in a National Park, with a dash of common sense is the need of the hour. A lesson in etiquette and decorum while visiting the wild by Shobha Mohan, founder of RARE India.
Every time I visit a national park, I come away inspired when I see Indians travelling as families visibly thrilled to be amidst nature and in sight of the Royal Bengal Tiger. Particularly if they have children with them, it is an opportunity for the young ones to fall in love with nature in all her glory of the wilderness.
This is immediately followed by a tinge of irritation at all the commotion and crowding. This is not to be judgmental, but as a community we have a particular disregard for our behavior when we are in a group and this is further heightened in areas such as parks and other areas where quietness and discretion is called for. Even temples are not exempt from all the ceaseless chatter.
For a country that has taken to tourism in a big way – etiquette, particularly in parks, has to be defined and has to be made mandatory. Beginning with the kind of clothes they wear in the forest where the key is an attitude to blend, avoid littering, being sensitive to other spectators who may also wish to have a view of the wildlife, to keeping voices and volumes low and taking a genuine interest in the forest around, adhering to rules etc. would be some of the quick briefing tourists should be subjected to.
When we have taught ourselves table manners and office etiquettes, a gentle guiding principle for the booming new-traveler community is, I believe, quite valid and goes a long way in ensuring that we have visitors who are respectful of the park and its rightful residents.
Photo credit: Safari with Jim’s Jungle Retreat, Corbett.