Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Importance of Geotourism, with special reference to Jharkhand State of India.

The aim of Geotourism is to make visitors aware of, and to gain some

understanding of, the geological features that surround them.


Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Geotourism is the kind of travel that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Geography—from which “geotourism” derives—is not just about where places are. It’s also about what places are. It’s about what makes one place different from the next. That includes not only flora and fauna, which is the realm of ecotourism, but also historic structures and archaeological sites, scenic landscapes, traditional architecture, and locally grown music, cuisine, crafts, dances, and other arts. Many people sum up that combination of elements as “sense of place.” Since most tourists travel with a variety of interests, geotourism’s holistic approach provides a synergistic effect unavailable to niches like adventure, eco-, or historic tourism. Geotourism speaks to the widest possible market that is compatible with sustaining a destination’s distinctive qualities.

At its simplest geotourism is tourism with some connection to geology or geomorphology.

For many years, environmentalists have strived to make the general public aware of the importance of preserving the quality of an environment. Most individuals are also aware of the many transgressions that are committed against nature in order to further money making industries. These have caused a massive decline in the well-being of the economy and to those who are living in it. This does not only refer to people alone but to the entire ecology including animals, plants, and other natural structures.

Protecting the environment from exploitation whilst encouraging economic and community development is one of the main reasons behind the formulation of the different approaches to tourism. There are currently three basic approaches and this includes ecotourism, sustainable tourism, and geo tourism.

Geo tourism is otherwise referred to as the knowledge based tourism. It seeks to provide tourists with relevant information on the formation of a place’s geology and geomorphology. This means that geo tourism goes beyond just showing off great sights. It takes things a notch higher by informing tourists of how these wonders came to be. An example of this is a discussion of rock formations and its mineral components or how a cave’s inner structure has been created with features such as stalagmites and stalactites. Apart from these, geo tourism is also involved in encouraging both the local community and the tourists to work together in maintaining the quality of each geological site by following the preservation guidelines that are already in place.

One of the major reasons for this is that geo tourism minimizes the negative effects of tourism such as environmental pollution. Places that implement geo tourism has been a huge advantage for many travellers, called geo tourists, since they are provided with an extremely rich experience that involves an immersion in the culture, heritage, and the natural resource of a certain tourist destination. The visitors do not only serve to improve the economy but also help in preserving the environment. It respects local culture and tradition. Foreign visitors learn local etiquette, including at least a few courtesy words in the local language. Residents learn how to deal with foreign expectations that may differ from their own.

Most geo tourists will patronize business establishments such as resorts, hotels, or restaurants that operate under environment friendly conditions. Tourist satisfaction is also enhanced. This means that when they get back to their place of origin, they will be able to tell their families and friends about how positive their travel experience has been. They will also be able to impart the knowledge that they have obtained from the trip to others. Those who hear of these tales will be encouraged to visit the tourist destination themselves.

Geotourism deals with the natural and built environments.

Geotourism was first defined (Hose, 1995) in England. There are two viewpoints of geotourism:
  1. Purely geological and geomorphologically-focused Sustainable Tourism. This is the definition followed in most of the world.
  2. Geographically Sustainable Tourism, the most common definition in the USA. This emphasises preservation of the geographical sense of a place in general, beyond simple geological and geomorphological features.

Case study of Jharkhand state.

Why does Jharkhand need geotourists ?

1. Tourism: an increasingly important contribution to the economy.

2. Creation of jobs for local people: tour companies, drivers, guides, accommodation providers, food outlets.

3. Although Jharkhand has beautiful and interesting wildlife, it cannot compete with the game parks of other parts of the world.

4. However, it has two big advantages over them: unique historical sites and unique and spectacular geology.

5. Therefore promotion of Jharkhand’s geological attractions is important.
6. Ensures that tourists appreciate fully ALL the attractions Jharkhand has to offer!

7. Conservation of important geological sites.

When we speak about Geotourism the attention is usually preferentially paid  to two main aspects involved
 in this concept: on the one side the Geology itself, and the geological values of the area, i.e. the scientific interest of the site, as the main subject of attraction for both geologists, visitors and tourists. on the other side, the Administrations, at local or national level, which should set an adequate legal framework, in close agreement with geologists, to define, promote, arrange, restore and support the maintenance costs of the protected sites.

Nature has sculptured many eye-catching features by geological processes. Jharkhand has been bestowed with a large number of such magnificent geological sites spread throughout its length and breadth and spanning over the entire length of the geological time scale. These sites attract not only the earth scientists but also the common man. These natural exquisite land sculptures have become nature lover's delight and are gaining importance as tourist spots.

The Chotanagpur Plateau serves as a meeting place for the Himalayan and Peninsular biospecies. Here, you find a portion of the oldest part of the earth’s crust, making it the most ancient geological formation in the country.

Jharkhand geological Heritage spans over million years (Archeans to Recent) with substantial part of it exposed at surface. World class exposures of rocks and fossil combined with breath taking scenery and culture make the perfect blend for life time geo-tourism experience. The Chotanagpur plateau region of Jharkhand is made up mainly of Precambrian rocks but has witnessed uplifts synchronously with the Himalayan uplift in the Cenozoic.

Many of the rock and fossil exposure can be utilized for their scientific value and serve as leisure trips at the same time. This sector is possibility orientated towards local, regional and international educational institutions and research centers.  The second sector is a general tourism which contains some element of geology in otherwise mostly scenic and cultural setting and mostly enjoyed by laymen tourists.

The Jharkhand state is well known for spectacular scenery and geology. The record of the Earth's history in Jharkhand is unique. It provides the best exposure in the world to study ancient rock types. Numerous areas in the Jharkhand state offer immediate opportunities for geotourism because of the presence of a diverse range of geological phenomena and outcrops including, amongst many, landforms, structures, residual hills, folding, faulting, water falls, ancient rock paintings, ancient rock carvings, caves, pegmatite intrusions, minerals and fossils. 

Places which can be developed as Geo-tourist spot in Jharkhand.

  1. Ranchi district: Hundru falls, Dasam falls, Jonha falls, Sita falls, Hirni falls, Ranchi hill, Tagore hill, Joda (twin) hills, Bariatu hills, Panchghagh falls, Pithoria valley, Sutiambe hills.
  2. Rajmahal Hills are hills formed from rocks dating from the Jurassic Period and named after the town of Rajmahal which lies to the east in the state of Jharkhand in India. Rajmahal hills are home to plant fossils which are 68 to 145 million years old. Moti Jharna may also be developed as geo-tourist spot.
  3. Hazaribag district: Canary  hills, Parasnath hills, confluence of Bheda and Damodar river in Rajrappa near Ramgarh.
  4. Suraj kund in Hazaribag district: Suraj Kund is a major tourist attraction given its unique distinction of being the 'hottest' hot water spring in India. The spring's waters which have curative properties are always at a temperature of 87 degrees celsius. There are five pools in this place namely Surya Kund, Lakshman Kund, Brahm Kund, Ram kund and Sita Kund which contain hot water of different temperatures. The main Kund is considered to be Surya Kund and it has the hottest water in it.
  5. Dalma range in Singhbhum: The Dalma range marks the belt of Archaevan lava flows. "The structural base of the region is  provided by a series of batholithic intrusions of granite into  Dharwar strata, which were intensely metamorphosed by orogenetic movements.
  6. Abandoned coal mines and other mines of Jharkhand including underground mines.
  7. Roro hills:  About 20 kilometers west of Chaibasa, the headquarters of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, lies the Roro hills-- home to an abandoned chrysotile asbestos mine. The Roro mines were closed down in 1983 after Hyderabad Asbestos Cement Products Ltd. (now known as Hyderabad Industries Limited) decided that they were no longer profitable.

This all looks very interesting but what is it?

How such rocks are formed?

 Mystery of Hazaribag Hot springs.
 How such big hills are formed?

 How such structures are formed on rocks?

 Typical rock weathering.

How such hills are formed?

How such caves are formed?

What is this?

How such hills are formed?

How falls are formed?

Formation of valleys.

How such structures are formed?

 To understand formation of folding.

How such caves are formed?

Mystery of dome gneiss.

What are there inside such mines?

 To understand formation of such caves.

How pegmatite intrudes in host rock?

                    Roro hills near Chaibasa.

 How such structure of the hills are formed ? ( Its near Jamshedpur).


Only if we are able to understand Geotourism as a touristic, not academic, activity and make a real effort to make Geology an attractive issue related with the explanation of the beauty of landscape and with disentangling the mysteries of life and earth, far from the complexity of scientific concepts and geological processes we shall be ready to make Geology an interest subject for tourists. If we are conscious that, when talking about Geotourism and its touristic components, besides Geology we are speaking about accommodation and eating facilities, the quality of accesses and services, and the excellence and attraction of merchandising products we shall be able to make Geotourism equally attractive as other classical modalities of tourism. On the contrary, if we identify Geotourism with teaching of Geology or with explaining Geology to groups, we will focus on a separate matter that may be interesting for some visitors but risks to be boring for the general tourists.


Hose, T. A. (2012), “ 3G’s for Modern Geotourism ”, Geoheritage Journal, 4: 7-24

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