An upcoming and unique accommodation option merging homestay and coliving, around 22 km from Khatia gate of the Kanha National Park and 35 km from Mukki gate is Surwahi Social Kanha. Following the pillars of sustainable tourism, the property is a classic example of how the natural essence of the forest zone can be recreated by practising ecotourism, community involvement and reforestation activities. Spread over an area of 10.5 acres of land, the homestay has a substantial part of the land being marked as unmanaged area so that the virgin flora species of the Kanha are not destroyed due to manmade rules and regulations. At the core is the thought that the native trees and plant species of the place be tendered and nurtured naturally and minimally to maintain the look and feel of the jungle area. Here, we will explore the different species of trees of Kanha that are part of the landscape of this soon-to-be-launched homestay.
A. Primary trees – species that were part of the topography when the land was purchased, have been untouched and maintained as they were. Natural growing species that are present in plenty in the Surwahi Social Kanha
1. Umar or the Indian Cluster Fig
Scientific Name: Ficus Racemosa. This deciduous tree grows to a height of 10 to 16 meters and is a storehouse of phytochemicals and essential minerals and vitamins. The latex acts as a balm on wounded and inflamed parts and the decoction of the bark helps relieve diarrhoea; the seeds keep the skin looking young; the fig fruit and leaves cleanse liver and spleen; the juice helps treat fever and mouth ulcers.
Scientific name: Madhuca Longifolia Mcbride. This is a deciduous tree. Most famous for making indigenous country spirit through fermentation of its flowers, all parts of the tree have medicinal value – the bark when rubbed on an itching part instantly heals the area; the flowers are used for treating piles and eye infections; the fruit is meant for eating for its nutritious value.
3. Palash or the Flame of the Forest
Scientific name: Butea Monosperma. The tree is native to south-east Asia. The flowers are dried from which colours are made for playing Holi and are used for dyeing fabric. The gum from the tree is an astringent and tannin used for tanning leather. Leaves have anti-inflammatory, astringent and aphrodisiacal properties. Flowers have anticancer and anti-gonorrhoeal properties. The seeds are good to treat diarrhoea, skin disease, and tumours.
Scientific name: Lagerstroemia Parviflora. This is a huge deciduous tree and can grow up to 30 meters in height. The wood or the timber from the tree is the best type of durable wood in India and is used for making doors, window frames, house posts, boats, etc. The bark is full of tannins and used for making black dye, and the tree yields a type of fibre that is used for making ropes.
Scientific Name: Terminalia Elliptica. This tree is a native of the Indian subcontinent. It characterised by crocodile bark pattern. Grows up to 30 meters tall, the bark of the tree is fire-resistant and the tree stores water for use during dry season. Wood from the tree is used for making furniture, boats, railroad crossing lines, veneers etc. Silkworms feed on the leaves that help produce Tussar silk. The bark is rich in oxalic acid and is used to treat diarrhoea. Yield from the fruit is used for making dyes and tan leather. The stored water of the plant is used by the native people during the summer months.
Scientific Name: Anogeissus Latifollia. The leaves are full of gallotannins and are hence used for tanning purposes. Gum sourced from the tree is used for calico printing. The Antheraea Paphia moth feed on the leaves of this plant, from which the Tussar silk is produced.
B. Secondary Trees – Natural trees that are present but not as great in numbers as Primary.
1. Berry shrubs
An edible fruit and filled with sweet and sour juices, berries from fruits derived from the ovary of a single flower. Examples of common berries are strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries; red, white and black currants. Different berries are used for making jams, cakes, pies etc.
2. Jamun Tree
This is a type of Java plum; this is an evergreen tree. The seed of the fruit is used in the Ayurveda system for treating digestive ailments. The fruits are used for making wine and vinegar since it is a high source of vitamin A and C. The leaves and bark are used for treating high blood pressure and gingivitis.
3. Arjun Tree
Scientific name: Terminalia Arjuna. A huge tree with buttressed trunk and branches growing horizontally. The bark of the tree is used to cure dysentery and cardiovascular diseases. The wood is used for making houses. And the leaves help heal wounds.
4. Tendu Scientific name: Diospyros Melanoxylon. It is a deciduous tree of about 15 in height. The leaves of the tree are used for wrapping Bidis; the bark is an effective astringent; fruits are germicide and the wood is used for making furniture.
5. Peepal Tree
Scientific name: Ficus Religiosa. It is sacred as per Hindu, Buddhism and Jainism. Various parts of the trees are used for treating at least 50 types of health ailments including diabetes, epilepsy, sexual disorders, asthma, etc.
C. Tertiary Trees – Plant, trees, and flora of Kanha that have been planted to boost the diverse ecosystem in addition to naturally existing primary and secondary.
1. Bamboo – these have been planted in large numbers on the premises. Evergreen flowering plants, these are one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Bamboo shoots are used for cooking, making pickle, used for construction purpose, textiles, weapons etc.
2. Guava – India is the largest producer of this tropical fruit in the world. The fruit is rich in fibre and vitamin C. The leaves of the tree contain phytochemicals and the seed oil is used for making cosmetic and in culinary products.
3. Pomegranate – a deciduous shrub, the pomegranate juice is a rich source of iron and vitamins. The seeds from the fruit are used as spices.
4. Neem – an evergreen tree, neem leaves, flowers and shoots are eaten
as vegetables. It is filled with medicinal properties – neem oil is excellent for the hair, liver and diabetes while the leaf is good to treat skin diseases.
5. Gulmohar – is a flowering plant or ornamental tree with exuberant red and orange flowers.
6. Gooseberry – the fruit is edible and can be eaten raw, in desserts, in pies and crumble etc. They are used to prepare jam, pickles, sugar syrup, dried fruit etc.
7. Lemon – evergreen tree, the fruit is used for cooking and non-cooking purpose. It is used for making lemonade, lemon pie, cooking and baking purposes.
The forest at Surwahi Social Kanha has these treasures which is responsible to make the area naturally rich.