Sacred Grove Clean-Up In Sindhudurg
On March 10, 2019, Sanctuary's Mud on Boots Project Leader Malhar Indulkar led 15 students on a clean-up drive at Maulichi kond, a sacred grove along the Terekhol river in Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.
Photo: Malhar Indulkar
Maulichi kond comprises a one km. stretch of serene riparian habitat and is named after a pool of water that collects in the midst of the grove. The local community here believes that this river pool and surrounding forest are sacred and do not allow fishing or disturbance to the habitat. This has made Maulichi kond a safe haven for biodiversity including fish, otters and mugger crocodiles, the latter of which is associated with the local deity. The opposite bank of the river is designated Reserve Forest, which has also played a part in making Maulichi kond a preferred wildlife habitat.
However, the road connecting Amboli and Goa lies adjacent to this sacred grove, making it vulnerable to ignorant tourists who litter the area with plastic and metal waste. Taking into account the status and state of the grove, Malhar took permission from village authorities to clean-up Maulichi kond. He recruited 15 students from Gogte Valke College, Panval; SPK College, Sawantwadi, members of Tillari Dodamarg Sanvardhan Samiti and Globe Trust to join him for a day-long litter-collection drive and natural history awareness programme. The group collected and disposed of over eight bags of rubbish from the area.
Sacred groves are virgin forest patches traditionally protected by local communities in different parts of India. "Possessing a rich variety of endangered trees, medicinal plants, and other wild species, the sacred groves are a ray of hope towards the community conservation of fast shrinking forests in the Western Ghats," said Project Coordinator Maitreyee Mujumdar. Maitreyee has been coordinating the Mud on Boots Project since January 2017, and recently visited Project Leader Malhar Indulkar's field site in Sindhudurg to plan further conservation interventions.
The Mud on Boots Project is a Sanctuary programme designed to empower grassroots conservationists across India. To support wildlife heroes like Malhar, write to