September is the national month of butterflies celebrated in India. Titli Tyar was conducted to celebrate butterflies, for the first time in Uttarakhand last month. A great festival where various individuals, naturalists, butterfly nurturers, nature educators, eco-resorts and Uttarakhand Tourism come together for this knowledge sharing initiative on butterflies.
Poonam Chand, Additional Director Uttarakhand Tourism, “It gives me a lot of happiness to see such events taking place in Uttarakhand. Nature based activities like these are a great opportunity for people to connect with nature. My best wishes to Aahana and everyone who took this initiative. There is nothing better than promoting green tourism and focusing on experiences like these.”
Families who were there in Corbett to spend holidays with their loved ones chanced upon this beautiful festival, “ I love nature. This is the first time I have come to Corbett with my parents. I loved the butterfly walk. I learned so much. When I will go back, I will share all the knowledge with my friends. I was very surprised to know that butterflies can sense pressure changes in the atmosphere. My favourite is Striped Tiger butterfly,” says Ayushi Satapathy , a student of class 5 from Delhi.
Revant Pandey, a student of class 7, Noida Extension explains his excitement, “I had studied about the lifecycle of a butterfly in school but I was not so clear about it. The butterfly walks helped me to understand its four stages like never before. I had no idea that butterfly’s life could be so colorful and interesting. There were so many things to know about their habits, ecosystem, how they thrive on their host plants, where they lay eggs, etc. I am going to look for larva and eggs in my garden too.”
Butterfly in my Backyard Titli Tyar or Butterfly Festival was conceptualised with an aim to develop awareness of these precious creations amongst the local community at Corbett and the scores of tourists that visit every year.
“Such events should not happen once in a year but more. I totally loved the agenda initiated by Aahana when they said that Corbett should not only be known for tigers but why not butterflies. TitliTyar is a wonderful opportunity to share all that I have experienced and learned over time. Butterflies play a very important role in the food chain and pollination. Their life can be like a pandora box because we don’t even know the number of varieties that exist and each has something different to teach us. There is no national butterfly of India, so there is so much to discover, learn and be thrilled at. I am discovering something new every day,” says Prachi Singh, a Lepidopterist and Limca Book of Records holder.
Ayu Tripathi, Director of Aahana, The Corbett Wilderness and youngest member of Uttarakhand Tourism Board shares, “We decided to host the festival for two days because we wanted to learn from the best. We have always emphasized on experiences which can be beyond tigers. Our aim is that we wantour guests must go back well-informed and intrigued about butterflies. If kids take back even 1 percent, our job is done. Habitat creation has been at the soul of our inception. We have nurtured our ecosystem at Aahana very scientifically and authentically, where we know our trees, what insects, birds thrive on them, what fruits they eat, what role each one plays in the eco-system. Thus, we want people to learn about butterflies and symbiotic relationship. We want to sow the seed of curiosity for all age-groups. I learned so much. I am sure others did too.”
Naturalists who guided everyone through the trails
Sanjay Chhimwal, Senior Naturalist, says “After pandemic, we all needed something to turn the negative vibes into positive. After the success of last year’s initiative, (when this was conceptualized for the first time), we have been able to shift the attention from tigers to birds and now we are aiming to add butterflies to it. The world of butterflies is gorgeous and very unique. We have some 150 types of varieties in and around Corbett region itself. TitliTyar is an attempt to help more and more people get interested in butterflies, understand their web of life and appreciate nature from new eyes. “
For Ahmed Ali, Naturalist, Aahana The Corbett Wilderness, who has always been a bird enthusiast but last year he got intrigued with butterflies. He believes, “Our text books only mention about size, colour, basic lifecycle, but this festival is beyond that. We have learnt about their body parts, wings, antennas, egg laying activities. When we study butterflies, we also learn about their host plants and take a step closer to nature.”
Abhishek Gulshan, Nature Educator, Nature Travel Specialist & Founder at Ninox – Owl about Nature, says, “TitliTyar is a wonderful local initiative in the Corbett region. In just two years, it has garnered curiosity and has been great for nature enthusiasts as well as local community. Last year, it was centered around one location. This year it has extended to 7-8 locations around the Corbett region, which is a great sign. Butterfly watching is a new activity and people are gradually warming up to it. Butterflies are beautiful and the idea is not to see them once but keep the relationship going. One can spend a life knowing about them. I am fascinated by their defense mechanism in the web of life and we need to bring this out to not just nature lovers but more and more people.”
For me this event helped me to reclaim my love, amusement and admiration for nature and its marvelous creations. Butterflies are insects that belong to an order or group called Lepidoptera. In my two days in Corbett, I developed a new-found interest in butterflies, beyond their pretty looks. I was thrilled to gather a bagful of information about these scaly-winged, superbly attractive, cold-blooded specie which plays a very important role in the food chain. It was fascinating to walk around the host plants, learn about their defense mechanism, spot their eggs, and discover new varieties. Titli Tyar will always be memorable.
I will be joining more butterfly walks to expand my knowledge. And there is good news too for people like me who usually miss on bird watching trips due to their late sleeping habits. The butterflies are most active and easy to spot when the sun is out, up and shining.
Ashir Kumar, Nature and Macro Photographer, “I am learning about butterflies. I have been joining butterfly trails on and off due to my photography work and I can say there is a beautiful world of butterflies waiting to be explored. Here is a tip while photographing butterflies, just be patient when you are clicking them. You can get good shots even without disturbing them. Maintain a distance, let them settle down on flowers and leaves, with their wings widespread and then take a shot. Danaid Eggfly Butterfly makes for gorgeous shots.”