By Udita Chaturvedi
Photography: Courtesy the architects
Archohm Consults’ yet-to-be-built concept for the Lion Safari Park in Etawah is contextually driven with a modern touch, metaphorically merging diverse sensibilities...
The Asiatic lion, also known as the Indian lion, an endangered species that exists as a single isolated population in the state of Gujarat in India, is being considered to be handed over to the government of Uttar Pradesh to realise their dream project of creating a lion safari at Etawah in a bid to preserve the species.
Conceptualized as an exploratory safari park, this proposal comes with great expectations of providing a much-needed boost to the tourism and ecology for Etawah and the region of northern Uttar Pradesh.
One of the most engaging features of the park is the twenty-metre-high majestic Lion Gate conceptualised as an abstraction in concrete and presented as a free-standing sculpture on the barren highway leading to the Safari.
It will form a massive billboard of sorts with the carved out space outlining the audacious silhouette of a lion helping visitors cognitively associate with the presence of lions in the vicinity right away.
This gateway is proposed to house necessary information and ticketing facilities with administration, ancillary activities and will even tuck in a museum. A large visitor parking in the heart of the jungle next to the jeep parking will enable visitors to hop on and let their adventure begin.
An elevated and cantilevered viewing deck seemingly suspended in mid-air is a proposed highlight as it perches cleverly over a low-heighted ridge that gifts the perfect location for panoramic views of prides of lions. The experience of watching the formidable species from a close distance, while remaining cocooned in a secure and comfortable enclosure must count for something!
The edifice will also accommodate a restaurant and public conveniences besides a wooden pavilion that will imbue a vernacular touch to the otherwise contemporary concrete and glass building set amidst the forests. The proposed windmills to generate electricity help make the project strive for sustainability.
The entire park will be designed to fit into an undulating terrain littered with trails and tracks that help visitors accidentally ‘bump into’ lions!