Isha Yoga centre sits on the fringe of a ecologically sensitive Reserved Forest.
A friend sent two slides of Isha Yoga’s centre — from 2006 and 2016. While these slides by themselves provide documentary evidence of the conversion of vegetated areas to concrete, I also checked with an older map that provides the boundary of the Coimbatore Reserved Forest in this section of the hills. That slide is also attached as Photo 1. You will notice that almost the entire premises have been carved out of what was Reserved Forest. When the RF was converted to non-RF uses, I do not know. But the three slides establish the ecological sensitivity of the area. The wise ones of earlier times would entice people to experience spirituality by bringing them closer to nature. Today, we see spirituality being sold in places that shut out nature and desecrate it.
The fourth attached letter (thanks Siva Apt) from the Forest Ranger confirms that the Isha Yoga Centre is located inside an elephant corridor connecting Sativayal to Thanikkandi, and that the Yoga Centre has removed local vegetation and replaced it with new plantations. The Ranger’s report also confirms that the automobile traffic generated by the lakhs of visitors to the centre has caused untold disturbances to the wildlife and the forests.
Source of the maps: Map 1 is a US Army map compiled in 1954, based on Survey of India maps, 1930-44. Maps 2 and 3 are GoogleEarth images.