Bihar, a state in eastern India is one of the oldest inhabited places of the world. With a history of more than 3000 years, the state is replete with archaeological sites, monuments and pilgrimage centers. Vishnupada Temple, Mahavir Mandir, Rajgir, Boghi Tree, Patna Museum, Phulwari Sharif, Palamu Fort, Jalagarh Fort, etc. are some of famous tourist attractions. Apart from all these, the state is also renowned for its rich wildlife. It is very interesting to note that the world's first tiger census was carried out at Palamau in 1932. There are 2 national park and 21 wildlife sanctuaries in the state among which Betla national park deserves special mention.
This national park was one of the first national parks in the country to become a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, which was a wildlife conservation movement in India initiated in the year 1972 to protect the Royal Bengal Tigers. This project was carried on with the purpose of preserving and conserving the Bengal Tiger population in specially constituted tiger reserves in various parts of India.
The park was earlier named as the Palamu Sanctuary. It is one of the 9 tiger reserves that were first established in the country. It was set up in 1989 and presently houses a large number of wild animals that draws tourists from all over the country.
Area and Location:
It is nestled in the lap of Deccan Plateau that includes 1,026 sq km of the Palamu Tiger Reserve in the state of Jharkhand. It is almost 25 km away from the district of Daltonganj in Jharkhand. The national park stretches over a total area of 979 sq km. with a core area of 232 sq km.
Flora and Fauna:
The flora and fauna of this park is really attractive. The vegetation is characterized by tropical wet evergreen forests, moist and dry deciduous forests and temperate alpine forests. A considerable number of medicinal plants, sal and bamboo can be found in Betla national park. You will also find grasslands in the area where the Koel River and its tributaries run.
The varied floral species is the source of survival of the faunal species found here. The major attractions of the park are - tiger, gaur, sloth bear, sambar, chital, elephant, panther, leopard, wild boar, rhesus monkey, nuntjac, nilgai, langur, mouse deer, porcupine, ant eating pangolin monkeys, small Indian civet, mongoose, jackals, etc. During the month of Monsoon you are able to see a large number of elephants.
For the bird watchers there are a lot of winged creatures to view like- black partridge, white necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, the pied born bill, wagtails, the harial, doves, common whistling, cotton teal, hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, the comb duck, snipe, geese, drongo, the crested serpent-eagle, forest owls, the papiha etc. The beautiful Kamaldah Lake attracts many birds.
Best time to visit:
Most tourists visit the park between the months of October to April. You can watch the highest number of wild animals during summer in the months of May and June. But if you look for the most comfortable climate for your visit, then it will be between November and March.
You can accommodate in Baresand, Kerh,Maromar,Mundu, Betla, etc. There are a lot of rest houses run by Forest Department. You can also check for BSTDC's Van Vihar and tree houses.
How to reach the park?
- Ranchi at a distance of 180 km is the nearest airport. Ranchi is well connected to major Indian destinations like Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Patna, Mumbai and New Delhi.
- Daltongung is the nearest town and the nearest railhead also. Ranchi and Gaya are convenient railway stations located near the park.
- The National Highway 75 runs from Ranchi via Kuru and Latehar. By road the national park can be accessed from Hazaribag, Netarhat, Patna and Kolkata that are 190 km, 211 km, 384km and 575 km respectively.
What else do you get?
You can visit the Purana Quila (Old Fort), Naya Quila (New Fort), waterfalls, hot springs, etc. Watching the amazing wildlife and taking elephant rides into the jungle would add more variety to your trip.
With all these, Betla national park becomes one of the finest national parks in the country.