Betla National park, Jharkhand is one of the many national parks of immense significance in India. Located in the Daltonganj district of Jharkhand, the national park is spread over an area of 979 sq. km. and core area of 232 sq. kms. The Betla National Park was given the status of a national park in 1989. The park occupies the western parts of the Chotanagpur plateau and was constituted in the year 1960 as an extension of the Hazaribagh National park. Palamau has the distinction of being the forest where the world’s first tiger census was enumerated in 1932. The park became one of the earliest 9 tiger reserves in India under ‘Project Tiger’ in 1974.
Spread over a lush green vegetation cover of more than 232 sq. kilometers, the national park is home to some of the rarest of rare species of animals and plants. The place is a beautiful example of a balanced ecosystem, where one can find many endangered plant and animal species. Many people from several parts of the country come to visit the place. There is provision for nice accommodation near the park. Tourists and visitors can find a safe and better place to stay and spend time over there.
Flora and Fauna: The forests of the park have a vast range of vegetation consisting of tropical wet evergreen forests in the lower reaches, mixed (moist & dry) deciduous forests in the middle and temperate alpine forests in the upper reaches including Sal and bamboo as the major components along with a number of medicinal plants. The river Koel and its tributaries run through the northern portion of the park. There are grasslands in the river flowing area. It has waterfalls and hot springs too. Once the seat of Chero kings, there are two historical forts, one of them belonging to the 16th century deep inside the forest. The main sentinel of the old fort is visible high up on the hill with defences in three directions and three main gates.
The diversity of eco-system promotes a wide variety of fauna consisting of elephant, panther, leopard, wild boar, tiger, gaur, sloth bear, sambar, chital, nuntjac, nilgai, langur, mouse deer, monkeys, small Indian civet, mongoose, jackals, porcupine, ant eating pangolin etc. Elephants in large numbers are seen mostly during the monsoons up to the time when water sources begin to dry up in March. Jackal and hyena are common scavengers. Bird-life is rich featuring the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, the pied born bill, wagtails, the harial, doves, drongo, the crested serpent-eagle, forest owls, the papiha and other birds usually found in dry deciduous forests. The famous Kamaldah lake attracts several varieties of water birds including the common whistling and cotton teal, the comb duck, snipe and geese. The rhesus monkey and the common languor provide attraction to children visiting the park.
Major Wildlife Attractions: Betla National Park is considered among the best national parks in India to observe animals from close quarters. The park provides a natural habitat to several species of animals such as Elephant, Panther, Leopard, Wild Boar, Tiger, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital, Nuntjac, Nilgai, Langur, Mouse Deer, Monkeys, Small Indian Civet, Mongoose, Jackals, Porcupine, Ant Eating Pangolin, Jackal, Hyena and more. Elephants can be seen here in large numbers mostly through the monsoon season till March. are common scavengers.
Bird-life is also abundant at the Betla National Park. One can easily spot birds such as the Hornbill, Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl, Black Partridge, White Necked Stork, Black Ibis, Swamp Grey, Quail, Pied Born Bill, Wagtails, Harial, Doves, Drongo, The Crested Serpent-Eagle, Forest Owls, Papiha.
Other Attractions: The famous Kamaldah Lake also attracts numerous water bird species including the Common Whistling and Cotton Teal, Comb Duck, Snipe and Geese.
The park offers elephant rides and jeeps, along with jungle guides. Watch towers and ground hides have also been constructed to observe the fauna of this national park in India. A large number of accommodation avenues to suit every budget are also located in the vicinity. A perfect adventure for any wildlife enthusiast, the Betla National Park should simply not be missed.
Best Time to Visit: Park is open through out the year the period between October to May is considered the best time to visit this place.
How to Get there:
Air: Ranchi is the nearest airport 140 kms away with regular air connections to Delhi, Calcutta, Patna and Lucknow.
Rail: The nearest Railway Station is Daltonganj (25 km away), connected to many places in the region with regular trains. Ranchi and Gaya are also convenient railway stations for the tourists coming from Delhi and Calcutta respectively.
Road: Betla is well connected to Daltonganj (25 kms) via Khudia morh (6km), Ranchi (140 kms), Hazaribagh (190 kms), Netarhat (211 kms), Patna (384 kms), Calcutta (575 kms) etc by regular buses run by the state transport corporation and private companies.
General Info / Tips:
Tourists should not cause any damage floral and faunal life. The flora should not be plucked to take back home. You should not kindle any kind of fire; throw lit matches and cigarette buds. Do not throw or leave trash, litter and polyethylene bags in the forest. Firearms and chemicals should not be taken into the forests as they may cause harm to the wildlife and the vegetation. Never play radio and tape recorders as their frequency and voice might disturb, scare or irritate the animals.
The region experiences extreme weather conditions with the maximum temperature rising to 40°C in summers. The winters are also quite severe with the minimum temperature dropping to as low as 3°C. The monsoon months are from July to mid September.
The tourists should carry light cotton clothes during the summers and heavy woolens during the winters.
Tiger, Chital, Gaur