Goa is open to tourists from July 2 2020 after being shut down for tourism since March. 250 hotels have been granted permission to operate following the standard operating procedures (SOPs). It is mandatory for the tourists to pre-book their stay with one of these approved 250 hotels. Tourists also have to carry Covid-19 negative certificate or get tested at the border/airport and undergo quarantine at a state-run facility till the results arrive.
Mollem National Park, Goa Overview
Mollem National Park, the biggest one in the state, takes you on a fascinating wildlife adventure. Jeep safaris take the tourists right into the heart of the dense forest reserve, bringing them closer to the vibrant wildlife. Mollem National Park is another facet of Goa’s diverse bouquet of attractions. It is undoubtedly a must-visit destination for all nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. Touring the park during the monsoon season is a great leisure activity.
Entry Fees and Permit
All tourists wishing to visit the park must obtain an entry permit from the Range Forest Office of the Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary and Mollem National Park.
Mollem National Park Entry Fee
· Adults – INR 20 · Kids – INR 5 · Still camera – INR 30 · Video camera – INR 150 · Two-wheeler entry – INR 40 · Car/Jeep entry – INR 75 · Bus/Tempo entry – INR 150 · Van entry - INR 250
Mollem National Park - Timings
· Monday to Sunday – 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM
Best Time to Visit
Since winters bring out a new avatar of Mollem National Park, the months from October until March are the best time to visit.
Photos of Mollem National Park
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This offbeat tourist attraction is spread over an area of 240 square kilometres and the core region of the park is about 107 square kilometres. The topography of Mollem National Park supports tropical evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests and semi-evergreen forests. The privileged setting of the park right in the foothills of the Western Ghats is just worth admiring, and the countryside is one of the most peaceful ones that you will find in Goa. Towards the southern side, the park is surrounded by the state of Karnataka and the Eastern Ghats. Some patches of savannah grasslands can also be found inside the park.
Flora and Fauna in Mollem National Park
Flora The area covered by the Mollem National Park is heavily forested with natural vegetation. The evergreen forests densely populate the higher altitudes of the park. They also include the areas in a criss-cross pattern along the banks of a perennial river and on the upper slopes of the Ghats. Among primary species of trees that can be found in Mollem National Park, the important ones are Lagerstroemia, Terminalia, Dalbergia and Xylia. Due to the dense forest cover, sunlight does not reach the forest floors in many places. Other than trees, the park is home to around 722 flower species and 128 endemic plant species that can only be found in the Western Ghats. Even though the growth of grass is sparse, one can discover shrubs and bushes scattered around the park.
Fauna Mollem National Park is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts as one gets to see a large number of animals and birds within the forests. The park is the natural habitat for several herbivorous animal species such as the Sambar, Barking Deer, Hog, Spotted Deer and Mouse Deer. The forest grounds are also home for carnivores like Leopard Cat, Toddy Cat, Panther, Tiger and Jungle Cat. Keen observers can spot the lesser seen Indian Civet, Slender Loris, Sloth Bear, Scaly Ant Eater, Giant Squirrel, Bonnet Macaque, Hyena, Jackal, Common Otter and Flying Fox making an appearance amidst the dense forests.
Among the 120 bird species, Ruby-Throated Yellow Bulbul – the state bird of Goa – is the most commonly spotted bird in the park. Ornithological enthusiasts should keep an eye out for some of the exotic bird species like
Golden Oriole, Common Grey Hornbill, Emerald Dove, Great Pied Hornbill, Paradise Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle, Malabar Trogon, White-Rumped Spine Tail, Crested Honey Buzzard, Asian Palm Swift, Ashy Wood Swallow, Olive-backed Pipit, Jungle Babbler, Jungle Owlet, Pompadour Pigeon, Black-crested Bulbul, White-bellied Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Forest Wagtail, Sulphur-bellied Warbler and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch.
Apart from the birds populating the park with their colourful avatars, there are many beautiful butterfly species as well. The ones that can be frequently seen include – Common Jezebel, Blue Mormon, Common Mime, Crimson Rose, Plum Judy, Lime Butterfly, Southern Birdwing, Plain Tiger and Tailed Jay.
With some luck, Lepidopterist enthusiasts can notice some endemic butterfly species like the Tamil Yoeman and the Malabar Tree Nymph.
Finally, yet importantly, Mollem National Park is also famous for its reptile population. The most famous among the different types of snakes found in the park is undoubtedly the King Cobra. The other snake species in the park include – Hump-nosed Pit Viper, Bronze-back Tree Snake, Malabar Pit Viper, Indian Rock Python, Common Krait and Russell’s Viper.
Safari in Mollem National Park
Many adventure companies entice the tourists with exciting activities inside the boundary of Mollem National Park. The Dudhsagar Tour Operators Association, present within the premises of the park, offers jeep safari services. Interested tourists have to rent a 4X4 ride along with paying for life jackets and their cameras. The one-way tour takes about 45 minutes, and the tour operators give the tourists around 90 minutes to spend quality time in the waterfall.
Price: INR 2800 per vehicle with a carrying capacity of seven people
Hiking and Trekking
Taking private vehicles into the park is one option for exploring the surroundings, but a much better way of experiencing nature is by hiking through it. Many hikes and treks are conducted throughout Mollem National Park. The professional guides have acute knowledge about the terrain of the park, and they are well informed about the various animal and plant species that the tourists are likely to encounter during a hike.
There are two main nature trails in the park.
The 2.5-kilometre long trail starting from the Tambdi Surla Temple area that leads to a small waterfall.
The 5-kilometre long trek from the Mollem Park gate, ending at an ancient temple at Kachond.
There is another 14-kilometre long trek along the Sunset Point going up to Anmod, which is on the Goa border.
Since these trails are unmarked, it is advised to embark on these exploratory ventures with a guide. On special request and with the company of a forest official, night excursions can be arranged in the park as well. No extra charges are required for the excursion. However, tourists need to have their vehicle.
How to Reach
Mollem National Park is located at the Goa-Karnataka border, which is easily accessible through the nearby town of Mollem. Tourists can also hire private vehicles and cabs from the capital city of Panaji to reach the national park.
Tambdi Surla Temple: It is a small yet exquisite Shiva Temple of Lord Mahadev, dating back to the 12th century. Located at the end of a single lane paved road in the northern region of the park, this temple is still an active place of worship.
Dudhsagar Waterfalls: This multi-tiered waterfall can be found high up on the Mondovi River in the southwest region of the park, which is also the Karnataka border. Quite interestingly, it is the tallest waterfall in Goa and the fifth tallest in India.
Devil’s Canyon: An eerie canyon of water gushing downstream through a curved path created by the serpentine underwater currents. It can be seen just past the main trail entry point.
Sunset Point: If you are looking for a spot to feast your eyes with a breathtaking view of the park, this is the place to be. The viewpoint reveals a vast expanse of densely networked treetops.
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