Balpakram National Park

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Label : Must Visit

Tags : National Park

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Balpakram National Park, Tura Overview

Located in the southern Garo Hills in Meghalaya, about 167 Kms from Tura, Balpakram National Park lies at an elevation of about 3,000 feet above the sea level. The Park is a famous national park which is well known for its pristine beauty. The word Balpakram means the 'land of perpetual winds', and the national park is blessed with charming grace and breathtaking scenes.

The government of Meghalaya finally realised the significance of the region in the conservation of important species and its mythological associations; and created the Balpakram National Park on 15 February in 1986. Today, the area boasts of a myriad of species of fauna and flora. These species include the rare Lesser Panda, the Indian Bison and the Stag like Serow. A variety of very rare medicinal herbs, which are locally known as 'dikges', also grow abundantly in Balpakram.

One can find a deep gorge in Balpakram, which is popularly compared to the Grand Canyon of the United States of America. The gorge is referred to as the 'land of the spirits' since it is believed that the spirits of the dead live here temporarily before finally embarking on the journey towards their final abode. The Balpakram National Park is thus, rightly termed as a traveller's paradise since it is one of the best Canyons around the region, and is a must visit while in Meghalaya.

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Myths About Balpakram National Park

Numerous mysterious phenomenon takes place at the Balpakram National Park, for which modern science cannot give any reason, logic or account. It is widely believed that the ghosts of the dead inhabit the gorge at the national park. There is also a thick schimawallichi tree in the national park, which has a depression on its trunk which seems to be the outcome of constant tethering of animals and the work of harsh weather.

It is believed that while on their way to the abode of the dead, the spirits rest for a while here and tether the animals killed at their funeral. Whenever a tree falls due to the strong winds, another tree situated closeby gets affected with the same symptoms.

One can also find a massive magnetic rock in the national park. This stone has a hollow space on its surface, which has a powerful magnetic force. Any animal or bird that wonders close to the rock is magnetically drawn towards the hallow, and they are never able to escape from there. Consequently, the animals die. Interestingly, this magnetic force does not affect humans.

The steep rock cliffs that can be found in the canyon are supposed to be the natural habitats of the gonchos or evil spirits. These gonchos are believed to carry away people and lead them over steep precipices and inaccessible rock cliffs. They, however, do not cause any harm to their victims.
These and numerous other inexplicable events take place at the national park, which heightens the curiosity of the visitors and make for an exciting visit.

Flora and Fauna at Balpakram National Park

The Balpakram National Park is home to many endangered and endemic species of plants and animals. The area is full of sprawling vegetation of deciduous and subtropical trees. The region is also famous for the pitcher plant and other plants of crucial medicinal value that is commonly found here.

The animals that the national park houses include the golden cat, barking deer, Wild Water Buffalo, Red Panda, Elephant and eight different species of cats which consists of the Tiger and Marbled cat. Numerous species of baboons and monkeys can also be found in the forest, apart from other reptiles and birds.

Balpakram National Park Caves

The Balpakram National Park is also quite famous for its caves, which are complete with beautiful limestone formations of stalagmite and stalactite. The Siju-Dobkhakol Cave is situated on the bank of the Simsang River, just below the village of Siju, around 30 kilometres to the north of Baghmara. This cave is 4772 metres long and is renowned for being the third longest cave in India. It contains some of the most beautiful river passages that can be found all across the globe.

The Tetengkol-Balwakol Cave, or the Cave of dwarfs with inverted feet, is situated at Nengkhong village and is the second longest cave in India. Other prominent caves that can be found here include the Dobhakol Chibe Nala and Bok Bak Dobhakol.

Best Time To Visit Balpakram National Park

The best time to visit the Balpakram National Park is from October to March when the weather is the most pleasant, and there is little rainfall in the region. One can enjoy watching animals during these months when they come to drink water in the rivers and lakes in the national park.

Tips For Visiting Balpakram National Park

1. The Balpakram National Park is a protected place, and prior permission has to be taken from the wildlife authorities before entering the area. One can easily obtain the permit to visit the National park from the DFO office in Baghmara free of cost.
2. Keep in mind that the national park is untouched and has bare minimum facilities for tourists. Only the very committed and passionate tourists come here.

How To Reach Balpakram National Park

The best way to reach the Balpakram National Park is via Tura, which can be easily reached from Guwahati or the Goalpara Town through night buses and sumos. From Tura, one has to hire an SUV to reach the national park, which will cost you around INR 1500. Alternatively, you can hire an SUV directly from Guwahati or Goalpara to reach your final destination.

Helicopter services are also available from Shillong and Guwahati to Tura.

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