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Clouded Hills of Mawsynrum

Clouded Hills of Mawsynrum

Eco-Park near Seven Sister Falls

Eco-Park near Seven Sister Falls

Barapani Lake

Barapani Lake

Cloud and the hills

Cloud and the hills

Balpakrem National Park

Most tourists to Meghalaya visit the common Shillong – Mawsynram – Cherrapunjee sector. But there is a lot to Meghalaya than Shillong. One of the least explored area is the Balpakrem National Park located in South Garo Hills district. It is a vast tableland of dense forest, filled with wild life, and is undoubtedly one of the richest bio-diversity hotspot of the country.

The park is a paradise for many rare and exotic species of flora and fauna. One of the more famous floras found here is the insect eating plants such as the pitcher plant. Canyon around the region also offers great views.

Balpakrem National Park occupies a total area of 200 Sq. Km and lies at an elevation of 915 mtrs above the sea level. It was declared a National Park in 1987. Temperature in this park is averagely 12-15° C in Winter and 20-28° C in Summer. Ideal time to visit this place is between March to May and November to February. Most tourists prefer to visit here between March to May as this the time when the entire area is covered with colorful wild flowers.

The wildlife in the forest include the pachyderm and the Tigers. According to recent census there are more than 600 elephants and close to 50 tigers in this small area. The forests are also famous as home of Hoolock Gibbons, the only ape species found in India. Other wildlife varieties in the forest include rare Lesser Panda, Indian bison (Gaur), Serow. There is also existence of a variety of Mammals such as binturong, clouded leopard, leopard cat, wolf, sloth bear, loris, etc.

The local people of the area called ‘Garo’, consider Balpakram as sacred place. The locals believe Balpakram has many mysterious and unnatural phenomena that cannot be explained by science. The place is believed to be the resting places of the spirit of the dead.

The local Hindus also consider Balpakram as a secret Place. According the local legend Balapakram is originally mount Sumeru which Hanuman took when he was unable to locate Sanjeevani plant that was supposed to save the life of Laxman.

Siju Dobkhakol

Siju is one of the largest caves in India and is one of the least explored. The cave is located on the bank of the Simsang River just below the village of Siju, 75 kms of Balpakrem National Park. This 4772 m long cave is the third longest cave in India and contains some great river passages.

Close by on the other side of Simsang river is Siju bird sanctuary, the home for many rare and protected birds and other wildlife. At the entrance to this bird sanctuary climb for about a km and you will get to see some beautiful rock formations. From Baghmara, Siju is about an hours drive.

Tetengkol Balwakol

It is the second longest cave in India. The name ‘Tetengkol Balwakol’ means ‘Cave of dwarfs with inverted feet’ referring to the large number of bats that reside here. The cave is situated close to Nengkhong village, 15 kms from Siju & 90 kms from Balpakrem National Park. This 5334 m long cave is hidden behind a circular entrance.

Areng patal (Magnetic stone)

This massive  rock with a hollow space on its surface is believed to have strong magnetic force. The rock formation is located at Chimitap village on the northern fringe of the Balpakram forest. Close by in the Chimitap village, there is a Chimitap stream which literally mean underground. The stream surfaces near the village and then goes underground again after a short run of just about 500 yards.

Balpakram National Park can be accessed via road, as the district does not have an airport or railway station. The nearest railhead is at Guwahati about 377 km away from the park & the nearest airport is also at Guwahati about 400 kms away. From Guwahati, you can reach here via Tura town, which is about 160 kms away.

The road from Tura to Balapakram is an interesting drive, it passes through the boarder of Bangladesh. You pass through lush green pastures with small hillocks and go on and off the hills before reaching the small town of Baghmara. The Baghmara name means ‘place where the Tiger Killed’. The small town besides Simsang river is the base for visit to the forest.

Map of Balpakrem National Park

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