Betla National Park
Betla National Park is a beautiful place, located in the Chota Nagpur Plateau of the Latehar District of the state of Jharkhand. ‘Betla’ is an acronym of the following words- Bison, Elephant, Tiger, Leopard, and Axis-axis.
The area in Palamu District in Jharkhand was set aside as a protected area in 1947 under the Indian Forests Act. In the year of 1973, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary. The area was set up as the Palamau Tiger Reserve in the year of 1974. Total area of the reserve is about 1014 Km2.
It was declared as a National Park in the year of 1986. Total area of the park is about 226.33 Km2. Betla National Park is considered among the best national parks in India, and became one of the earliest 9 tiger reserves in India under ‘Project Tiger’ in 1974.
The park supports a wealth of biodiversity and is home to an enormous range of vegetation as well as animals and birds.
The vegetation mainly consist of tropical wet evergreen forests, mixed deciduous forests and temperate alpine forests.
The park is protected home to the mammals like Elephant, Panther, Leopard, Wild Boar, Tiger, Gaur, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital, Mouse Deer, Monkeys, Small Indian Civet, Mongoose, Jackals, Porcupine etc.
The prime attraction at Betla is observing wildlife at close range. An interesting fact is the presence of two historical forts within the national park.
Betla village is the only entry point to the park. Inside the park, we can also find waterfalls and hot springs.
Palamau has the distinction of being the forest where the world’s first tiger census was enumerated in 1932.
This area was set aside as a protected area in 1947 under the Indian Forests Act. In the year of 1973, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary.
The area was set up as the Palamau Tiger Reserve in the year of 1974. Total area of the reserve is about 1014 Km2. Before the Palamau was declared a Tiger Reserve, poaching and overgrazing was common.
The present area of the reserve got duly constituted either as Protected Forest or Reserved Forest under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 way back in 1947. Betla was one of the first national parks in India to become a tiger reserve under Project Tiger. The park is under administration of the forest departments.
It was declared as a National Park in the year of 1986. Total area of the park is about 226.33 Km2.
The villagers within Palamau Tiger Reserve are predominantly tribal. They belong to ethnic groups like Munda, Kherwar, Chero, Kisan and Birjia. These tribals traditionally led a nomadic life and in harmony with the wildlife and natural resources of Palamau.
Betla is most important tourist place of Jharkhand having luxuriant Sal and miscellaneous trees and bamboo forests. The forest starts from Kechki and extended up to Neterhat.
Sal dominates the dry and deciduous region of the dry deciduous forests towards the southern side of the forests whereas pure patches of Bel Aegle marmelos are found in the northern part of the reserve.
The park has an undulating terrain is marked with important hills like the Murhu, Netarhat, Huluk and Gulgul, which is the highest. The majestic sal, covers the valleys and hills of this reserve.
Several waterfalls such as the Mirchaia Water Fall and the Lodh Water Fall and the hot water spring like the Tataha Pani mark the luxuriant landscape.
River Koel and its tributaries also run through the northern portion of the park help the diverse eco-system of the park.
The forests of the park have a vast range of vegetation consisting of tropical wet evergreen forests in the lower reaches, mixed 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.
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.
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