Kanger Ghati National Park

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Kanger Ghati National Park
Kanger Valley National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Kanger Ghati National Park
Map showing the location of Kanger Ghati National Park
Location Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, India
Nearest city Jagdalpur
Coordinates 18°45′0″N 82°10′0″E / 18.75000°N 82.16667°E / 18.75000; 82.16667Coordinates: 18°45′0″N 82°10′0″E / 18.75000°N 82.16667°E / 18.75000; 82.16667
Area 200 sq km
Established 1982
Governing body Conservator of Forest
http://www.kvnp.in

Kanger Ghati National Park (also called Kanger Valley National Park) was declared a National Park in 1982 by the Government of India.

Among the various Protected Areas in the country, the Kanger Valley National Park near Jagdalpur, in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh is one of the most beautiful and densest National Parks, well known for its Biodiversity with picturesque landscape, magnificent waterfalls, very famous subterranean geomorphologic limestone caves, home for the bird-Bastar Hill myna, the state bird of Chhattisgarh.

Located amidst the 34 km long and scenic Kanger Valley, a Biosphere Reserve, Kanger Valley National Park is one of the most beautiful and picturesque national parks of India. Spread over an area of approximately 200 km2 consisting mainly of hilly terrain, the Park derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout its length.

The Kanger Valley National Park is noted for its highly heterogeneous land formations ranging from low flat and gentle areas to steep slopes, plateaus, valleys and stream courses. The vast undulating terrain of the Kanger Valley National Park harbours diverse habitats which offer an ideal site for diverse kinds of flora and fauna, thus making it a hotspot of Biodiversity in the Central India.

The Park also has a sizable tribal population and is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, researchers, anthropologists and for anyone who wants to discover the very best of Chhattisgarh wildlife and unique tribes of the region.

Coordinates and area of the park[edit]

The location and area of the park can be seen on the map of the region.[1]

The National Park lies within the following geographical coordinates:

  • Latitude: 18° 45' 00" N to 18° 56' 30" N
  • Longitude: 81° 51' 30" E to 82° 10' 00" E

The total area of the National Park is 200.00 km2 (77.22 sq mi). The Valley starting from Tirathgarh waterfalls to the Kolab River (Odisha State boundary) is nearly 33.5 km (20.8 mi) long and the average width is about 6 km (3.7 mi)

Flora and fauna in the park[edit]

Flora[edit]

The flora in the park consists chiefly of mixed moist deciduous type of forests with predominance of Sal, Teak and Bamboo trees. In fact, the Kanger Valley is the only region in the Peninsular India where one of the last pockets of virgin and untouched forests still left.

According to the survey done by the Botanical Survey of India and other Research Organizations, the National park has 553 floral species out of which 12 species are new to Chhattisgarh, 43 species are reported rare.

Floral diversity includes insitu gene bank of medicinal plants, grasses, climbers, wild sugarcane, canes, ferns, epiphytes, Sal, teak, bamboo and their rich associates.

Fauna[edit]

Major Wildlife of the Kanger Valley National Park are the Tigers, Leopards, Mouse Deer, Wild Cat, Chital, Sambar, Barking Deer, Jackals, Langurs, Rhesus Macaque, Sloth Bear, Flying Squirrel, Wild Boar, Striped Hyena, Rabbits, Pythons, Cobra, Crocodiles, Monitor Lizards and Snakes to name a few. The avian fauna at the Park includes Hill Myna, Spotted Owlet, Red Jungle Fowls, Racket-tailed Drongos, Peacocks, Parrots, Steppe Eagles, Red Spur Fall, Phakta, Bhura Teeter, Tree Pie and Heron among many others.

The blind and albinic cavefish (Indoreonectes evezardi) from Kotumsar Cave, India

A few tributaries form marshy land in early dry season due to natural seepage. Ekta Jhodi, Kyam nallah, Karanji Jhodi, Rajamunda, Punji Jhodi, Komkel Jhodi forms good marshy area which are good habitat of wild boar and sloth bear. Chital & barking dear, Panther are mainly found in this marshy area. Kariya Ama nallah is perennial marshy belt and is ideal habitat of wild boar, sloth bear, chital, leopard & tiger.

The fauna that have been recorded in the National Park include:

- 49 species of Mammals

- 144 species of Birds

- 16 species of Amphibians

- 37 species of Reptiles

- 56 species of Pisces

- 91 species of Butterflies

- 26 species of Moths &

- 113 species of Spiders

Human settlements in the park and adjoining areas[1][edit]

The National Park comprises two ranges viz: Kotamsar and Koleng range. The Kotamsar range, forming the western half on the Park is dotted with revenue villages on its boundary and there is hardly any forest area outside the Park for fuel wood, small wood, bamboo and other non-timber forest produce. So the Zone of influence (Zl) for people in this range is 10 km. The Koleng range forming the Eastern half of the Park has lesser number of villages on its boundary and is comparatively free from biotic pressure. So in the central portion Zone of influence is 10 km and on eastern boundary it is 5 km. All together there are 48 villages within 5 km radius of National Park boundary and only one Forest village (Kotamsar) is inside the National Park.

Geology, rock, soil and terrain[edit]

Geology and rock[edit]

The National Park has remarkable geological diversity. The National Park has mainly Cuddapah group of rock formation and at some places vindhyan group of rock formation, shales are the common rock formation of cuddapah group, which are horizontally bedded, at many places calcareous, the other rock formation is slate.

In the North Western part i.e. Tirathgarh, Kamanar, Kotamsar there is outcrop of limestone, sandstone, quartzite and laterites. In northern middle part form Nagalsar to Radhanaras at many places lime stone are well exposed and outcrop of quartzite and laterites. Limestone caves of Kotamsar, Dandak, Devgiri, and Kailash are present in this part. In the North eastern part from Pulcha to Kolab River, rock is shale and some quartzite with outcrop of granite.

In the South Western part, rock is of vindhyan group mainly granite and sandstone. At few places granite and mica are also present. In Southern middle part, rock is of caddapah group of quartzite and granite. At many places mica-schist are present Shale, sandstone have also outcropped.

In the South Eastern part, rock is primarily of cuddapah group of granite, shale, slate, sandstone and occasional quartzite outcrop. On slopes laterites are present. At some places vindhyan group of rock are also present.

Soil[edit]

Poor and rocky soil is found on the hill tops and slopes. Recent deposits are alluvial soils, high and low level laterites, and ferruginous conglomerates. The soils are yellowish-brown, brownish red, reddish and brown in colour and mostly residual in nature. These soils are loamy, sandy and lateritic in nature. The thickness of soil varies from 4'-6'. The soil is slightly acidic with PH value ranging from 5.3 to 7.0.

Terrain[edit]

The Park is Valley of Kanger River. The river flows from NW to SE direction centrally through deep gorges. Both sides of the valley are very steep and are associated with hill ranges. The entire Park area is hilly. Eastern half portion is very hilly & western half is comparatively less hilly. There are small plateaus interspersed with hills. The entire Park is full of seasonal nallahs and these nallahs join Kanger River from both sides. Major tributaries of Kanger river from North are Durmunda nallah, Champal nallah, Kala Jhodi, Mama Bhancha nallah, Jaraha nallah, Matkal Jhodi, Kodri Bahar nallah, Musari nallah, Karanjr Jhodi, Bade Beda nallah, Dudung Jhodi. Major tributaries joining Kanger from south are Munga Bahar nallah, Ekta Jhodi, Karanjl Jhodi, Raja Munda nallah, Kyam nallah, Punji Jhodi, Kataguda nallah, Komkel Jhodi, Kopang nallah.

The altitude of the Park varies from 338 to 781 meter above MSL. Terrain on North Eastern, Eastern and South Eastern side is very hilly, steep, high and so difficult for human intrusion. Kolab River on Eastern border is very rocky with dens and is difficult for human intrusion.

The National park is well known for the presence of subterranean limestone caves with dripstones and flowstones [Annexure-9]. The formations of Stalactites and Stalagmites are still taking place. The caves in the National Park provide shelter for various species of wildlife. The caves in the National park are inhabited by Leopards, Porcupines, Hyenas, Bears, Bats, fishes, snakes, frogs, crickets etc. The overhangs are mostly found in the western part (Tirathgarh) and eastern portion (Near Kolab River) of the National park which provide a good habitat for honeybees especially the rock bees. Dens are found on the rocky portions of the National park where wild dogs (Dholes), Jackals, wolves, foxes, mongoose etc. occupies it for shelter and breeding.

Cliffs are present in Tirathgarh waterfall area and in the western portion of National park along the Kanger River and Kolab River. They provide ideal habitat for bats, eagles, pigeons, swifts and some reptile species. The bouldery drainages can be seen at Tirathgarh waterfall region, Kanger Dhara and at points where the Kanger River flows from steep height.

Sand banks are observed along the Kanger River especially at points where the Kanger River takes a curve. Sand banks are seen at Bhainsadarha located on the Eastern portion of the National park where Mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris) use it for basking purpose. Smooth Indian Otters are also found using this habitat.

Kanger River[edit]

Kanger River is among one of very few perennial rivers of Bastar and herein lies the importancy of the river and the Park. Kanger River is lifeline and hills are its recharging reservoir, whole National Park is the catchment of Godavari River.

Limestone Caves[edit]

The Kanger valley National Park has huge limestone deposits where some of them are in the form of caves and the rest of it are in the form of layers or beds one upon the other. These deposits are present above the soil as well as under the ground level. The underground portions form the caves.

The National Park is very famous for the long subterranean geomorphological limestone caves and is a major tourist attraction in the region. All lime stone caves are present North of Kanger River between Madarkonta to Kodri Bahar. These are Kotamsar cave, Kailash Cave, Dandak Cave, Devgiri cave. Many other caves were also discovered in the National park. These caves have very fine structures of dripstones i.e. Stalactites and Stalagmites. Chemically these formations are recrystallized calcium carbonate. These structures have taken million of years for its formation.

Kotamsar and Kailash caves are opened for tourists and other caves are closed for tourists. Only those caves which have openings have been discovered in the National park. There are many caves which have no opening and they are yet to be discovered.

Places to visit[edit]

As approaches to most of the places do not have proper signages guiding movements and it being largely a virgin area, one should visit these places with assistance and under guidance of the local inhabitants.

The routes prescribed for Tourism in the National Park as follows:

  1. Kotamsar Barrier to Kotamsar (5 km)
  2. Kotamsar Barrier to Kanger Dhara (7 km)
  3. Kotamsar Barrier to Kotamsar cave (10 km)
  4. Tirathgarh barrier to Tirathgarh waterfalls (7 km)
  5. Netanar barrier to Kailash cave (5 km)
  6. Nature trail from Kamanar barrier to Tirathgarh waterfalls (3.0 km)
  7. Nature trail from Kailash cave to Kailash zheel (1.5 km)

Tirathgarh Waterfalls[2][edit]

Tirathgarh Waterfalls can be termed as "Milky Fall" because of the white colour of the water as it descends down the rocky slope giving an impression as if milk is falling.

It is located around 38 km from Jagdalpur in the renowned eco tourism site of Kanger Valley National Park. The scenic Tirathgarh Falls is one of the most magnificent waterfalls in Chhattisgarh. Water cascading from the beautiful hills surrounding the falls provides splendid views. Splashing streams of water comes down at an incredible speed from a height of more than 100 feet on the river Mugabahar which originates in a lake not very far away from this point. The area surrounding the fall features lush green forests that enhance the beauty of the falls.

The water flowing through the various streams and crossing numerous paths along the way in a zigzag manner and finally ending up in the falls is a treat to watch. Besides the natural beauty associated with this place, Tirathgarh Falls is also an important religious place featuring a temple which is dedicated to Shiva Parvati. Every thousands of tourists and devotees come here from within the state and rest of India for having spectacular views of Tirathgarh Falls as well as offering prayers at the temple. The best season to visit this place is in the months of October through February.

Kotumsar Caves[3][edit]

Kotumsar Caves are situated at a distance of about 40 km (25 mi) from Jagdalpur. Kotumsar Caves are about 35 meters below ground level and around 1371 meters long.

Kotumsar Cave is a subterranean limestone cave located near the banks of Kanger River in the western portion of National park. It was discovered by the local people around year 1900 and explored by a renowned Geographar Shri Sankar Tiwari in the year 1951 and it is one of the best known caves in Chhattisgarh as well as in India.

The floor of the cave consists of soil/clay, pebbles, rocks and water pools with several lateral and downward passages. Perpetual darkness and constant temperature (28°C + 1°C) prevails inside the cave. For entry into the cave, Cement concrete steps, Steel steps and railings are available near the entrance side.

These caves have got the distinction of being India's first most biologically explored cave. As they are underground, there is pitch-darkness inside. It features Stalactites and Stalagmites formations. Entry to the caves is through the narrow stairs and visitors have to pass through tall, narrow chambers for gaining access to the main hall that features superb acoustics. The caves feature five chambers having several blind wells. Lots of tribal tales are also associated with it and are also known as Gupanpal or Kutamsar Caves. The Stalactites found inside the cave have been an interesting research topic for scientists and even arouse the curiosity among the visitors.

Kotumsar cave harbours a variety of fauna like bats, frogs, snakes, crickets, spiders, fishes, millipedes etc. Fishes and frogs are found in the ditches of the cave where as bats, spiders, crickets are found on the ceilings and walls of the cave. Dr. Jayant Biswas has well documented the biology of the cave organisms living in Kotumsar Cave

There is lack of oxygen when going deep into the caves. In view of which, for safety reasons, entry beyond certain points has been restricted.

The cave is closed from June 15 to October 31 during rainy season. The cave needs removal of debris before tourist season.

Kailash Caves[3][edit]

Kailash Caves are located in the Kanger Valley National Park area near Mikulwada. The caves are located around 40 km from Jagdalpur. Discovered recently in 1993, the caves are around 250 meters long and are situated at an altitude of 40 meters above the ground level. It features stalactite and stalagmite formations that offer stunning sight.

Access to the cave is through a narrow opening and at the end of the cave is a huge stalagmite formation in the shape of Shivlinga. The hollow walls of the cave, when struck by hand, make incredible musical sounds.

Bhainsa Darha[edit]

It is located at a distance of 65 km from Jagdalpur. Kanger river is full of deep gorges so darha (water pools) maintain very hygienic quality of water. Crocodiles are mainly found in these darhas. One of the famous ones is Bhainsa Darha.

It is surrounded by mountains with thick greenery from all sides. The watch tower situated at Bhainsa Darha gives an awesome view of lake. Bhainsa Darha lake has crocodiles and tortoises.

It takes a drive of about two hour to reach Bhainsa Darha. The best time to visit is during winter season. Remember during Rainy Season Roads are closed. It is risky to go on bike as roads are not good. Its a dense forest so if vehicle got punctured then no one will be there to help you. Also no mobile coverage. So you are trapped.Always prefer 4 wheeler especially going with family.[4]

Kanger Dhara[edit]

Kanger Dhara is located inside the Kanger Valley National Park, 36 km from Jagdalpur. For reaching Kanger Dhara, one should get the applicable permission and tickets from the District Forest Office located at the entry to the park.

It is a very good picnic spot where individuals and families alike can spend time and have lot of fun. Nice small cascading falls, give one enough space to take a bath and enjoy. The location also present beautiful scene of Kanger River going through the forest.

The best season for visiting the park is from winters up to summers, after which the park closes for the tourist from the beginning of Monsoons in the month of July.

Being in the laps of Kanger Valley, Kanger Dhara waterfalls is actually produced by the Kanger River due to presence of undulating rocks present there. Geologists suggest that the area was a sedimentary terrain, later intruded by Igneous rock bodies, due to which, the area has got such folded structures.

Just at the beginning of the downstream of Kanger river, when the river falls from undulating folded rocks, it presents a magnificent view of small cascades of water fall, which forms beautiful Kanger Dhara.

Dandak Cave[edit]

Similar to Kotumsar Cave, one can see the stalactites and stalagmites in fantastic formations.A very beautiful cave.

Best season to visit[edit]

The best season to visit the Kanger Valley is November - June.

How to reach the park[edit]

Kanger Valley is well approachable from Jagdalpur in the Chhattisgarh state of India as can be seen on the road network map of the area.

Entry into the National Park is permitted form Netanar and Kotamsar barriers. Netanar barrier is situated at 33 km from Jagdalpur on the road passing through village Sargipal, Bodal, Murma, and Netanar. The Park starts after 3 km from the Netanar barrier. Main entry of the Park is from Kotamsar barrier situated at 27 km from Jagdalpur on the Jagdalpur-Darbha road i.e. NH 221 (connecting Jagdalpur to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh). Inside the Park there is good network of Murram and kutcha roads.

Raipur (330 km) is the nearest airport and Jagdalpur (27 km) is the nearest railhead and bus stand from the Kanger Valley National Park.

Rest houses, Hotels, lodges, Resorts of good quality are available for lodging at Jagdalpur. Inside the Park Forest Rest House at Kotamsar and Tirathgarh is available; Nearest Petrol Pump is at Jagdalpur. Forest wireless system is at Tirathgarh & Netanar.

See also[edit]

Image gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]