Betla National Park
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Initially comprising the 1,026 km2 of the Palamau Tiger Reserve, an additional 226 km2 was added to the park in 1989 and 63 km2 of the Mahuadar wolf sanctuary. 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.
The forests of the park have a vast range of vegetation consisting of sal and bamboo as the major components along with a number of medicinal plants. There are grasslands in the flowing area of the Koel river. Itself and its tributaries run through the northern portion of the park.
The park has a variety of diverse eco-systems and plenty of wild animals. Elephants in large numbers are seen mostly after the monsoons up to the time when water holes begin to dry up in March.
Permanent residents include as predators sloth bear, panther, and wolf. Jackal and hyena are common scavengers. Large herds of gaur and chital are commonly seen. Large families of langurs are an ever present attraction, as are rhesus monkeys. Other animals to be found in the NP are mouse deer, sambhar, four-horned antelopes, nilgai, kakar, small Indian civets, ant eating pangolin, porcupine and mongoose.At last decades white tigers were found rarely. To save such rare species they were transported to other zoo(s).
The park's rich bird life features the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white-necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, the pied hornbill, wagtails, the harial, doves, drongo, the crested serpent-eagle, forest owlets, the papeeha and other birds usually found in dry deciduous forests. The famous Kamaldah lake attracts several varieties of water birds including the common whistling and cotton teal, the knob-billed duck, snipe and geese. There are currently no tigers.
Other points of interest
There are waterfalls and hot springs.
Inside the park, there are two historical forts. One of them, situated near the Betla at 400 ft (120 m), was erected in the 16th century as the seat of Chero Kings. It is now deep inside the forest, but the main sentinel of the old fort is visible high up on the hill with defences in three directions and three main gates
The park provides several opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife from close range. There are elephant rides and jeeps available with guides for venturing inside the park. Watch towers and ground hides have been constructed to view the wild life.
The park is open throughout the year. Wildlife sightings are highest in the hot season (May to June), when foliage is not as thick. The most comfortable time to visit in terms of climate is between November and March.
By air: The nearest airport, Birsa Munda Airport in Ranchi, is connected by daily flights to all major Indian cities. Patna airport is around 250 road-km from Betla. Most resorts have pick-up facilities. Jharkhand Tourism also arranges pick-ups on advance notice.
By rail: The nearest railway station to Betla is at Barwadih Junction; it is 15 km by taxi or bus. The station features connections from Daltonganj, Latehar, Ranchi, Sasaram, Gaya, Patna, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kolkata, Bhopal, Dehri On Sone, Anugrah Narayan Road Railway Station.
By road: 10 road-km southeast of Daltonganj: leave the NH75 at Dubiyakhanr to take the 15 km to Betla on a secondary road.
The accommodation facilities in the tourist complex include a three star hotel, tourist lodges with canteen, log huts and tree houses inside the forest with fully furnished suites. The tree house overlooks a watering hole a few yards away where the animals gather in the summers to quench their thirst. There is grassland near tree house and canteen, where herds of Spotted Deer come to graze. STD/ISD, Postal and Internet facilities are available in the reserve area. For local tourists, Core Area Division runs a tourist bus on Saturday and Sunday which covers Palamu Quila, Betla Park, Kechki Confluence and return to Daltonganj.
Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation operates the Van Vihar for accommodation. A stay outside the park is possible at Betla, Garu, Maromar and Baresanr.