Betla National Park
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Initially comprising 1,026 km2 (396 sq mi) of the Palamau Tiger Reserve, an additional 226 km2 (87 sq mi) was added to the park in 1989 and 63 km2 (24 sq mi) 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 North Koyal River and its tributaries flow through the northern portion of the park, producing grasslands.
The park has a variety of diverse eco-systems and abundance of wild animals. Elephants in large numbers are seen mostly between the end of the monsoon season, to the time when watering holes begin to dry in March.
Predators include the sloth bear and panther, while scavengers include the wolf, jackal and hyena. Other animals include large herds of gaur and chital, large families of langurs, rhesus monkeys, mouse deer, sambhar deer, four-horned antelopes, nilgai, kakar, small Indian civets, ant eating pangolin, porcupine and mongoose. White tigers that remained in the park were transported to zoos.
Birds include the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white-necked stork, black ibis, swamp grey, quail, pied hornbill, wagtail, harial, dove, drongo, crested serpent-eagle, forest owlet, papeeha, and other birds usually found in dry deciduous forests. The Kamaldah lake attracts several varieties of water birds including the common whistling, cotton teal, knob-billed duck, snipe and geese.
Other points of interest
The park features waterfalls and hot springs. There are also two historical forts known as Palamu Forts, one of them situated near the Betla at 400 ft (120 m), 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 on the hill with defences in three directions and three main gates.
The park provides several opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife at 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 wildlife.
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.
Betla village (at Coordinates: ) is the only entry point to the park. The driving distance to the village is 25 km (16 mi) south from Daltonganj, 65 km (40 mi) northwest from Latehar and 170 km (110 mi) northwest from Ranchi.
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. Subscriber trunk dialling/International direct dialing, postal and internet facilities are available in the reserve area. For local tourists, Core Area Division runs a tourist bus on Saturday and Sunday. Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation operates the Van Vihar for accommodation. A stay outside the park is possible at Betla, Garu, Maromar and Baresanr.