Biodiversity and wildlife sanctuaries are important in Meghalaya as a whole. Especially in the tourism industry. The rich natural heritage is home not only to Meghalayans but also to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The Garo Hills, like any other district in Meghalaya, is a part of this natural essence.
Nokrek National Park is well known among locals and tourists in the Garo Hills as one of the bio-diverse hotspots. The highest peak in the Garo Hills range is Nokrek. It is located 1412 meters above sea level. Tourists can see most of the major rivers and streams in the Garo Hills region from here. Simsang river, also called Someshwari, is one of the rivers which flows towards Baghmara in Bangladesh. It is one of the most prominent rivers that visitors may come across.
In September 1988, the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India designated the peak and its surrounding areas as a national park. The park is in the south-eastern part of East Garo Hills. Some of the park areas is in the East Garo Hills district, while other parts are in the West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills districts.
The core area of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is also Nokrek National Park. It is about 2 kilometers from Tura Peak in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, India. In May 2009, UNESCO added this National Park to its list of Biosphere Reserves.
The Nokrek National Park is home to a diverse array of fauna. A massive canopy of thick, tall, and lush green forests envelop Nokrek and its surroundings. Within the Nokrek Range, scientists discovered the mother germoplasm of Citrus indica. It is known as Memang Narang in the common tongue. This discovery led to the establishment of the National Citrus Gene Sanctuary-cum-Biosphere Reserve, covering an area of forty-seven square kilometers. The area has wild citrus fruit varieties that serve as a gene pool for commercially produced citrus.
Aside from the exquisite flora that covers the entire region, it also has distinct animal species. It has a red panda population that has piqued the interest of people all over the world. This has been successful in attracting a large number of tourists from all over the world to see this rare species. Dr. J. Lao was the person who accidentally shot the red panda in the 1960s.
It is also home to the Asiatic elephant and several species of wild cats, ranging from a small marbled cat to the majestic tiger, as well as the clouded leopard. It is Meghalaya's state animal. It is truly fascinating to see this magnificent animal in this national park.
The national park also serves as a haven for several critically endangered and threatened fauna species, including the Slow Loris, Petaurista Philippensis (Giant flying squirrel), and Macaca leonina (Pig-tailed macaque). It also provides a home for rare primate species such as the Stump-tailed Macaque and a large population of India's most endangered ape, the Hoolock Gibbon. It is also known as Huro in the local dialect. Nokrek is also thought to be the home of the legendary Mande Burung, also known as jungle man or ape-man. There have been multiple reports of spottings in and around the villages of Nokrek. Any place's history is incomplete without the presence of a mythological creature. As a result, ape-man's presence adds a fascinating touch to the region of Nokrek National Park.
Nokrek is also a significant birding area, with sightings of winter migrants such as the Siberian stonechat (Saxicola maurus), Siberian rubythroat (Luscinia calliope), and rare species such as the mountain bamboo partridge (Bambusicola fytchii) and the flavescent bulbul (Pycnonotus flavescens). This gives a perfect opportunity for the bird-lovers to explore the national park.
Nokrek National Park is about 45 kilometers from Tura. It is located in the district of West Garo Hills. William Nagar, about 15 kilometers away, is the nearest town. Guwahati, the nearest railway station, is 160 kilometers away. Guwahati International Airport is 170 kilometers away. Therefore, one can travel as they please as per their convenience.
This magnificent wildlife sanctuary is open to visitors all year. The best time to visit Nokrek National Park, however, is from October to May
The Nokrek National Park is an ideal place to go birdwatching. Several migrant birds call this location home. Visitors who are lucky enough may also get to see some of the rare bird species. This wildlife provides an excellent opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to grab their binoculars and closely observe the diverse birds.
Visitors to this National Park can hike through multiple trails owing to the park's size of 48 square kilometers. Trekking is one of the best ways to observe the natural life around you. It allows you to get a closer look at nature's magnificence. It provides an ideal opportunity for trekkers who enjoy walking through the world's natural beauty.
Rongbang Dare Water Fall is located in Nokrek National Park and is popular among tourists who visit the area. There is also a Napak Lake near the Simsang River, as well as the Siju Cave. The cave is miles long and is filled with water. These caves are also referred to as the Bat Cave. It is well-known for its stalagmites and stalactites, as well as limestones. To better understand the cave, visitors can hire a guide who will assist them in a more effective exploration.
It is essential to bring an insect repellent spray or cream with you when exploring Nokrek National Park. It is advised to bring or apply sunscreen lotion or cream. A sufficient amount of water is required to quench your thirst. Since this park lacks a restaurant or cafe, travelling snacks are preferable. Carrying a miniature first-aid kit is a must when travelling anywhere.
This park is also home to many snakes, so be cautious when exploring it. As a result, it is critical that tourists pack a light bag with all of the aforementioned items as well as any additional items as needed when visiting Nokrek National Park.
The Nokrek National Park is unique in its own right. It will be unfortunate if the tourist doesn't have time to visit this exquisite hub of bio-diversity. Since Meghalaya is no less than a land of raw nature, you can only imagine the kinds of species you might experience in this sanctuary.