The Garo Hills Wildlife Sanctuary is 42 km from Tura, the district headquarters of the West Garo Hills district in Meghalaya. The sanctuary has an area of about 320 sq km and derives its name from the adjacent town of Baghmara. A major attraction here is a large landolith called 'Chadar', which is a rock that runs for about 12 km.
The Balpakram National Park is situated in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya at an altitude of about 650 m above sea level. This Park is famous for its scenic beauty, pristine vegetation and biological diversity. Flora in the form of orchids, bamboos, other flowering plants is found here while fauna includes tigers, elephants etc.
Balpakram National Park was declared as a park in 1990 AD covering an area of around 64sqkm. This place can be easily accessed from Guwahati by taking NH-40 and then turning towards Tura town on NH-53 where one can find another road branching off towards north leading to Balpakram waterfalls. Trekking through the forests of Meghalaya will always give you a chance to spot wild elephants, Hoolock gibbons, Malayan giant squirrels, Asiatic black bears etc along with some extremely rare species like Binturongs (Asian bearcats) and Smooth-coated otters.
Mystery of Balpakram
Balpakram is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Balpakram has seen many theories and its mystery still remains unsolved. It has been hypothesized that this landmass can be dated back to 300 million years ago through fossils found here by experts at Indian Geological Survey (IGS).
Balpakram National Park has many mysterious tales associated with it. It is believed that when the tribal people asked questions about the sudden disappearance of animals in the area to one particular Nokma (shaman), he mentioned Balpakram in his reply.
According to him, there was once a huge rock at the place where Balpakram National Park is situated presently. In the rainy season, a torrential downpour washed away this rock along with trees and bushes in its path.
The Nokma further mentioned that if people go deep inside the forest in search of water they might be swallowed by a giant snake which was responsible for the disappearance of many animals from Balpakram.
Another such tale says that during the funeral ceremony of a tribal man many years ago when an elderly lady saw her grandson in a trance she asked him what he was seeing and why he was afraid. To this, the child replied through his trance: "A big creature like a snake is eating me up". When people went deep into the forest, they saw that indeed a big snake was eating him up.
They followed this snake but it went too deep into the forest until finally its head was struck by lightning. The people of Balpakram believe that if someone goes deeper into the forest through Balpakram without seeking permission from Bagh-Bri (Lord of the Forest), he/she will definitely be swallowed by this huge snake.
The Balpakram National Park is open to the public from November 1st to May 31st every year. Visitors are welcome from 5 AM to 4 PM each day of the month of November-February and 5 AM to 6 PM during March-May.
The best time to visit Balpakram National Park is from November to March when the weather is cool and balmy. The monsoon usually lasts from June till October and waterfalls at Balpakram turn into a huge sheet of water extending beyond your sight and often cause landslides and rock-falls making it dangerous to visit.
Nokrek National Park is situated in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and is also known as the Black Hill National Park or 'Nokrek Biosphere Reserve'. The main attraction here is the endangered species of hornbill called the Black Hornbill.
The Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is the only biosphere reserve in India that covers a single geographical entity in the Nokrek hills. This 300 km reserve consists of three sanctuaries - Rajiv Gandhi (Nokrek) National Park, Nokrek Biosphere Reserve and Rangthong juxta Kelling. It is contiguous with the Balphakram National Park in Bangladesh.
This lush green forest has many endemic species like Golden Langur, Hoolock Gibbon, White Winged Wood Duck, Capped Langur etc. The place is also rich with tropical evergreen trees like Aningeria spp., Alsophila spp., Grewia spp., Symplocos tinctoria etc.
The best time to visit Nokrek Biosphere Reserve is between November and March when you can spot several migrant birds flying overhead. It is a birdwatcher's delight and there are many rare species of birds that you can see here.
You can also spot other animals like the leopard, wild dog and civet from a small watchtower in this park. You may need to carry your own binoculars with you since none are available on site. Moreover, there are no guest houses or restrooms here.
Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary
The Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the East Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. read more about Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary
Siju Cave Wildlife Sanctuary
The Siju Cave is located in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya at an altitude of about 500 m above sea level. read more about Siju Cave Wildlife Sanctuary
Jakrem is situated in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and is also known as the 'New Jerusalem'. read more about Jakrem
Baghmara Pitcher Plant Sanctuary
Baghmara Pitcher Plant Sanctuary is situated in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. It is one of the few places in India where you can find a large number of Nepenthes khasiana, a rare species of carnivorous pitcher plants.
The best time to visit Baghmara Pitcher Plant Sanctuary is between November and March when you will be able to see hundreds of pitcher plants. Some other animals that you can spot here include the leopard, civet and barking deer.
Garo Hills Elephant Reserve
Garo Hills Elephant Reserve is situated in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and covers an area of about 200 sq km. read more about Garo Hills Elephant Reserve
Baghmara Wolf Sanctuary
Baghmara Wolf Sanctuary is situated in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and covers an area of about 300 hectares with a thick forest cover. read more about Baghmara Wolf Sanctuary