The Palamau National Park is located in the western part of the Chotanagpur plateau in the state of Bihar. The region extends from the latitude 23°25'-23°55' in the North to the longitude 83°50'-84°25' in the East. The park is spread over a core area of 250 square kilometers and is also known as the Betla National Park. Palamau is situated within the Indo-Malayan realm and is rich in flora and fauna, though the area is prone to severe droughts. The Palamau National Park was brought under Project Tiger in the year 1973. It is among the first nine Tiger Reserves of the country. The core area of the park was declared as a National Park in September 1989.
The vegetation in the sanctuary comprises of the Moist Deciduous and Dry Deciduous Forests. Sal and Bamboo are found in huge number. The western part of the Tiger Reserve has Dry Deciduous Forests and the other part of the forest has Moist Mixed Deciduous Forests. The recently prepared Herbarium by the Tiger Reserve Authorities records a good number of medicinal plants.
The world's first tiger-census was done in the Palamau forests in the year 1932. the counting was based on pugmark count. there were around 44 tigers in the park, when the last census was done. Other important wildlife found in the sanctuary are Chital, Chinkara, Common Langur, Dhole (wild dogs), Elephants, Gaur, Hares, Indian porcupine, Nilgai, Monkey, Mouse Deer, Leopard, Pangolin, Panther, Sambar, Sloth Bear, Tiger, Wild Boar and Wolves. Peafowl, Red Jungle Fowl and Partridges are the common birds found here.
The tourists can drive through patches of dense forests of Sal and Bamboo in the park. The guide and a jeep can be hired from the forest department. The core region of the forest is not open to tourists. Watch towers and ground hides have been created so that the wildlife can be seen in relative stillness and safety.
Besides the animal and bird kingdom, the tourists can have a look at the two large forts towering deep in the forests. It is believed that the Adivasi kings of the Chero dynasty have built these forts. Raja Medhni Raj, the ruler of Chotanagpur started the construction of the fort but his son Pratap Raj completed it while the father was busy fighting battles with the invaders. The prime picket of the old fort is visible from the top of the hill. The fort had defenses in three directions and three main gates. the largest gate was named Singh Dwar or the Lion Gate. The Nagpuri Gate has two inscriptions in Sanskrit and Persian. The architecture is truly Islamic in style. The British used to pay regular amount for the upkeep of the forests. A lot of excavation and restoration work was also carried out.
The city of Ranchi is 140 km from the Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary. The city was the summer capital of Bihar state, during the British period. Now the capital of the newly carved Jharkhand state, Ranchi is the hill station. The Hazaribagh National Park is close by and has an ecosystem and inhabitants similar to that of Palamau. Netarhat, the Queen of Chotanagpur. is situated at an elevation of 3,700 feet above sea level. For abundant lush greenery and splendid scenic beauty, it is an ideal place.
Tourists should not cause any damage floral and faunal life. The flora should not be plucked to take back home. You should not kindle any kind of fire; throw lit matches and cigarette buds. Do not throw or leave trash, litter and polyethylene bags in the forest. Firearms and chemicals should not be taken into the forests as they may cause harm to the wildlife and the vegetation. Never play radio and tape recorders as their frequency and voice might disturb, scare or irritate the animals.
The region experiences extreme weather conditions with the maximum temperature rising to 40°C in summers. The winters are also quite severe with the minimum temperature dropping to as low as 3°C. The monsoon months are from July to mid September.
The tourists should carry light cotton clothes during the summers and heavy woolens during the winters.
How To Reach
The nearest airport to the Palamau national Park is at Ranchi, which is at a distance 40 km. Ranchi is well connected to Delhi, Calcutta, Patna and Lucknow by regular air-flights.
The nearest important railway station to Palamau National Park is at Daltongunj. The station is well connected with many places of the nearby region with regular trains. Ranchi and Gaya are also convenient railway stations for the tourists coming from Delhi and Calcutta respectively.
The sanctuary is easily accessible by road and well connected to other cities of the region by surface network.
There are several options for accommodation at the Palamau National Park. There is a three star hotel, tourist lodges, log huts and tree houses. The tree house is made entirely of wood and has well furnished bedroom suites. A watering hole a few yards away is visible from the tree house where the animals gather in the summers. The tourist complex at the park also offers a lodge with fully furnished rooms as well as a canteen.
STD/ISD and Postal facilities are available at the Palamau Wildlife Sanctuary. Internet is not available in the reserve area. Telegraph facility is available at Daltongunj , which is 24 km away from the park.