Friday, June 2, 2023

Balphakram National Park

Balphakram National Park UPSC

Balpakram National Park is located in the southern part of the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, India. It is a protected area known for its diverse flora and fauna, as well as its stunning landscapes.


Table of Contents

  • Balphakram National Park Location
  • Balphakram National Park History
  • Balphakram National Park Area
  • Balphakram National Park Hills
    • Garo Hills
  • Balphakram National Park River
    • Simsang River (Goneshwari River)
  • Balphakram National Park Caves
    • Siju-Dobkhakol Cave
  • Balphakram National Park Tribe
    • Garo Tribe
  • Balphakram National Park Flora
    • Tropical Deciduous Trees
    • Subtropical Vegetation
    • Grassland
    • Bamboo Forest
    • Carnivorous Plants
  • Balphakram National Park Fauna
    • Mammals
    • Birds
    • Reptiles
  • Top Things to do in Balphakram National Park
  • Balphakram National Park UPSC Questions


Balphakram National Park Location

Balphakram National Park is located in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, India. It is located at an altitude of about 910 meters (3,000 feet).


Balphakram National Park Nearest Airport:

  • Guwahati Airport


Balphakram National Park Nearest Railway Station:

  • Guwahati Railway Station




Balphakram National Park History

Balphakram National Park has a rich history that is closely tied to the indigenous tribes and cultural heritage of the region. Here's a brief overview of the historical significance of Balphakram National Park:


National Park Status: In 1987, Balphakram National Park was established as a protected area to safeguard the unique biodiversity of the region. The park's establishment aimed to protect the natural habitat and wildlife species found in the Garo Hills, ensuring their long-term survival and promoting conservation.


UNESCO Tentative List: The government of India has nominated the Garo Hills Conservation Area (GHCA), straddling South and West Garo Hills district in Meghalaya, as a World Heritage Site, which includes Balpakram National Park. It has been listed in UNESCO World Heritage tentative list.




Balphakram National Park Area

Balphakram National Park covers an area of approximately 220 square kilometers (85 square miles). This protected area encompasses diverse landscapes, including hills, valleys, grasslands, forests, and riverine ecosystems.




Balphakram National Park Hills

Balphakram National Park is located in the southern part of the Garo Hills in Meghalaya, India. The park is characterized by its hilly terrain, as it is situated within the Garo Hills region, which is known for its undulating landscapes.


The hills in Balphakram National Park offer a picturesque setting with their lush greenery, valleys, and cliffs. The park's topography includes steep slopes, deep gorges, and rocky outcrops, adding to its scenic beauty. These hills are part of the larger Garo Hills range, which stretches across the western part of Meghalaya.




Balphakram National Park River

Balphakram National Park is traversed by several rivers and streams. One of the prominent rivers in the vicinity of the national park is the Simsang River (Goneshwari River or Someshwari River)


The Simsang River flows through the the northern and the western boundaries of the national park.


The presence of the Simsang River within and around Balphakram National Park contributes to the diverse ecosystems in the region, supporting the growth of vegetation and providing water sources for the park's wildlife. 


It also offers opportunities for visitors to engage in activities such as river-side picnics, fishing (where permitted), and enjoying the natural beauty of the flowing water.




Balphakram National Park Caves

Meghalaya is famous for its extensive cave systems, with some of the longest and deepest caves in South Asia. Caves in Meghalaya offer a fascinating underground world of intricate rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites, and underground rivers. These caves often provide shelter to unique species of bats and other cave-dwelling organisms.


Balphakram National Park is known for its intriguing caves, which add to the park's natural beauty and allure. While there are several caves in the region, one of the most notable caves near Balphakram National Park is the Siju-Dobkhakol Cave. Here are some details about this significant cave:


Siju-Dobkhakol Cave: 

Located on the west bank of the Simsang River, just below the settlement of Siju and around 30 kilometers north of Baghmara, the Siju-Dobkhakol Cave is a prominent attraction. It is recognized as the third-longest cave in India, stretching over an impressive 4,772 meters (15,652 feet).


Exploring this cave provides visitors with a unique opportunity to witness stunning limestone formations, including stalagmites and stalactites. The intricate structures created by the slow deposition of calcium-rich water over thousands of years create a visually captivating experience.




Balphakram National Park Tribe

Balphakram National Park is primarily inhabited by the Garo tribe, which is one of the major indigenous communities in the region. The Garo tribe has a strong presence in the Garo Hills, including the area where Balphakram National Park is located.


The Garo tribe has a rich cultural heritage and a unique way of life. The Garo people traditionally rely on agriculture, horticulture, and traditional jhum cultivation for their livelihoods.


The Garo community is known for their close connection with nature and their deep understanding of the local ecosystems. They have intricate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and traditional practices for sustainable resource management. The Garo people have their own customs, festivals, traditional attire, music, and dances that showcase their cultural identity.




Balphakram National Park Flora (What is the flora of the Balpakram?)

Balphakram National Park is home to a diverse range of flora due to its varied ecosystems, including grasslands, deciduous forests, and cliffs. The park's vegetation contributes to its ecological significance and provides habitats for various wildlife species. 


The park showcases a diverse range of vegetation types, including:


(1) Tropical Deciduous Trees: 

Balphakram National Park is home to a variety of tropical deciduous trees, which shed their leaves during certain seasons. These trees may include species like sal (Shorea robusta), teak (Tectona grandis), and garjan (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus), among others.


(2) Subtropical Vegetation:

Balphakram National Park falls within a subtropical region, and as such, it supports vegetation typical of such environments. This may include a mix of broad-leaved evergreen trees, shrubs, and other plant species that are adapted to subtropical climates.


(3) Grassland: 

The presence of grasslands in Balphakram National Park offers unique habitats for various plant species. Grasses like Themeda spp., Chrysopogon spp., and Saccharum spp. are commonly found in these grassland areas, contributing to the open landscape.


(4) Bamboo Forest: 

Bamboo forests are a significant component of the park's vegetation. Bamboo species, known for their rapid growth and versatility, play a crucial role in the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for many animal species.


(5) Carnivorous Plants: 

The presence of carnivorous plants adds to the ecological diversity of the park. Pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.) and sundews (Drosera spp.) are examples of carnivorous plants that can be found in the region. These plants have specialized adaptations to capture and digest insects for nutrients.


The combination of these vegetation types creates a diverse and visually appealing landscape within Balphakram National Park. It supports a variety of wildlife species and contributes to the overall ecological balance of the area.




Balphakram National Park Fauna (Balphakram National Park Animals)

Which animals are found in Balpakram National Park?

Balphakram National Park in Meghalaya, India, is known for its diverse fauna, including a variety of mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species.


Mammals:

  • Marbled Cat
  • Wild Water Buffalo
  • Red Pandas
  • Asian Elephant 
  • Indian Bison
  • Asian Golden Cat
  • Stump-tailed Macaque 
  • Pig-tailed Macaque 
  • Barking Deer
  • Chital Deer


Birds:

  • Hornbills
  • Indian Peafowls
  • Grey Peacock-pheasants
  • Great Pied Hornbills
  • Red Junglefowls
  • Oriental Pied Hornbills
  • Woodpeckers
  • Babblers
  • Flycatchers 
  • Sunbirds


Reptiles:

  • King Cobras
  • Rat Snakes
  • Python
  • Lizards




Top Things to do in Balphakram National Park

When visiting Balphakram National Park, there are several activities and experiences you can enjoy to make the most of your trip. 


Here are some of the top things to do in Balphakram National Park:

  • Wildlife Safari
  • Trekking and Hiking
  • Visit Siju-Dobkhakol Cave
  • Birdwatching
  • Interact with the Garo Tribe
  • Photography and Nature Walks
  • Picnicking and Camping




Balphakram National Park UPSC Questions

Q. Where is Balphakram National Park?

A.  Balphakram National Park is located in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya, India.


Q. Balphakram National Park in which state?

A. Balphakram National Park is located in Meghalaya state of India.



Q. The Balphakram National Park is situated on the border of?

A.  The Balphakram National Park is situated close to the international border with Bangladesh.


Q. What tribe is in the Balpakram National Park?

A. Garo tribe is in the Balpakram National Park.


Q. On which river is the Balpakram National Park situated?

A. Balpakram National Park is situated on Simsang River (Goneshwari River or Someshwari River).

Balphakram National Park

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