Betla National Park is one of India’s earliest tiger reserves (1974), Betla features luxuriant tropical forest cover and a rich variety of fauna. Betla National Park is one of the first nine Tiger Reserves in India under Project Tiger. It is spread over a hilly terrain which makes it more attractive.
Betla National Park is a national park located in Latehar and Palamu district of Jharkhand, India. Betla National Park lies in the border of Latehar and Palamu district and therefore creates confusion about the exact district it is located in. Geographically, Betla National Park and Palamu forts lie in the Latehar district, after it was carved out from Palamu and declared as a separate district on 1 January 1928.
Initially comprising 1,026 square km (396 sq mi) of the Palamu Tiger Reserve, an additional 226 square km (87 sq mi) was added to the park in 1989 and 63 square km (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, in 1974. The park is under administration of the Forest Department.
The forests of the park have a vast range of vegetation consisting of sal and bamboo as the major components along with a number of medicinal plants. The North Koel 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 water 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, Indian giant squirrels, 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.
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 National Park has amazing log huts inside the forest. The tourists can book the log huts and spend the entire day watching the wildlife through the log huts.
Spend a day in a treehouse and experience wildlife like never before. The treehouses are placed near the water holes which are visited by the animals often as they come to drink water.
The best time to visit Betla National Park is from October to February because the weather is pleasant, unlike scorching summers. The timing of Betla National Park is 9 AM to 6 PM. The park remains closed during monsoon.