Balpakram National Park – Mysterious Spirit Forest of Meghalaya
Balpakram National Park is one the best national parks in Meghalaya, located around 210 km from the capital hill station of Meghalaya. Balpakram literally translates as “the land of perpetual winds” and the Garos in the region call it “the land of the spirits”, which makes it one of the interesting places to explore on your Meghalaya Trip.
About Balpakram National Park
Balpakram National Park was declared as a National Park on 27th December 1987 by our then Prime Minister, the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This 220 sq km park is located in the South Garo Hills, which is the south-central region of Meghalaya at an altitude of about 910 m (3,000 ft), near the tri-border of Garo Hills, Khasi Hills & Bangladesh.
Balpakram National Park is renowned for its forested, canyon-like landscape, which is now part of the National Park. Additionally, the Balpakram Plateau and its surrounding woodlands are part of the Park.
According to the Garos, a local tribe of this region, this hill is believed to be a resting place for the dead spirits. This belief is supported by the numerous strange yet naturally occurring physical and biological structures in the area. There are a variety of rare flora and fauna found in the area, including marine fossils, making Balpakram a biodiversity hotspot for Meghalaya.
Balpakram National Park is a true natural wonder in Meghalaya, which unfolds a mesmerizing landscape that will leave you in awe. The mini-canyon of this national park divides the Garo Hills plateau, which stretches all the way across a river valley from the Khasi Hills plateau, making it one of the most picturesque valleys of Meghalaya.
The mini-canyon is crowned by a majestic rocky plateau, which is situated on the western side of the cliffs of the Garo Hills. This plateau offers breathtaking views of the plains of Bangladesh, adorned with meandering rivers and expansive silvery waters.
What makes this place even more extraordinary is its rugged terrain, shaped by unending summer winds and storms, which have sculpted the plateau into a continuous mass of rock and rubble. But the real gem lies in the deep gorge, often compared to the famed Grand Canyon of the United States, known as the ‘land of the spirits.’ Locals believe this place to be the final resting place of the dead spirits before they start their journey to the afterlife.
Balpakram National Park Meghalaya is an offbeat paradise for travelers seeking adventure, nature, wildlife, and culture all in one. It is one of the unique national parks in Meghalaya full of stories, stitched together by strong local beliefs. So, come and experience the enchanting tales and breathtaking vistas that await you in this hidden gem.
Secrets of the Balpakram National Park
Every Garo must see Balpakram, if not in life, then in death” – a saying that reflects the deep-rooted legends and mysteries that encompass Balpakram National Park Meghalaya, making it a place of immense significance for the Garo people. Here are a few popular stories from this enchanting forest.
Mythical Realm of Souls
Balpakram is a place where the Garo tribe feels spiritually connected to their ancestors. Garos believes that visiting Balpakram is a must to be reincarnated as a human. The park is dotted with sacred sites, each with its own story. Gandhi Soram, with its three hillocks, marks the funeral site of tribal ancestors. Mebit, the Oracle rock, holds pebbles that predict where the Jhum fields must be opened.
Balpakram Gorge is said to be the resting place of spirits of the dead, while Chidimak serves as their bathing spot. Chidimak is a black pool, where the spirits wash themselves before their final departure. Thus, the ash from the spirits has turned this pool black. Me.mang Anti-Charam becomes a market for spirits, and the Dikini Ring resembles an upside-down boat, which is another mystery of this park.
Beyond the myths, Balpakram boasts ecological wonders. So.gin Sa.ram is the nesting place of vultures, and Matcha Melaram is the meeting place of tigers. Deoban is believed to be the fishing spot of deities. These landmarks reflect the rich diversity of wildlife and nature within the park, intertwining with local beliefs.
One of the park’s most mysterious attractions is the massive magnetic rock. It has a hollow space with a powerful magnetic force. Animals and birds that venture too close to it are irresistibly drawn into the hollow, leading to their demise. Remarkably, this magnetic force doesn’t affect humans, adding to the enigma surrounding Balpakram.
These legends and natural wonders make Balpakram National Park Meghalaya a place of curiosity and excitement, where myth and science intertwine in the heart of the Garo Hills.
Unique Flora and Fauna of Balpakram National Park
Nestled in the Garo Hills, Balpakram National Park is a treasure trove of rare plants and animals, making it a must-visit place in Meghalaya. This enchanting forest is a dream destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature admirers.
The park is home to unique plant species, such as the intriguing pitcher plant, a carnivorous beauty that traps insects. Balpakram’s forests also shelter the Rudraksha tree, known for its sacred seeds. Another remarkable find is the Schimawallichii, a tree with a distinctive depression, believed to be a result of tethered animals and harsh weather, adding to the park’s enigmatic charm.
Balpakram’s diverse animal kingdom is equally fascinating. Look up, and you might spot the elusive Hoolock Gibbon, a rare monkey, swinging through the trees. The park is also a sanctuary for the Red Panda which is a symbol of conservation efforts made by this national park. You might encounter the majestic Clouded Leopard, the Indian Bison, and the Asiatic Black Bear, among other magnificent creatures.
For bird enthusiasts, Balpakram is a haven. You’ll have the chance to see the striking Hornbill and the vibrant Peacock Pheasant, adding vibrant colors to the sky. But there’s more to discover. Keep an eye out for the Garo White Hornbill, an emblematic bird of the region.
The park’s mystical charm extends to its remarkable variety of fauna, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. Balpakram National Park showcases the incredible biodiversity of Meghalaya. With its unique plants and rare animals, it’s a must-visit for those seeking a deep connection with the natural world.
Things To Do In Balpakram National Park
If you’re planning a visit to Balpakram National Park Meghalaya, get ready for a world of unforgettable experiences in the heart of the Garo Hills.
- Trekking: Trekking in the park is amazing! It can take anywhere from 7 to 8 hours to get around, depending on the weather and how the animals move around. One of the most popular spots is Deoban Lake with the Bat Cave. You’ll get to see crystal clear waters, schools of fish, untouched limestone caves, and lush tropical forests full of birds on your trek routes. It’s definitely one of the best adventure activities to do in Meghalaya.
- Camping: Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and camp out in the park. Relax and enjoy the peaceful vibe, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the stars. You’ll be surrounded by campfires and the beautiful sound of nature.
- Cave Exploration: Explore the mysteries of the park’s limestone caves. These uncharted underground chambers offer a chance to discover the hidden wonders of the earth. This is one the best places for cave exploration in Meghalaya which is not just an adventure but a journey into the unknown.
- Bird Watching: Balpakram is a paradise for bird enthusiasts. Set out with your binoculars and explore the skies, keeping an eye out for unique avian species that call this park home. From the majestic hornbill to the vibrant peacock pheasant, you’ll be treated to a visual feast of birdlife.
- Photography: Balpakram National Park is a photographer’s dream. The stunning landscapes, rare wildlife, and unique geological formations provide endless opportunities for capturing nature’s beauty through your camera lens.
- Waterfall Exploration: Discover the enchanting waterfalls of Meghalaya that are a part of the Balpakram National Park. These cascades offer a unique water adventure activity of Meghalaya, adding a touch of adventure to your trip. They also provide an ideal backdrop for relaxation and picnics.
- Interact with the Locals: Connect with the Garo people and gain insights into their traditions, folklore, and way of life. Sharing experiences with the locals can be an enriching cultural exchange.
Balpakram National Park promises a wide range of activities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. It’s a place where natural beauty and cultural heritage come together, offering an abundance of memories to cherish.
Frequently Asked Questions For Balpakram National Park
Where is Balpakram National Park located in Meghalaya?
The Balpakram National Park is located in the south Garo hills of Meghalaya. The area encompasses the south-central part of the state, overlooking the Bangladesh plains. It is in the east of Tura approximately 170 km and in the south-western direction from Shillong with a distance of 210 km.
What makes Balpakram National Park unique among national parks in India?
Balpakram National Park stands out from the rest of India’s national parks due to its unique combination of geological attractions, flora and fauna, and cultural heritage. It is known for its unique geological formations, such as its mysterious caverns and limestone landscapes, as well as the presence of rare plant species such as pitcher plants and Rudraksha trees. Additionally, the park is home to a wealth of cultural heritage, such as the sacred groves of the Garo tribe, as well as mythical sites.
What wildlife can visitors expect to see in Balpakram National Park?
Visitors to Balpakram National Park can expect to encounter a diverse array of wildlife. Notable species include the elusive clouded leopard, Indian bison, Asiatic black bear, and the iconic red panda. The park is also a haven for birdwatchers, offering sightings of peacock pheasants, and the unique Garo White Hornbill.
When is the best time to visit Balpakram National Park?
The best time to visit Balpakram National Park is during the winter months, from November to March. This season offers pleasant weather for exploration, and wildlife sightings are more common during this period.