Balphakram National Park, an abode of perpetual
winds, is situated to the west of Garo Hills in
the southern Meghalaya. It is located below the
primeval granite Balphakram plateau and is
around 3,000 metres above sea level.
About the Park
The forest area was declared a national park in the year 1988. Its total area is about 220 sq. km. The park has certain myths and ancient stories associated with it. The forest is also referred to as the "land of spirits" and "abode of perpetual winds" by the locals.
The sanctuary is very famous for its barking deer and golden cat population. Various other species of animals such as deer, Assamese macaque, capped langur, baboon, hoolock gibbon, elephant, monkey, etc. are also found here.
The prominent floras of Balphakram National Park are bamboo, Khasi Pine, Sal, Camar, Shisham, Orange and wild Banana trees. Flowering shrubs of the region include Azelia, Bauhinia, Lantana, etc. It is also home to some valuable and rare medicinal herbs such as dikge muni, etc.
Nearest railhead and airport is Guwahati about 350 km away. Tura (about 167 km) away is the prime getaway to the park. From Guwahati one has to hire a bus to reach Tura. Regular helicopter services are also available from Guwahati and Shillong to Tura.
No accommodations are available inside the sanctuary. The visitors can opt to lodge in the forest department's rest house in Tura. Meghalaya Tourism's tourist lodge, located at the border of the Balphakram plateau, also offers accommodation with prior booking.
There are no motorable roads within the park area, so trekking is the only way to tour the park. There are issues of political militancy, hence before visiting the sanctuary it is advisable to check with the local authorities. The permit for visiting the park can be secured from the Divisional Forest Officer, stationed at Tura.
Address: Balphakram National Park, Garo Hills, Meghalaya
Best time to visit: October to March