Top 5 Wildlife Parks In Meghalaya
Nestled between Assam and Bangladesh, Meghalaya, fondly known as the abode of clouds, is a pine-fresh mountain state, tucked away in the hills of eastern Himalayas. Meghalaya is sure to cast a spell on you with its rocky terrain, crystal clear rivers, breathtaking waterfalls and some of the largest caves in Asia. Home to some of the rarest flora and fauna, Tarana tells us all about the two national parks and 3 wildlife sanctuaries of Meghalaya. Often compared to the Scottish highlands, Meghalaya is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream come true!
#1 Nokrek National Park, East Garo Hills
Listed as UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve, Nokrek National Park is home to the endangered Hoolock Gibbon – a rare type of gorilla, the Red Pandas and the Asian Elephants. The park is also home to various indigenous plants and herbs exclusive only to this region. Besides, the flora and fauna, Nokerk National Park has many natural limestone caves which include the famous, Siju Caves.
Located 45 kms from Tura in West Garo hills district, Nokrek National Park is easily accessible. The nearest town William Nagar is 15 kms away. Guwahati railway station and airport are the nearest, 160kms and 170kms away, respectively.
Ideal time to visit: October to May
#2 Balpakram National Park, South Garo Hills
Balpakram is referred by the Garo to be the ‘abode of souls’ or ‘abode of perpetual winds.’ The park is often compared to the Grand Canyon Park in America because its little canyon separates the Garo and Khasi Hills. Situated 167 kms away from Tura, Balpakram National Park is also home to the Red Panda, the Barking Deer, and the very rare Golden Cat. Declared as a protected place by the Government of India, permissions need to be sought from the wildlife authorities before entering the park.
Ideal time to visit: October to May
#3 Siju Bird Sanctuary, South Garo Hills
Love bird watching? Then Siju Bird Sanctuary is just for you. The only bird sanctuary in Meghalaya, Siju Bird Sanctuary is located next to the Simsang River. The main attractions are the Siberian ducks, Grey Hornbill and the Peacock Pheasant. The ideal time to visit Siju is between November and March since it’s the migrating season for birds.
#4 Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, Ri Bhoi District
Nongkhyllem Sanctuary is one of the most popular sanctuaries of the north east India. Retaining the natural habitat of a forest, this sanctuary houses animals that are on the verge of extinction: the Royal Bengal Tiger, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Bison, Clouded Leopard and many more. You will also find inhabitants brought from foreign land. The natural splendour of this sanctuary allures not only tourist from all over the country but from across the world. As for its location, the sanctuary can be easily reached from nearby towns through roadways.
Ideal time to visit: October to April
#5 Baghmara Reserve Forest, South Garo Hills
From lush wildflowers to pitcher plants, and Langoors to Wild Elephants, the Baghmara Reserve forest provides an experience which goes beyond wildlife. One can witness the lives of the Garo community and experience their unique lifestyle.
Ideal time to visit: January to October
Visit Meghalaya to truly witness the amalgamation of exotic and unique species that are indigenous to the area.
Location: North eastern state of India
How to Reach: Meghalaya has a domestic airport at Umroi, 30 kms from Shillong. Fly into Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati which is 117 kms away and then hire a private cab to the respective places.
Official Language: Garo, Khasi, English, Bengali and Assamese
Currency: INR (Indian Rupees)
Time Zone: IST (UTC+05:30)
Climate: Tropical Wet
Food & Drink: Rice with spicy fish or meat, pickled bamboos, sticky rice, momos and fermented rice beer.
Interested to dive into the wilderness of Meghalaya?
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Tarana Arora is a producer and journalist by profession. A resident of Pune, she loves everything about the charming city. Nothing excites her more than food and exploring new places. She lives for thrillers, chocolates and Rafael Naḍal.