The North Eastern part of India remains quite untouched, even today. A region with many remote places, the North East holds many marvels of nature and is extremely rich in cultural history. Recently, there has been a growth in tourism in the North Eastern States and the trend is bringing out many gems which were hidden in plain sight for us. And one such place, which many of us might have not even known of, is the Namdapha National Park in Arunachal Pradesh.
Namdapha National Park
Part of the states fondly called “the seven sisters”, Arunachal Pradesh shares its border with China and Myanmar. In the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, you will find places of natural and historical importance like the Lake of No Return. But one of the most popular tourist destination in the district, and the state too is the Namdapha National Park. This place has historical importance too, one that is related to the Second World War. It is the third largest national park in India and covers an area of 1808 square kilometers. It is a part of the Eastern Himalayan sub-region. It is also an Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot for conservation and is the largest protected area in the zone. And it has a good reason to be that protected. It is home to evergreen rainforests and also a great variety and a large number of various animals, including four species of the big cats amongst many other globally endangered species of the wildlife.
The Namdapha National Park is surrounded by the Himalayas in one side and the Patkai hills in two sides. The surroundings of the park make it no surprises that there are quite a few snow-capped mountains in and around the park. The highest peak in this national park goes as high as up to 4500 meters.
But just one of the unique things about this park is that it is not just about the hills. In fact, it has it’s the lowest altitude at only 200 meters above sea level.
While the peaks and the high altitude region usually remains covered in snow, you will find a lot of rainfall in the region and thick forests in the lower region. So, as you travel the Namdapha National Park,
The Namdapha National Park has a great variation in altitude and also weather conditions. This leads to a variety of flora in the park. The park is home to the northernmost lowland evergreen forest at 27°N latitude. Dipterocarp family of trees are found abundantly in these evergreen forests. These trees are known for their hardwood and certain species provide the base of plywoods. The lower plants and shrubs also hold importance in the herbal medicinal field. Local tribes still use these herbs for the treatment of various diseases.
A forest this old and this dense is always home for some of the rarest trees. Some of these may be endangered and others may be endemic, meaning that they are native to this place and not commonly found anywhere else. Larix is an example of the plants that are endemic to this region. Pinus merkusii (Sumatran pine) and Abies delavayi (Delavay’s Fir) are found nowhere else in India making the protection of the national park very important.
There is also dominant bamboo plantation in the Namdapha National Park.
The fauna of Namdapha National Park makes it one of the most unique national park in the country. Why? In times when the numbers of big cats in the world are decreasing, you will find Namdapha National Park to be a home for four big cat species. Snow leopards, clouded leopards, common leopards, and even tigers are found here. This is also a testament to the variation in the topology of Namdapha National Park. With a decrease in the number of tigers in the country, Namdapha National Park was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 1983.
Other animals spotted in the Namdapha National Park include the red panda, red fox, a couple of varieties of otters, musk deer, and Asiatic black bear. Elephant and bharal are amongst the herbivores that have been spotted in the park. But, it must be noted that the forest is quite thick and dense, and it is spread over a large area. So, it is not very easy to spot animals in common tourist areas. There are jungle safaris and tourists can try their luck to spot some rare species.
Animals are not the only part of the national park. You can also find a large number of birds belonging to various species. There are around 425 bird species that have been recorded with some species being recognized as rare. The Snowy-throated Babbler is a rare species of the Babbler bird found only in the Namdapha National Park.
Namdapha National Park In History
The Namdapha National Park came into notice during the Second World War when a lot of fighter pilots crashed in the area.
This place was also used to set up refugee camps for immigrants as the place is close to the international border. It was also last used for refugee camps for Bangladeshi immigrants.
Entry Fees And Permits
There are two permits required for visiting Namdapha National Park. One permit is required for entry into the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the other is for entry into the national park.
The best time to visit the park is between October to March. There are charges for entry as well as for cameras. The entry fee for an Indian national is only ₹10 per person and for foreign national, it is ₹50 per person. You have to pay around ₹75 for a still camera and extra for the accessories and a camera for video recording has an entry charge of ₹750.
Namdapha National Park is a truly a gem hidden in plain sight for many years with its importance embedded in history, but unaware to many. It is surely time for travelers to explore this dream place for those who love history and nature.