We reached Betla from Netarhat and checked in at Hotel Van Vihar of Jharkhand Tourist Development Corporation, around 3 pm. Netarhat to Betla is approx. 100 km and our driver Gobardhanji (08969125649) took 4.5 hours to reach there. IIt took more time than usual because, on the way, we visited Lodh falls and have our lunch. Honestly speaking, except a few kilometers the roads were really good. After taking bath we got ready for our Betla Forest Safari by Jeep.
Now I want to share few information regarding Betla. Betla is part of Palamu forest situated in Daltonganj district. In the year of 1989 Betla recognized as National Park. The forest of the park has a vast range of vegetation consisting of sal and bamboo as the major components along with a number of medicinal plants. In the North Koyal River flows which produced grasslands. The park has a variety of varied eco-systems and plenty of wild animals. Elephants in large numbers are seen mostly between the ends of the monsoon season, to the time when water body begin to dry in March.
Animals include the sloth bear, panther, wolf, jackal, hyena, gaur, chital, langurs, squirrels, sambhar, four-horned antelopes, nilgai, porcupine, and mongoose can be seen there. Many birds which include the hornbill, peafowl, red jungle fowl, black partridge, white-necked stork, black ibis, dove, and other birds usually found in this forest. There are also the historical forts known as Palamu Forts, situated near the Betla at 400 ft, erected in the 16th century as the seat of Chero Kings.
The park offers several opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife at close range. There are elephant rides and jeeps available with guides for forest safari inside the park. Watchtowers have been constructed to view wildlife.
After refreshing ourselves we reached the Betla Forest gate which is just a walking distance from Van Vihar. We paid all total Rs. 600 for our Jeep safari. Our Safari starts at 3.45 pm. Taking a local guide is compulsory there.
Important Information for
Betla Forest Safari
1. Fooding & Lodging
For booking at JTDC Van Vihar, visit Jharkhand Government. Website
I booked it online. If an online booking is not available, then one has to book manually by going to the JTDC Office. The office address in West Bengal is –
Usha Kiran Bhawan,
8th Floor, Flat No. – VIII B,
12-A Camac Street,
10:00 am to 05:00 pm
3. Entry Fees
Entry Charge per head– Rs 100 (For Indian)
Entry Charge per head – Rs 200 (For Foreigners)
Jeep Safari per Group– Rs 200
Elephant Safari Group of 4 people – Rs 100
Guide fee -Rs 100
4. How to reach?
Betla is well connected by train and road and the trains from all important station in the country to reach Ranchi. Tourists can take flight up to Ranchi from Kolkata and then travel to the park by road which is well connected through state roadways of Jharkhand.
5. Best Time to Visit?
The park is open throughout the year. Chance to see wild animals are highest in the hot season (May to June) when vegetation is not as thick. The best time to visit in terms of climate is between November and March.
We have seen one neelgai, a few monkeys, one fox, and one bison. Sufficient, do not you think……
Next morning we have our breakfast and went to visit Palamu fort. The Palamu forts are two ruined forts located around 20 kilometers of Van Vihar. There are two large forts located deep in the forests of Palamu. The original fort in the plains and the other on an attached hill are attributed to the kings of a Chero dynasty. The fort in the plains had defenses on three sides and three main gates. The New fort was built by Raja Medini Ray.
We went to Fort in the plains which are old one. The old fort was built over an area of 3 square kilometers. It has three gates with a rampart of 7 feet width. The fort has been constructed with lime and surkhi. The central gate is the largest of three gates and it is also known as “Singh Dwar”. The courtroom, located in the middle of the fort, is a two-storied structure, which was used by the king to hold court. The fort had a watercourse bringing water to meet the needs of people and animals within the fort but now seen in a ruined state. After entering from the second gate, the fort had three temples which were partly modified into mosques when Daud Khan occupied the fort after defeating Medini Ray.
On the south-western part of the fort, which is surrounded by hills on three sides, there is a small stream called the Kamadah Jheel which was used by the women of the royal family for their daily washings. Between this stream and the fort, there are two watch towers (dom kilas) located on the hilltop which were used to track any enemy intrusions. Out of these two towers, one tower houses a small temple of a goddess called Devi Mandir.
We have not visited the fort which is situated on a hill to the west of the old fort. There we spent around 45 minutes and continued for Ranchi.
Also read NETARHAT “QUEEN OF CHOTANAGPUR”