Added to UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserve list in 2009, the Nokrek National Park in Meghalaya
in north east India is among the last remaining homes of the red panda. Located in the West Garo hills district of the north eastern state, it is about two km away from the Tura Peak and a haven for biodiversity in Meghalaya. The national park has strict rules for exploring the core area where the red pandas dwell. Another animal that the reserve provides a safe habitat to is the Asian elephant. Other animals that can be spotted in the park are tigers, eight species of cats including the marbled cat, the rare stump tailed macaque, the pig-tailed macaque, Hoolock Gibbons and seven species of primates. Many species of birds can also be spotted here and the national park is considered to be an important bird area and an ideal spot for bird watchers. A thick canopy of lush green forest cover provides habitats for several insects and allows sustainability for the food chain. Memang Narang (mother of germoplasm), also known as Citrus Indici, was discovered in the Nokrek National Park which led to the establishment of the National Citrus Gene Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve that covers an area of 47 sq km. The terrain of the national park is predominantly hilly with high amounts of iron found in the rocks. All the important rivers that flow through the Garo Hills originate from the Nokrek Hills. Of all the rivers, Simsang River, also known as Someshwari river, is the most important. The most popular places to visit in the national park are the Nokrek Peak and Ronbang Dare Waterfalls. The point till which tourists are allowed near the Ronbang Dare Waterfalls is a great place to click photographs. Take adequate care of your photographic equipment as a spray of water from the waterfalls could cause damage. Napak Lake and Siju Cave, located near the Simsang River Game Reserve, are also worth visiting. The Siju Caves can be measured in miles and they are filled with water.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN NOKREK NATIONAL PARK
While the national park has no accommodation options, the closest town, William Nagar (15 km away), offers a few budget and mid-range options. It is advisable to book your rooms in advance between October and May as they can get booked to capacity.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN NOKREK NATIONAL PARK
A small canteen at the entrance of the national park serves meals but it is advisable to carry food and water when visiting the national park.