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How To Reach Balpakram National Park
Balpakram National Park is situated in the West Garo Hills district of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, about 134 km away from the capital of Shillong. One of the most frequented tourist locations in the state, Balpakram National Park covers an area of more than 200 sq. km. and is home to an exotic range of animal species, some of which are extremely rare varieties. The park boasts majestic and beautiful forests amidst a serene and peaceful ambience, with unique plateaus and rocky cliffs that make up an exquisite combination of landscapes. Balpakram National Park is located close to the town of Tura; most visitors to the park prefer to stay at Tura and embark on their trip to Balpakram from here. Read on to find out more about the best ways to reach Balpakram National Park.
There is no direct way to reach Balpakram National Park via airways. The closest airport is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati, which serves direct flights to most major cities across the country. Some travellers may even choose to fly into Shillong Airport instead of Guwahati; however, this airport mostly operates flights to and from Kolkata. From either airport, travellers can catch a bus or taxi to Tura, which is the closest major town from Balpakram National Park. Tura is around 56 km from the park; from Tura, a number of connecting journeys via taxis will take you to the national park. Alternatively, if the budget is not too tight, one might also opt for a helicopter ride from Guwahati to Tura, and then hire a private cab all the way to Balpakram National Park.
There are no major rail lines in Meghalaya, with the exception of the Mendipathar Railway Station in Resubelpara Municipal Board Jurisdiction of the state that was launched recently. However, Mendipathar only connects to Guwahati train station via a passenger train service. Travellers who prefer to travel by train can choose to get onto a train to Guwahati Railway Station and then follow the road network to Balpakram National Park via Tura.
Being a major tourist spot in the state, Balpakram National Park is well-connected to major cities and towns nearby through a good road network. After reaching Guwahati, travellers are required to first get to Tura, a major town in western Meghalaya, through either a bus or taxi. The Meghalaya Transport and Development Corporation (MTDC) buses ply regularly between the two regions; there are also private buses available from Guwahati to Tura. Although, getting a private taxi would seem like a more comfortable option to cover the 7-hour journey between Guwahati and Tura.
From Tura, Tata Sumo taxis can be taken to Baghmara, which is situated just around 45 km away from Balpakram National Park. Take a subsequent taxi from Baghmara to Hatisia, which lies en route to Mahadeo or Moheshkola. At Hatisia, the board to ‘Balpakram National Park’ will greet visitors at the entrance.
Most people who visit Balpakram National Park prefer to stay over in Tura since this town is quite a commercial one and has good access to guesthouses and decent hotels. There aren’t any buses here that connect to the national park, and most travellers have to opt for the Tata Sumo taxis that ply back and forth between the two regions. Lodging options at Baghmara are quite limited. There is the Circuit House, the Forest Department Guest House, the Marak Lodge in the market area, and a camp that was started by the Samrakshan Trust.
There is also the option to book an entire day’s rental drop to Hatisia directly, but that can usually prove to be a very costly alternative. There is a guesthouse/dormitory at Hatisia, but it is advisable to get in touch with the relevant Forest Department officials here before making arrangements for travel.