Namdapha National Park

May 8, 2009

Namdapha National Park is a large (1,985.23 square kilometers) national park and tiger reserve located in Arunachal Pradesh. It has a very large number of different kinds of animals and plants living there, making it well worth a visit. This wide range of animals and plants is due to its location in Arunachal Pradesh, and also the fact that there is a huge variation in altitude across the park. At its highest point, the park is 4,500 meters above sea level while at its lowest point it is just 200 meters above seal level.

A scheme to create a national park was already proposed in 1947, when Arunachal Pradesh was still known as North East Frontier Agency or NEFA. The valley of the Diyan or the Noah-Dehing River and its catchment area was chosen as the site for the project, whose aim was to establish a national park for public recreation as well as the research and study of wildlife in their natural habitat. However, as a result of some controversy, the project became pending and didn’t take off.

After the Sino-Indian War happened in 1962, papers pertaining to the project could not be traced until 1969. At that time interest for the project was revitalized and an area that extended up to the Patkai range and Dapha Bum range was proposed. The Deupty Commissioner of Khonsa proposed to the Director of the Forestry Department that since the area is situated in the inter-district boundary between Lohit and Tirap, it would be more suitable to rename it Namdapha Reserved Forest. It was eventually declared as such under the Assam Forest Regulation in 1970. It was eventually proposed to be turned into a wildlife sanctuary and, eventually, in 1972, it became one after persistent follow-ups from the Forestry Department. In 1983, Namdapha Reserved Forest was declared as a National Park. In the same year, under the Project Tiger scheme of the Government of India, it was declared a Tiger Reserve.

The park is largely mountainous and is drained by three rivers: the Namdapha River, the Deab River and the Noah-Dehing River. The habitat changes according to altitude. In the lower altitudes, tropical rain forests with huge hollock and mekong trees abound. The mid-altitude has deciduous forests while higher still, oak, pine and betula trees are found. Namdapha National Park is a botanical haven, with over 150 species of trees and flowers are found, including the Blue Vanda, the rarest of orchids. The major fauna include more than 425 species of birds while mammal-lovers can be amazed by at least seven species of non-human primates and at least four species of large cats, including the leopard, the snow leopard, the clouded leopard and the famous tigers as well as lesser cats; in fact it is the only park in the world to have those four in one area.

The park is located in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, between the Dapha Bum range of the Mishmi Hills and the Patkai range. The park can be reached by air via the nearest airport at Mohanbari. Via railway, it can be reached either through the Tinsukia Railway Station or the Margherita Railway Station. There is also a good road that connects up to Miao, which is the entry point of Namdapha.

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