Kanger Valley National Park
Kanger Valley National Park, situated at a distance of about 30 km from Jagdalpur, in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, is one of the most beautiful and densest National Park. Known for its rich biodiversity with picturesque landscape, Kanger valley is spread over an area of approximately 200 km2 consisting mainly of hilly terrain. The Park derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout its length.
Kanger Valley is closer to the Eastern Ghats of Odisha and situated in a transition zone that connects moist peninsular sal forests and the south Indian tropical moist deciduous forests. This acts as a corridor for birds where numerous bird species can be found which do not occur elsewhere in central India. Some of the rare bird sightings in the area include, black baza, blue-billed malkoha, rufous-bellied eagle, pale-capped pigeon, and hill myna (State bird of Chhattisgarh). About 150 birds have been recorded from the area. But with more serious observations many more can be easily added to the existing list. Kanger Valley makes a perfect destination for birdwatchers without any tourists in sight.
The valley is one of the last pockets of almost virgin forests still left in the peninsular region which is also home to many tribal communities. Kanger valley make an ideal destination for nature lover, researchers and anthropologists.
The Kanger has huge limestone deposits where some of them are in the form of caves and the rest of it are in the form of layers or beds one upon the other. These deposits are present above the soil as well as under the ground level. The underground portions form the caves. At these subterranean limestone cave, once can see stalactites and stalagmites in fantastic formations. Several cave dwelling species of insects and fishes have been also found here. Caves are closed from 15 June to 31 October during rainy season. The cave needs removal of debris before tourist season.
From times unknown, the little drops trickling water in the dark confines of the Kutumsar cave have sculpted the most exquisite limestone formations of the stalagmites. Kotumsar cave has perpetual darkness and constant temperature (28 °C + 1 °C) which harbours a variety of fauna like bats, frogs, snakes, crickets, spiders, fishes, millipedes etc. The Kotumsar Cave is biologically the best known cave in India and has attracted interest from researchers from all over the world.
Several species of this cave are yet to get a proper study for correct taxonomic position. Several species which are highly endemic to this cave are probably in verge of its extinction. A serious measure to conserve the whole biodiversity has been suggested. Dr. Jayant Biswas has well documented the biology of the cave organisms living in Kotumsar Cave.
There is lack of oxygen when going deep into the caves. In view of which, for safety reasons, entry beyond certain points has been restricted. A mud track and stone steps lead into the 4,500 ft long and 215 ft deep Kutumsar cave. To enter one needs to walk down an iron staircase where the limestone art is visible.
Discovered recently in 1993, the caves are around 250 meters long and are situated at an altitude of 40 meters above the ground level. It features stalactite and stalagmite formations that offer stunning sight. Access to the cave is through a narrow opening and at the end of the cave is a huge stalagmite formation in the shape of Shivlinga. The hollow walls of the cave, make incredible musical sounds.
Tirathgarh Waterfalls can be termed as "Milky Fall" because of the white colour of the water as it descends down the rocky slope giving an impression as if milk is falling.
Splashing streams of water come down at an incredible speed from a height of more than 100 feet on the river Mugabahar which originates in a lake not very far away from this point. The area surrounding the fall features lush green forests that enhance the beauty of the falls.
Best time to visit
November – March