A 95-acre recreational space on Rajmahal Hills in Sahibganj has opened to visitors. Jharkhand’s first fossil park – it serves as a means to preserve the Jurassic-era remnants that were excavated in the region, some of which are estimated to be about 200 million years’ old. Here’s all about it. By Eshita Srinivas
Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, recently inaugurated the state’s first fossil park. Constructed at a cost of Rs 10.75 crore, it aims to generate awareness about the importance of preserving historical relics and promoting eco-tourism. Visitors can expect to see several plant and animal fossils straight out of the Jurrasic era, about 145-200 million years old.
Battery-operated autos will ply within the fossil park in Jharkhand
The Fossil Park at Rajkamal, Jharkhand is one of a kind tourist attractions, that conserves the history of mankind.
— Jharkhand Tourism (@VisitJharkhand) June 30, 2022
Featured fossils were first found on Rajmahal Hills – which run north–south for 193 kilometres from Sahibganj in Jharkhand to Rampurhat in West Bengal. Paleobotanist Birbal Sahani is believed to have been the first to conduct studies on each. Reflecting on the developments, Soren was quoted by The Print as stating, “ “This is one of the biggest treasure troves we have in Jharkhand. Mandro hill is one of the rarest places in the world with such fossil finds.” He further added, “I will visit the park again, and stay back for a day here to learn more about the fossils.”
Facilities at the park reportedly include a museum-auditorium, rest-study space for students and researchers, and mini-laboratory. Aiming at sustainability, the authorities have also built an eco-tourism complex within the region and mandated that only battery-operated auto-rickshaws would be allowed within. Speaking to this, Divisional forest officer (DFO), Sahebganj Manish Tiwary noted, “Private vehicles are not allowed in the park.” He added that this would create job opportunities for locals as well.
Research on the fossils will be carried forward, according to officials, by the Sidhu-Kanhu University Dumka in collaboration with the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Uttar Pradesh, a report by the Times of India noted.
All images: Courtesy Jharkhand Tourism