Meet Oldest Residents Of India At Ghughua Fossil Park, A National Park

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Ghughua fossil Park near Umaria in Madhya PradeshEvery trip has a surprise hidden in its belly. In my MP trip this year, the surprise lay midway between Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park. What I thought was a pit stop, turned out to be probably the most ancient site. With fossils dating back to 65 Million years, from the time of Gondwana supercontinent. Now my interest was up and I looked around for a guide. We got one with the ticket at Ghughua Fossil Park.

Open Air Display of fossils at Ghughua Fossil Park
Open Air Display at Ghughua Fossil Park

Ghughua Fossil Park – National Park.

Ghughua Fossil Park is in open – for what can go wrong with things that have survived everything possible for millions of years. However I was would soon discover what has been done to this precious heritage by our very own generation by marking the fossils with cheap paint. Spread across in a huge park like space with sprawling lawns. And tree-lined pathways it is a place good for a leisurely walk while admiring the ancient gems.

Open Air Display at Ghughua Fossil Park
Under Tree Display at Ghughua Fossil Park

Fossils of various trees.

There are piles of neatly arranged fossils of various trees on specially made platforms. A small board explains something about fossils, not necessarily about the fossils displayed. But something about the fossil formation and what they mean for us today. Our guide pointed out certain insects and seeds stuck between layers of trees that fossilized where they were. He then pointed out the impressions of many leaves on fossils. You can see the external form of a tree, but when you touch it, it is stone. Wherever the cross section of a tree is visible it appears like a core of crystal. Shining brightly as if trying to get out of the bark of the tree. There are fossils lying everywhere in this park. I wonder how many would be picked up by people visiting the park, though I know not many people visit the park.

Tree fossil at Ghughua Fossil Park
Fossil of a Tree with a crystal core

An officer of MP, Dr. Dharmendra Prasad discovered these fossils in 1970, and it was declared a national park in 1983. What makes this fossil park incredibly important is the history of vegetation that it represents. I was told that many fossil trees found here are not native trees of this region. Representing a climatic change in the region over a period of time.

Palm Tree Fossil at Ghughua Fossil Park
Palm Tree Fossil at Ghughua Fossil Park

Most prominent displays include the fossil of a Eucalyptus tree that is supposed to be the oldest of its kind and is native to Australia. Fossils of palms trees are intriguing as it is also not believed to be a native plant. Other fossilized trees include Rudraksha and Aonla. There are live Jamun trees in the park. If you are there in the right season you can have the fresh Jamun.

Eucalyptus Tree Fossil at Ghughua Fossil Park
Eucalyptus Tree Fossil

Museum.

A museum building has some of the oldest pieces preserved inside it. There are boards with diagrams explaining the process of fossil making. And all other information about fossils like types of fossils. The main attraction here is the Dinosaur egg that kind of made this park famous.

Museum Display at Ghughua Fossil Park
Museum Display at Ghughua Fossil Park

Put it on your itinerary to meet the most ancient trees of the subcontinent when you plan your trip to Kanha or Bandhavgarh.

Recommend you to read following related Travel Blogs on Madhya Pradesh.

  1. Bandhavgarh National Park – Beyond the Tigers.
  2. Jeep Safari at Satpura National Park.
  3. 5 Ways to Explore Forests of Satpura.
  4. Listen to Kanha National Park speak to me.
  5. Meet Munna – the rockstar tiger of Kanha National Park.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting. Had never heard of it. Also, though not for the palm tree fossils that you express surprise at, I am surprised at the presence of eucalyptus tree fossils, since I was under the impression that they are native to Australia and have been introduced here by man, later, in the 19th or 20th centuries. Would you know how old this fossil is estimated to be?

    • Aditya, fossils are more than 6 million years old. Eucalyptus is a native of Australia, but back then Australia was apparently the part of supercontinent. Even palm trees are not found in central India.

      Even I did not know about this park, till I landed there.

      • Yes that makes sense, Gondwanaland did indeed include both the Indian subcontinent and Australia among others. Fascinating.

      • Very interesting…. that despite finding eucalyptus fossil in MP there is still insistence on it being “native of Australia” through reverse logic … Even if Australia was part of subcontinent, eucalyptus didn’t grow in current MP because of that reason. Think about it! and read your post again.

        • Champak Ji. I get your point. What I meant was that though we assume Eucalyptus to be a native of Australia, its fossils have been found in MP as well. Native is used with reference to current native status. Fossil park obviously points to the contrary.

  2. Hi Anuradha Goyal
    National parks have always been on my priority list. Also I being a lover of nature, the very mention of GhuGhua Fossil Park in Madhya Pradesh was enough to set my pulse racing. The photographs uploaded on the blog,with the exact fossil formation is a visual treat.

  3. The earliest known eucalypt fossils are found not in Australia, but in Patagonia and New Zealand, so the possibility of an Indian Gondwanan link is not out of the question. However, one question I would ask is how it is identified as a eucalypt?

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