Every 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.
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 in it is a place good for a leisurely walk while admiring the ancient gems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Put it on your itinerary to meet the most ancient trees of the subcontinent when you plan your trip to Kanha or Bandhavgarh. This is one of its kind park in India, displaying the fossils, a great learning experience. Something that can enhance the scientific curiosity of the visitors towards the centuries gone by.
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