Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Photo Essay on the Lawachara National Park in Bangladesh

The Lawachara (pronounced LAWA-CCHORA) National Park is one of several national parks in Bangladesh. It is eight kilometres (about five miles) east of Srimongal Town in the district of Moulavibazar. Its distance from Sylhet City is 60 kilometres (about 38 miles) to the south.

Established in 1996 with the US AID funding, this national park, with an area of 13 square kilometres ( five square miles), has about 160 plant species. It has hardwood trees --among them, chapalish, garjan, jarul, rokton and shejun or lohakat (teak) -- are noteworthy), bushes, creepers, and more than one-and-a-half dozen species of orchids.

Among 30 wild animal species, there are barking deer, capped langur (hanuman) -- a big monkey with large tail, dark brown deer (sambar), Himalayan black bear (also called sloth bear), Hoolock gibbon (ulluk) -- another type of monkey, Indian (or Himalayan) giant squirrel, jackal, leopard, macaque (a type of monkey in three species -- Assamese, pig-tailed, and rhesus), masked civet (a cat-like nocturnal animal), Phayre's leaf monkey, slow loris (a different type of monkey), tiger, wild cat (fishing cat as well as leopard cat), wild dog, wild boar, and yellow-throated marten (a kind of carnivorous weasel). So far, 246 species of birds have been found in this park. There are also a few types of reptiles and amphibian animals.

In the immediate neighborhood of this park live Bangalis and ethnic people of Khasia, Monipuri and Tipra. Encroachment on the park forest for habitation and firewood is an ongoing problem.

The Lawachara National Park can be reached in three ways: by plane (Dhaka to Sylhet), train (Dhaka to Srimongal) and bus (Dhaka to Srimongal). Different accommodations are available in Sylhet and Srimongal. The best time to visit the park is from the beginning of November to the end of March.

Ujjal Peter D'Costa had visited the Lawachara National Park in 2008. His photo essay below gives a glimpse of this park -- the one-hour trails or paths, different types of trees and plants, rail line, lake and people living in the neighbourhood.

Photos (Lawachara National Park, Bangladesh: July, 2008) © Ujjal Peter D'Costa

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