Jharkhand’s foremost fossil park – aids as a means to conserve the Jurassic-era remains that were unearthed in the region, some of which are evaluated to be about 200 million years old. A 95-acre recreational area on Rajmahal Hills in Sahibganj has opened to visitors. Here’s all about it. 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 plants and animal fossils straight out of the Jurrasic era, about 145-200 million years old.
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 a 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.