Carved out of Bihar in 2000, after years of agitation by its largely adivasi population, JHARKHAND yields almost forty percent of India’s minerals, but suffers from extreme poverty, lawlessness and Naxalite (Maoist guerrilla) activity, and is rarely visited by tourists. Its main attraction is the beautiful sal forests of Palamau (Betla) National Park, with its beautiful Sal forests, but sadly these have been damaged by years of drought and although the park is part of Project Tiger, tiger sightings are now rare; more problematically, police conducting an anti-Naxalite campaign in the state have requisitioned all the park’s tourist accommodation, and although this is supposed to be on a temporary basis, it is not clear when the park’s lodges and state-run tourist bungalow will again be open to tourists. Other forest reserves and parks pepper the state, including Hazaribagh National Park in the north, but bandits and Naxalites are active in these areas, and around Parasnath temple, so it’s vital to check the security situation before venturing out, and you should avoid travelling at night anywhere in the state.

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