The Rajmahal hill located in the Santhal Paraganas is believed to be one of the oldest ranges existing since the Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous era. The area has the finest plant fossil bed and attracts geologists and paleo-botanists from across the world.
Fossil Park located in Mandro, a community block in the Sahibganj district of Jharkhand is about 18 KM from the town of Sahibganj. Mandro lies in the Damin-i-Koh area that is the forested hilly area of Rajmahal Hills broadly constituting parts of Sahibganj, Pakur, and Godda district of Jharkhand.
Here are some interesting facts about the ancient Rajmahal fossil bed.
According to the Geologists, Rajmahal hill was formed as a result of Volcanic activity during the Jurassic Era, some 56 million years ago, and is one of the oldest ranges existing. Igneous rocks found in the region are proof of the fact.
Most of the plant fossils are 150 to 200 million years old that are found in the upper Gondwana sequence around Mandro which is why the park has been set up there.
Specialty Of The Plant Fossils Found In The Region
The specialty of the plant fossils found here is that they are petrified fossils, a form where the minerals replace the structure of the organism. The tribal people residing in the region have played an important role in preserving these extremely precious fossils for ages.
The Efforts of Indian Paleobotanist Birbal Sahani
Birbal Sahani, a highly renowned Indian paleobotanist who studied the fossils of the Indian subcontinent came to know about this place in the year 1946.
Sahani started visiting the place frequently between 1946 and 1948 by hopping off goods trains after asking the drivers to slow down near Sahebganj which was not connected by passenger trains then. He then used to walk the rest of the distance to Rajmahal hills to study the fossils found here.
During this time he collected many fossils from the region belonging to the Cretaceous periods which are still kept preserved at Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, Lucknow.
Geological Heritage Site Tag
The ancient plant fossil bed of Rajmahal hill constituting Rajmahal and Mandro has been given the ”Geological Heritage Site” status by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). The move is likely to help preserve the area from the rampant excavation.
Establishment Of The Park
The state government had signed a MoU in the year 2008 with the Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany (BSIP), Lucknow, and National Building Construction Corporation for setting up the 11 crore fossil park. However, the plan was finally successful in the year 2019.
It was an effort of the Forest Department in collaboration with the Birbal Sahni Paleobotany Institute in setting up the fossil park.
It not only preserves the 68 to 145 million years old fossils in ancient conditions for the future generations but also facilitates research in geology, botany, archaeology, and geo-physics.
World’s Oldest Heritage
One of the world’s oldest heritage, a 140 million years old plant fossil, is kept preserved at the Mandro Fossil Park which is the center of attraction.
Excessive mining in the area has caused damage to the flora and fauna present in the region. Also, unknowingly many have used these fossil stones as a building material which has caused a huge loss. Therefore, awareness and security for the proper preservation of these ageless fossils were a must.
Timing of Fossil Park Mandro
Mandro fossil park is one of the best tourist places in Sahibganj. The park is open every day in the week from 4 AM to 7 PM.
The nearest town is Sahibganj located at a distance of 33 KM.
How To Reach
The nearest domestic airport is Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi located at a distance of 421 KM.
The nearest international airport is Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport, Kolkata, located at a distance of 369 KM.
The nearest railway station is Mirza Cheuki Railway Station ( Station Code: MZC), located at a distance of 25 KM but it is not well connected with other cities.
The nearest railway station that is well connected with the major cities is Sahibganj Junction located at a distance of 30 KM.
Sahibganj district is well connected with the capital city of Ranchi via Dumka Sahibganj Road.