An official website of Dindori-District, Madhya Pradesh,INDIA.

Fossil National Park Ghughua (65 Million Year Old Heritage)

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The Ghughua Fossil National Park of Madhya Pradesh is a unique destination in India, which has been blessed with a priceless treasure trove of plant fossils. Fossils belonging to 31 genera of 18 plant families have been identified.These fossils represent life as it occurred in this area some 65 million years ago.
Well-preserved fossils of woody plants,climbers,leaves,flowers,fruits and seeds have been found here. Palm fossils are particularly numerous.
These fossils were discovered by Dr. Dharmendra Prasad, the then statistical officer of Mandla district and honorary secretary of the district archeology union. Dr.S.R.Ingle from Science Colleage, Jabalpur and Dr. M.B.Bande from Birbal Sahani Institute of Paleobotany, Lucknow then conducted systematic study of these fossils.
Considering the great scientific importance of the fossils found in this area,the government of Madhya Pradesh notified this area as the Ghughua Fossil National Park in 1983.
The national park is spread over 27.34 ha in Ghughua and Umaria villages.

Living relatives

Interestingly,many of these fossil plants have living relatives.Some of these occur in the Western Ghants, Sikkim and northeast India,While many others are native to Africa,Madagascar and Australia. This proves that at one time in the distant history of the earth, India,Australia and Africa formed a single huge landmass that shared a common vegetation spread.

Fossils of eucalyptus trees have been found here which are now native to Australia.Other fossilized plants include ancient forms of date palm,neem,jamun,banana,rudraksh,jackfruit and aonla.

What are Fossils?

Usually when an animal or plant dies,it is very soon eaten up by animals or it decays and becomes part of soil.

In rare cases, when death occurs in an environment that does not facilitate decomposition, the physical remains of the animal or plant get gradually permeated by mineral particles.What is left, then, is a fossil of that animal or plant

Normally fossils consist of parts of animals or plants, But they could also be preserved marks left by organisms when they were alive, such as footprints,leaf impressions,nests or faeces.

What ot See

Visit the interpretation centre which has comprehensive information on the fossils found here.

Visit the self-guided,interpreted fossil trail to see the fossils for yourself in their natural setting.

Ghughu in ancient times

About 65 Milion (6.5 crore) years ago, this area was covered by forests similar to the evergreen and semi evergreen forests of today's Western Ghats and northeast India.

The forests were made up of moisture-loving plants. There was a three-tier forest structure consisting of low trees or shrubs growing below moderate to large-sized trees. The middle level had mostly palm-like trees.

Ghughua enjoyed a humid,equatorial climate in ancient times, with uniform temperatures throughout the year and an annual rainfall above 2,000 mm or more, as compared to about 1400 mm now. In those times, it also had a very long rainy season.

Mollusk fossils found here as well as at Matka-Deorikhohani, Palasunder, Silthar-Chanti Hills and Chargaon, indicates the presence of a large waterbody in these areas in those times.Some scientists have conjectured that an ancient branch of the sea called the Tethys Sea extended up to this area.

Best time to visit

Any time of the year except the monsoons.

Why did these plants die?

The answer can be found in the theory of continental drift. According to this theory, the single large landmass called Gondwana,Comprising peninsular India, Australia, Madagascar, Antarctica and Africa, gradually split up into these constituents which then moved apart to take up their present positions.

The Indian peninsula moved north, to ram into the belly of Asia, Which gave rise to the Himalayas. With this movement, the Indian peninsula no longer remained in the euatorial region with abundant sunshine and rain. The seas also receded from central India. Another important development was the rise of Western Ghats.

These changes were initiated by massive geological processes involving frequent earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions of lava, which covered entire regions with silicaceous sediments. This contributed to the formation of the fossils found here. 

How to reach

This national park in on national highway 11,14km from Shahpura and 76 km from Jabalpur.