Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve
All those who have thought Indian one-horned rhinoceros only existed in Jurassic-era, then a trip to Kaziranga is a must for them. One of the most sought after wildlife holiday destinations in India, Kaziranga National park’s 430 square kilometer area sprinkled with elephant-grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and dense forests is home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, approximately 2/3rd of their total world population. Formed in 1908 on the recommendation of Mary Curzon, the park is located in the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots – Golaghat and Nagaon district. In the year 1985, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is said when Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India – Lord Curzon of Kedleston, visited the park to see Indian one-horned rhinoceros; she wasn’t able to found even one. Then she persuaded her husband to take urgent measures to protect the dwindling species which he did by initiating planning for their protection. After a series of meetings and documentations, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 km2 (90 sq mi) in 1905.
Along with the iconic Greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that’s the reason why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006. Also, the park is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species. Birds like lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Baer’s pochard duck and lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, and Asian Openbill stork specially migrate from the Central Asia during the winter season.
Every year, the water of the Brahmaputra River floods the park during the monsoon. The rainy season continues from June to August. Kaziranga becomes inaccessible during this season. November to April is the best time to visit Kaziranga National Park
Things to keep in mind before traveling
- Unlike other North East, you don’t need to obtain an Inner Line Permit and a Protected Area Permit while traveling to Assam but if you plan to visit other North East states then the permits can be collected from Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati or Tezpur airports.
- The weather in the north-east is pretty unpredictable, so be prepared to have delays due to the bad weather.
- Most roads are being converted to double lane road, so at the moment the roads aren’t in the best shape.
- Locals are friendly and helpful. Be patient as not everyone will know fluent Hindi or English.
- Most cell phone networks don’t work well, so inform your family or friends about your whereabouts whenever possible.
- Don’t forget to carry some ready to cook food packets or instant noodles if you’re strictly a vegetarian.
- Carry extra batteries, power banks and most importantly warm clothing.
- Keep at least a couple of extra days in hand in case of any problems like landslides and bad weather on your way.
Day 01: Guwahati – Kaziranga
Arrive Guwahati airport. Met and assisted at airport onward to Kaziranga (250 km) Takes 5 hrs. If time permits Bihu dance. Early dinner.
Day 02: Kaziranga National Park
Elephant ride 1 hour 6.30 am. Return to lodge by 8 am. After breakfast proceed to the Western Range of the Park. It takes 25 minutes by jeep to reach the entrance of this Range. The route traverses the southwest portion of the park. This range has maximum short grass areas and is the optimum habitat for Rhino and Water Buffalo. Representative perennialox-bow lakes surrounded by marshy Haemarthia compressa stands can be seen. Part of the drive is also through Low Alluvial Savannah Woodland. Colonization of grassland by Lagerstroemia parviflora can be seen. A round of the entire circuit is around 20 km. High herbivore densities around these wetlands are characteristic of the habitat. Return for lunch and 2 o’clock to Kaziranga Range. This drive covers central region of the park. Is an ideal introduction to the park and its ecology as the route passes through the entire spectrum of habitat types prevalent in the area. There is a possibility of sighting elephants as well as the other mega herbivores. Yarding place of Swamp Deer. The process of plant succession can be observed at various seral stages. Birding in a wide range of habitats. Good sunset pictures. Takes 15 minutes to reach the entry point. Entire circuit approximately 35 km Additional night
Day 03: Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga after breakfast onward to eastern range area. From here take a boat that is machine run and noisy. It will be a three hour round trip. Though animal sighting is not good it orients the traveler to the northern banks of Kaziranga. The dynamics of erosion i.e. how the river throws up (after eroding the Park mainland) sand islands that get detached from the main Park and at times throws up sand bars that attach themselves to the Park’s mainland.. Brahmaputra river cuts a low channel and is highly braided with sand bars. Very good for birding especially shore-birds. It introduces one to the regimen of this well known river and helps to understand how very important it is for rejuvenating the wetland and grassland values of the Park. A picnic lunch and this can be followed by a game ride in the Eastern (Agaratuli) Range. Situated towards the eastern part of the park. The area is excellent for birding. Includes nesting of the globally threatened Pallas’s Fish Eagle and a colony of Spot-billed Pelicans. Migrant waterfowl may be observed at Sohola Beel. Various woodland birds can be seen along the drive through very scenic Dillenia Swamp Forest. Elephants may be encountered, as well Water Buffalo and Swamp Deer. Takes 40 minutes to reach. Tourist route approximately 26 km
Day 04: Kaziranga – Guwahati
Morning after breakfast check out from the resort and drive to Guwahati, upon arrival checkin to the hotel, after lunch visit State Zoo, Science Museum, Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, Govt. emporium for shopping etc. Evening if time permits River Cruise on the river Brahmaputra (depending on the river condition). Over night at Guwahati.
GUWAHATI: The origin of the city is unknown, from the epic, puranas, and explored history it was estimated that it is one of the oldest city in Asia. There are a number of historical features in Guwahati. The Dighalipukhuri is a rectangular lake that was connected to the Brahmaputra, and was probably dug for naval reasons by the Ahoms. It is the gateway to northeastern India. The name is a combination of two words- Guwa meaning areca nut and Hat meaning market. Guwahati is the commercial nerve Centre of the Northeast. The city is situated in the bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra
Day 05: Guwahati
Morning after breakfast checkout from the hotel, visit Maa Kamakhya Temple, Nabagaraha Temple (Temple of nine planets), Umananda Temple (smallest river temple in the midst of the river Brahmaputra) Basistha & Balaji Temple then drop you at the rly stn to catch the train for your onwards journey.
KAMAKHYA- The origin of Kamakhya is Pre-Aryan. Situated a top the Nilachal hill the foremost shrine of Assam. Kamakhya is an ancient seat of Tantric and Shakti cults of Hinduism. The original temple was destroyed by the invading Muslims in their crusade against Hindu temples and idols in the early part of 16th century. Ultimately it was restored from ruins by King Naranarayan of the Koches and rebuilt in its present form in 1565 AD. It is difficult to have even a dim idea of what the temple was like in its original structure; there is no record of it left either in inscriptions or stone relics.