Kaziranga National Park, situated in Assam, is a World Heritage Site attracting national and international tourists for its richest reserve of flora and fauna. Sprawling lush vegetation comprising tall grasslands, swamps and semi evergreen forest, this park happens to be one amongst the oldest national parks in India. It houses the Indian one-horned rhinos apart from other threatened mammalian species. Fauna family is replete with 400 bird species, several species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. This wildlife reserve alone has around 57% of the total population of wild water buffaloes in the world.
Picture 1 - Kaziranga National Park Map
NH 37 is the common route for buses plying through different places like Tezpur, Dimapur, Jorhat, Guwahati and so on, which can take you to the park. Nearest airports to this sanctuary are Jorhat Airport, Tezpur Airport and Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. You can also hire cabs or board a bus from Guwahati for the trip. If you opt for the train, Furkating will be the nearest railway station, situated just 75 kilometers away.
Kaziranga National Park is located in middle Assam, amidst the Nagaon and Golaghat districts of the state, on the Brahmaputra rivers banks.
It is spread over an area of more than 400 square kilometers.
This national park lies between 93°08' E to 93°36' E longitudes and 26°30' N and 26°45' N latitudes which covers the districts of Nagaon and Golaghat. It extends for around 13 km towards the west from the east and 13 km southwards in breadth.
Around 5% of the area consists of beels that are lakes formed by floods. Besides riverines, the park has elevated regions where the animals take refuge and roam around freely. The surface area is very fertile due to the deposition of silt by the river Brahmaputra. It has an elevation of 80 meters.
It experiences a subtropical monsoon climate, wherein more than 2200 mm of rains sweep across the region every year. Starting from June till September, this rainy season is at its extreme during the months of July as well as August. Winters are dry and summers are hot with temperatures soaring as high as 38 degree C.
Picture 2 - Kaziranga National Park Entrance
On Mary Victoria Leiter Curzon’s visit in 1904, the idea of a reserve forest was first conceived as the declining number of rhinos really perturbed her. This led to the creation of the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest in the year 1905, comprising more than 200 sq km of area, which was later extended as more land was annexed to it.
From a Reserve Forest in 1908 to The Kaziranga Game Sanctuary, in 1916, the park underwent a long journey and finally in 1950, it was rechristened as a Wildlife Sanctuary where hunting was strictly prohibited. Over the years, some more achievements came its way, first the designation of a national park and second being the World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO.
Indian law has granted maximum protection to this park for conserving wildlife. Despite of that, several poaching incidents of the one-horned rhinos were on the rise that could be significantly curbed by initiating certain controlling measures.Maintenance and building of poaching camps along with extensive patrolling and alertness have been able to conserve wildlife to a great extent. Steps for checking the destruction left over by the floods have also been initiated.
It has captured the limelight due to the presence of the great one horned Rhino but other than that there are several other members of the fauna family that the Kaziranga National Park is famous for.
Picture 3 - Kaziranga National Park Image
Indian Elephants, Eastern Swamp Deer, Sambar, Jungle Cats, Tigers, Barasingha, Hog Deer, Indian Bison, Wild Buffalo, Monitor Lizards, Wild Boars, Sloth Bears, Caped Langurs, Indian Grey Mongoose, Indian Pangolins, Chinese Ferret Badgers, Leopard Cats and Pythons are some of the several inmates.
This park abounds in plenty of beautiful and colorful birds that can be spotted during safari rides. Exotic and rare species of birds including Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, Black-Shouldered Kite, White Tailed Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Brahminy Kite, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle and many more enhance the charm of the park manifold.
Winters are great time to visit the park with your loved ones as migratory birds flocking in large numbers to the marshes and swamps, are found in plenty. Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Greylag Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Falcated Duck, Red-Crested Pochard, Bar-Headed Geese and Northern Shoveller are some of these migratory species which you can spot during your winter stint at the park.
Not just fauna, it has remarkable riches of flora as well. Tropical moist mixed deciduous forests, tropical semi evergreen forests and alluvial inundated grasslands are the four distinct vegetation types in the park. Not those that grow on land but ones that survive in water also grow here. Invasive water hyacinth, Albizia procera, Cinnamomum, aphanamixis, Grewia serrulata are only a few of the names of the plants among a huge list of them.
This national park in Kaziranga is an eminent wildlife sanctuary where camping and hiking is not allowed but the following activities certainly hog the limelight.
Safaris offer unforgettable experience for birding and watching wildlife at a very short distance. You can enjoy these safaris from dawn and if you are lucky you would be able to spot some endangered species as well.
Elephant Safari: For touring the entire area, you can opt for the elephant ride which is fun and majestic. As you ride past trees and valleys, you will be glad to notice the birds and animals in their natural habitats. One hour of Elephant Safari can give you the chance to see the one-horned Rhino and herds of other animals from close quarters.
Jeep Safari: Starting from dawn, the jeep safaris are adventurous rides through the forest under guides. As it covers various ranges in the Kaziranga National Park Assam, you would be able to explore every nook and corner watching wild animals and birds. Mornings are ideal to spot birds like Whistling Teals, Grey Headed Fishing Eagle, Greater Adjutant Storks and Pelicans apart from many others.
From the various observation towers in Foliamari, Mihimukh, Sohola, Harmoti and Kathpara you can watch the wild animals feed and relax according to their whims. You can visit the park’s interpretation center for collecting information about the park. It is located at Bagori range.
Might sound disappointing but you will not be able to hike in the trails as they are meant for vehicle and not hikers for avoiding dangerous animal encounters.
Picture 4 – Kaziranga National Park Jeep Safari
Bird Watching Tours, Kaziranga Rhino tours and several other weekend tours are offered for visitors which consist of excellent packages that you can’t deny.
September till October and February to March can be considered to be the best time to visit the park. Monsoons are not a favorable time as with the onset of monsoons, the river banks and grasslands get flooded by the Brahmaputra, which compels the animals to find other places to reside.
On your visit to Kaziranga, you can book your stay at some of the nearby hotels like Wild Grass Lodge, Landmark Woods, Bonhabi Resort, Iora Resort, Kaziranga Resort, Aranya Resort etc. Tourist lodges run by the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam are situated within the confines of the park itself. A guest house available at affordable tariffs is Cottage Hrishikesh, ideal for families.
From super luxury resorts to affordable lodging, you can pick the ones most favorable to your pocket. They offer abundant modern facilities and amenities for their guests and are located in close proximity to the sanctuary, which saves a lot of commuting time.
Dining options are available at nearby resorts and hotels. Food might tend to be expensive as eating options are limited in these hotels. National highway has some eating options as well.
Guided tours: Jeeps, 4WD vehicles and elephant rides guided by Mahouts that are trained in riding elephants are available for the tourists. Before reaching the park, ensure the booking of the vehicle which you would prefer on your visit.
Three trails have been designated for these vehicles and elephants which begin at Kohora, where the Park Administrative Center is located. Agartoli and Bagori are other two trails where vehicles are allowed, including the ones of the tourists.Your vehicles will be attended by a guide and these trails can be accessed till May, starting from November.
Picture 5 - Kaziranga National Park Tiger
Rs. 250 (foreigners)
Rs. 20 (Indian citizens)
Elephant ride: Rs. 750
Jeep ride: Rates vary for different ranges.
For more information about entry tickets, you might visit the Kaziranga National Park website or call them.
Park: 7.30 am to 4.00 pm
Jeep Safari: Starts from 6.30 am
Elephant Safari: Starts from 5.30 am
For detailed timings please log on to the official website of the park.
Closing dates: The park remains closed from Mid April to Mid October.
Kaziranga National Park,
Official website: http://www.kaziranganationalpark-india.com/index.html
One of the primary aims of this park is to preserve wildlife and for this they invite volunteer support. Kaziranga National Park’s enormous stretches is protected under law to let the animals roam free. Local tourist lodges arrange for musical evenings and great food to make your trip memorable.
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