Kaziranga National Park
The wildlife destination of North East
Kaziranga National Park is the most popular wildlife tourist destination in North East. The Kaziranga National Park is most famous for its one-horned rhino population, which is the largest in the world. The total number of rhinos in this national park is about 2400.
This is the first National Park in Assam and is spread over an area of 400 sq. km. The Kaziranga National Park is located along the river Brahmaputra boarding the Karbi Anglong hills. National Highway 37 passes through the park and the park is spread over the two districts of Assam namely Golaghat and Nagaon.
The area is declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site and is home to some of the most fascinating wildlife. Apart from the rhinoceros, other large mammals that dwell in this National Park include the Asiatic elephant, Wild buffalo, tiger and swamp deer.
The landscape of Kaziranga is of sheer forest known as the Burma Monsoon Forests. The area is part of the floodplains of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The habitat consists primarily of tall, dense grasslands interspersed with canebrakes, open woodlands, interconnecting streams, and lakes. The primary vegetation includes alluvial grasslands, tropical wet semi-evergreen and evergreen forests.
Kaziranga National Park is divided into 4 ranges, the Agoratoli range in the eastern part, The Kohora range covering the central part, the Baguri range in the western part (with the highest rhinoceros density) and the Burhapahar range covering the additional area attached to the Park.
It is said that the number of one-horned rhinos in Kaziranga was fast dwindling when Lady Curzon visited this area in 1904. She persuaded her husband and the then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon to do something to save the rhinos of Kaziranga. As a result in 1905, Kaziranga was notified to become a reserved forest. It was declared a reserve forest and animal killing stopped in 1908. In 1916 Kaziranga was declared a game sanctuary. In 1938 Kaziranga was opened to visitors. In 1950 the term changed to ‘Wildlife Sanctuary. Finally, in 1974 the designation was changed to “Kaziranga National Park”.
Flora and Fauna
The Kaziranga National Park is mostly covered with wet savanna grassland which covers as much as 65 – 70 per cent of the total area. The grassland comprises mostly tall elephant grass.
The avifauna variety includes 479 names which is the largest for any single park in the world. Large birds include Greater Adjutants, Bengal Floricans, Pallas's Fish Eagle, and Black-necked Storks. Other species include Swamp Francolin, Pale-capped Pigeon, Great and Wreathed Hornbill, Jerdon's Baza, Slender-billed Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Pied Harrier, Pied Falconet, Oriental Hobby, Hodgson’s Bushchat, White-vented Myna, Rufous-vented Prinia, Marsh Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black-breasted Parrotbill and Finn’s Weaver. Birds like Pelicans, Ducks, Geese, Hornbills, Ibis, Cormorants, Egret, Herons, Black-necked storks, Lesser adjutants, Ring-tailed fishing eagles, etc. are plenty in the National Park.
Among the mammals the Rhino, Elephant, Wild Buffalo, Tigers and Swamp deer are the largest. There are 52 mammalian species in the Park including Gangetic Dolphin, Chinese Pangolin, Hoolock Gibbon, Hog-Badger, Parti-coloured Flying Squirrel, Sambhar, Hog deer, Sloth bear, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Hog badger, Capped langur, Hoolock Gibbon, and many others.
The Park also has 39 species of reptiles such as the endangered Gharial and the Assam Roofed Turtle. Kaziranga is located on the mighty Brahmaputra and is also home to 42 fish species.
How to go there
Kaziranga is 240 km from Guwahati which is well connected to the rest of the country. Travel time varies on road conditions but is normally within 5 hours.
Trips Inside the Park
A trip inside the National Park is organized on an elephant's back or in a jeep or by car. There are several entry points and several rides available in the park. There are trips covering: Mihimukh, Bagori, Holal Path, Arimarah, Kohora Central Path-Bagro, Kohora Central Path-Bimoli and others.
Typically you should be getting up at 4 in the morning for an Elephant ride which starts between 5.00 am and 6.00 am from Kohora. This ride is highly recommended for tourists as it gives you a real feel of the National Park. Sighting of rhinos is very common during this trip.
Four-wheel drive is also available in three ranges. Car safari is available almost throughout the day. Walking inside the National Park area is not permitted.
When to visit
The Park is generally closed between June and October. Anytime during the rest of the year is fine for a trip to Kaziranga.