Kaziranga National Park, Assam
96 kms, Guwhati 217 kms.
Time To Visit
The most famous place to see the one-horned
Indian rhinoceros, hunted almost to extinction for its prize
as big game and for the Chinese apothecary trade. The park
is dominated by tall (up to six metres) grass lands and swampy
areas (jheels). Travelling is best done by elephants, which
can be arranged by the park. The first sighting of a rhinoceros
is always impressive and awesome, as they can reach a height
of over two metres and weigh more than two tonnes. Despite
the prehistoric appearance, rhinos are incredible agile and
fast. Soptting them in the tall grass may be difficult. Watch
for egrets and other birds who use the rhino's armoured back
as a perch, and also listen for the 'churring' sound of a
large animal moving through the grass. Best viewing may be
by the jheels, where they bathe.
One of the animals which have survived the vagaries of time
is the one-horned Rhinoceros. This huge animal has continued
its struggle for survival since prehistoric times. Lording
over the plains of Ganga, Indus and the Brahamaputra, they
slowly fell to the greed of man. They were killed in large
numbers so much that they came on the verge of extinction.
It was early in the 20th century that the British government
woke up to the plight of the one-horned rhino. But the damage
had been done and very few of them were found in the wet lands
of Assam. But efforts were made to save what ever was left
and in 1908 Kaziranga was declared a reserve forest officially
closed for shooting.
However, it was not until 1974 that Kaziranga was declared
a national park. Today it covers an area of 430 km. Kaziranga
is the best home of the great Indian one-horned rhino. This
park is located in central Assam and lies partly in Golaghat
district and partly in Nagaon district of the state.
The deep forests, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, marshes
and shallow pools are perfect to support the largest number
of rhinos in the subcontinent. Though the greatest threat
to these animals has come from poaching, their number in the
park is quite healthy. The park is located along the main
highway between Jorhat and Guwahati, which makes it easily
accessible. The chance to see animals in the wild at close
quarters makes a visit to the park a very rewarding experience.
At Kaziranga, the open country makes wildlife viewing fairly
easy. A day's outing is sufficient for visitors to see most
of the major species here.
The wildlife population of the park includes elephants, Indian
bisons, swamp deer, sambhars, hog deer, sloth bears, tigers,
leopard cats, jungle cats, hog badgers, capped langurs, hoolock
gibbons, pigs, jackals, porcupines, pythons, buffaloes and
of course the one horned rhinoceros. Pelican, duck, geese,
hornbill, ibis, cormorant, egret, heron, black necked stork,
lesser adjutants, ring tailed fishing eagles are also in plenty
in the park. During winters a large number of migratory birds
are regular visitors.
Nearby Attractions :
There are many places which can be visited while you are staying
at Kaziranga. The Kakochang waterfalls is 13 kms from
Bokakhat. Not far from the park are the ruins of the ancient
Numaligarh. These ruins are of great archaeological importance.
The tea gardens of Hatikhuli, Methoni, Difalu, Behora Borchapori
are also other local attractions. Also visit the coffee and
rubber plantations behind the tourist lodge.