Kaziranga National Park
Location : Kaziranga, in Central Assam
Area : 480 sq kms.
Major Attractions : Great Indian One-Horned
Rhinos, Wild Elephants, Wild Buffaloes and Tigers.
Best Time to Visit : November to late March,
Timings : 7.30 am to 4 pm.
Entry Fee : Rs. 20 for Indians, Rs.250 for
Camera Charges : Still Camera Fee - Indians
Rs 50, foreigners Rs 500. Video Camera Fee- Indians Rs 500,
foreigners Rs 1,000.
Vehicle Entry : Rs 200.
Safari Timings : Elephant Safari timings are
5 am to 6 am and 6 pm to 7 pm, Jeep Safari timings are 7.30
am to 9.30 am and 2 pm to 3.30 pm.
Safari Fee : Rs. 120 for Indians and Rs 750
Introducing Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga, locally meaning 'where the mountain goat has water,'
is much more than just a wildlife destination, in fact, it is
a piece of history. Turned 100-years-old in 2005, this UNESCO
World Heritage Site is flanked all along by beautiful tea gardens
and tall elephant grass. Situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra
River, amidst a pleasant tranquil ambience, Kaziranga National
Park spreads over an area of 480 sq. kms.
Till the early 20th century, Kaziranga was a swampy, almost
inaccessible wetland, used as hunting ground by local tribes
and hunters. In 1905, the British Government under Lord Curzon,
proposed to declare Kaziranga as a reserve forest and the area
was officially closed for shooting in 1908. Due to limitless
poaching of the wild animals, in the year 1950, Kaziranga was
declared a wildlife sanctuary and in 1974, it was given the
status of National Park.
In 1985, Kaziranga National Park was declared a World Heritage
Site by UNESCO and now it is globally known for its importance
as one of the last undisturbed habitats of the Great Indian
One-Horned Rhinos. Today, with its flat grasslands with streams
and large, land-locked water bodies, swamps and tall thickets
of elephant grass, Kaziranga is providing an ideal habitat for
the Rhinos, Wild Buffalos, Swamp Deers, Wild Elephants and over
450 species of birds.
Flora of the National Park
Boasting of a favourable climate with plenty of rainfall, Kaziranga
supports the growth of a very rich and varied flora. The main
characteristics of flora in the national park are the dense
and tall elephant grass intermixed by small swamplands. Flora
of the Kaziranga National Park comprise three main types namely
- tropical semi-evergreen forests, tropical wet evergreen forests
and alluvial grasslands. The swamps of Kaziranga National Park
is dominated by grasses, forests and have an abundant cover
of water lilies, water hyacinth and lotus. In addition to these,
Rattan Cane, a type of climbing palm, adds more to the beauty
of Kaziranga National Park.
Fauna of the National Park
Undoubtedly, the Great One-Horned Indian Rhino is the major
attraction in Kaziranga. As per estimates, there are over 1,500
Rhinos in Kaziranga National Park. You can see them in mud or
marshy pools of the park, where they spend several hours during
the day. Besides, the tall grass, thick forests and swamps are
the favourite hide-out for Rhinos. These Rhinos are characterized
by the single horn on their nose and the loose folds of thick
skin. Horns can be seen both in male and female Rhinos and it
can grow from 20 cm to 60 cm in size. Adult male Rhinoceros
have the largest horns, but young ones below one year in age
have no horns.
Apart from the Rhino, you can spot several other animal species
in the park as well. Some of the popular wild animals which
you can see at Kaziranga include Tigers, Leopards, Wild Elephant,
Wild Buffalo, Swamp Deer (Barasingha), Hog Deer, Indian Bison,
Sloth Bears, Wild Boar, Capped Langurs, Hoolock Gibbons, Otters,
Jungle Cats, Hog Badgers, Jackal, Pythons and Monitor Lizards.
A lesser-known fact about Kaziranga National Park is that it
is also home to a variety of bird species. In Kaziranga, you
can see over 450 avian species including the resident as well
as migratory birds. You can spot a variety of bird species such
as Grey-Headed Fishing Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Pallas's Fishing
Eagle, Black-Shouldered Kite, Brahminy Kite, Black Kite, Oriental
Honey Buzzard and Himalayan Griffon.
During winters large number of migratory birds come to lakes
and marshy areas of parks. These birds include Bar-Headed Geese,
Greylag Geese, Gadwall, Northern Shoveller, Falcated Duck, Red-Crested
Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck etc. Besides, the endangered Bengal
Florican, Raptor, Pied Hornbill and owl species can also be
sighted in Kaziranga National Park.
You Can Take Part In
Elephant and Jeep Safari : Elephant and Jeep
Safari are the must do things in Kaziranga National Park. If
you visit the park in the right season, you can spot several
animals in just two days through Elephant and Jeep Safaris.
The Forest Department does not offer vehicle for jeep safari,
so you have to hire the jeeps at the Kohora Chowk or you can
arrage it through your hotel. In Kaziranga National Park the
safari timings are strictly monitored by the Forest Department,
so always keep the timings in your mind.
Safari on Kohora route : A 3 hr to 4 hr safari
in this stretch provides a complete sense of Kaziranga and its
wildlife. During your trip you may see Rhinos, Elephants and
Wild Buffalos. The northern end of Kohora route runs along a
rivulet through a wooded stretch, where you can see turtles
in various sizes sun themselves. If you peer into the trees,
you can get to see colourful minivets. Apart from these, you
can also spot a number of animals species and colourful bird
Safari on Baghori route : Located in the western
end of the park, this circuit is known for its wonderful sightings
and high watchtower. Take an evening trip on this route, surely
you will come across many surprises like the herds of elephant
graze within clear viewing distance. Climb to the top of the
watchtower before sunset, to get a fine view of the wild animals
like Rhinos, Swamp deer, Hog deer, Buffaloes etc.
Safari on Agaratoli route : Situated 21 kms
away from Kohora, Agaratolo is the easternmost of the three
routes. In comparision to other two routes, Agaratoli route
is more wooded but the animal sightings are slightly less frequent.
You can see abundant bird species along this route.
Panbari Reserve Forest : Just a few kms east
of Kohora is the Panbari Reserve Forest. The 10 sq.km long forest
stretch is one of Kaziranga's few remaining highland forests.
Here, the canopy is thick and is still dotted with several trees.
You can spot wild animals like Hoolock, Gibbons, Cat Langur
and a wide variety of birds.
Jorhat : 97 kms away from Kaziranga, the small
town of Jorhat has some interesting excursions point. You could
stay here for a night at the colonial heritage tea bungalow.
If you want to experience more, you can catch the Nimati Ghat
Ferry, about 13 kms from Jorhat Town. The ferry starts around
9 am and makes a two day trip to Majuli, the world's biggest
inhabited river island.
Where to Stay
A wide range of accommodation are available at Kohora, you can
opt from cheap tourist lodges to private-run hotels. At Kohora,
the Assam Tourism Development Corporation runs three tourist
lodges namely - Aranya Tourist Lodge, Bonani Lodge and Bonoshree
Lodge. A few kms away from Kohora the Wild Grass Resort is the
most popular hotel of Kaziranga. Other popular hotels in and
around Kohora include Hotel Bonhabi, Soil Inspection Bungalow
and GL Resort.
How to Reach
Jorhat (97 kms) is the nearest airport from Kaziranga National
Park, Guwahati (250 kms) is another option. You can hire a car
from Guwahati to reach Kaziranga. Nearest railway station is
Jorhat, which is connected to Guwahati. From Guwahati several
trains are available for rest of the country. Kaziranga is well-linked
by National Highway 37 to Jorhat as well as Guwahati. From Guwahati
buses leaving for Upper Assam stop at Kaziranga.