Wild India – Assam - National Parks

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(Photo from: http://www.toehold.in/phototours/2016/april/kaziranga-wildlife-photography-tour.php)

Assam, the gateway to the mystic north-eastern frontiers abounds in dense forests, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Assam wildlife's claims to fame lie in the two legendary UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kaziranga National Park and the Manas National Park.

Assam with its huge forest cover, vast open lands and incredible climate is an excellent place for wildlife to flourish. Assam is most famous for two things, one is its tea and the other it’s pristine wildlife parks. Assam has five national parks and eighteen wildlife sanctuaries. The varying climate and landscape also proves to be of lot of help in preserving different species of animals. And climate is the main reason in attracting numerous migratory birds into the state.

Here is a list of national parks of the state.


Kaziranga National Park

(Photo from: http://www.kaziranganationalpark-india.com/)

Location: Located in the Golaghat and Nagaon district of Assam, the Kaziranga National Park is stretched across an area of 378 square kilometres with an addition of 429 square kilometres along the present boundary of the park.

Attractions: Kaziranga's lush green flood plains fed by the mighty Brahmaputra, are composed of tall, dense grasslands interspersed with cane brakes, open woodlands, interconnecting streams and numerous lakes or 'beels' - which is a truly mesmeric setting.

The park resides at an edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot and this could be the perfect reason to envision high degrees of diversified species with great visibility. The park plays host to a very diverse set of mammals, birds and reptiles.

Best Time to Visit: November and April.

Things to do: Jeep safari, elephant safari and bird watching tours.


Manas National Park

(Photo from: https://www.tripoto.com/trip/manas-national-park-179950)

Location: Manas National Park or Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a national park, UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve in Assam. Located in the Himalayan foothills, it is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.

Attractions: The Park is divided into three ranges. The western range is based at Panbari, the central at Bansbari near Barpeta Road, and the eastern at Bhuiyapara near Pathsala. The ranges are not well connected; while two major rivers need to be forded in going from the centre to the Panbari, there is a rough trail connecting the central to the eastern range. Most visitors come to Bansbari and then spend some time inside the forest at Mathanguri on the Manas River at the Bhutan border.

The Manas river flows thorough the west of the park and is the main river within it. It is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River and splits into two separate rivers, the Beki and Bholkaduba as it reaches the plains. Five other smaller rivers also flow through the national park which lies on a wide, low-lying alluvial terrace spreading out below the foothills of the outer Himalaya. The Manas River also serves as an international border dividing India and Bhutan.

The fauna of the sanctuary include Indian elephants, Indian rhinoceros, gaur, Asian water buffalo, barasingha, Indian tiger, Indian leopard, clouded leopard, Asian golden cat, dhole, capped langur, golden langur, Assamese macaque, slow loris, hoolock gibbon, smooth-coated otters, sloth bear, barking deer, hog deer, black panther, sambar deer and chital.

he park is well known for species of rare and endangered wildlife that are not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog.

Best Time to Visit: November to April

Things to do: Jeep safari, elephant safari and bird watching tours.


Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

(Photo from: http://armchairlounge.com/dibru-saikhowa-river-dolphins-wild-feral-horses-brahmaputra-river-cruises/)

Location: Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is located at about 12 kilometres north of Tinsukia town of Assam. It covers an area of 350 square kilometres. The park bounded is by the Brahmaputra and Lohit rivers in the north and Dibru River in the south.

Attractions: The Park is the largest Salix swamp forest in north east India. Situated in the flood plains of the Brahmaputra and the Lohit, at an altitude of 118 m above sea level, Dibru-Saikhowa is a haven for many endangered species. Due to the auto stocking by the Brahmaputra and Dibru Rivers, it is rich in fish diversity.

Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, dhole, small Indian civet, Malayan giant squirrel, Chinese pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, slow loris, pig tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, Asian elephant, wild boar, sambar, hog deer, barking deer, Asiatic water buffalo, and feral horse are some of the mammals calling this Park home.

Dibru-Saikhowa has a rich and diverse number of reptiles. Two species of monitor lizard, eight species of turtle and eight species of snake have been recorded.

The birds of Dibru-Saikhowa include greater adjutant, lesser adjutant, Indian cormorant, grey heron, purple heron, black-crowned night heron, yellow bittern, Asian open bill, black stork, fulvous whistling-duck, greylag goose, northern pintail, Pallas's fish-eagle, Eurasian griffon, osprey, crested serpent-eagle, spot-billed pelican, white-winged wood duck, Baer's pochard, greater spotted eagle, Bengal florican, pale-capped pigeon, great pied hornbill, marsh babbler, Jerdon's babbler and black-breasted parrotbill.

The river and its tributaries within the Dibru-Saikhowa is one of the best places to catch sight of the highly endangered Gangetic River Dolphins. They have almost disappeared from the Ganges and even from most parts of the Brahmaputra due to pollution and indiscriminate poaching.

Best Time to Visit: November to April.

Things to do: Elephant safaris, jeep safaris, bird watching and dolphin sightings.


Nameri National Park

(Photo from: http://indiagetaways.co.in/nameri-national-park-assam/)

Location: Nameri National Park is a national park in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur District of Assam, India, about 35 kilometres from Tezpur. Nameri is about 9 kilometres from Chariduar, the nearest village.

Attractions: Situated in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the Sonitpur district of Assam, Nameri National Park is the last home to the White winged wood duck, the most endangered duck specie in India. The national park is also home to a substantial population of elephants.

Some of the other animals that can be seen here are leopards, bison, wild boars, black bears, giant squirrels, capped langurs and sloth bears. The birds of Nameri National Park range from hornbills, wood ducks, plovers to bee-eaters and babblers.

Best Time to Visit: November to March

Things to do: Jeep safari, elephant safari and bird watching.


Orang National Park

(Photo from: http://www.travelspeak.in/natures-diversity-orang-national-park-spectacular-treat/)

Location: Orang National Park is located in the alluvial flood plains spread between Darrang and Sonitpur districts in Assam. It is approximately 75 kilometres away from Sonitpur and 40 kilometres away from Darrang in Assam.

Attractions: It is also known as the mini Kaziranga National Park since the two parks have a similar landscape made up of marshes, streams and grasslands. Different species of fauna found in the park include the Royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant, Pygmy hog, Hog deer, wild boar and the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros.

Other mammalian species found in the park include the Blind Gangetic dolphin, Indian pangolin, Rhesus macaque, Bengal porcupine, Indian fox, Small Indian civet, otter, leopard cat, Fishing cat and Jungle cat.

Best Time to Visit: November to March

Things to do: Jeep safari, elephant safari and bird watching.