Kaziranga National Park
State : Assam Area : 430 sq. km Altitude: 80 - 1,220 m Vegetation : Tropical Evergreen
One of the most breathtakingly picturesque wildlife habitats of southern Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kaziranga is inhabited by the world's largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses, as well as wild buffaloes, tigers, elephants, swamp deer and thousands of birds.
Kaziranga set on the southern bank of River Brahmaputra in Assam’s Golghat district, is a World Heritage Site and a veritable heaven for wildlife lovers.
Lying at the foot of the Mikir Hills and rising to a height of 1200m, Kaziranga is a stunning biodiversity hot spot of Wetlands, tall elephant grasslands, forests and riverine habitats fed by the splendid Brahmaputra River. The tall grasses are called 'elephant grass' and grow up to a height of five metres
Kaziranga was declared a National Park in 1974 and the original core area of 428 sq/km, was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1985.
The beauty of Kaziranga is best discovered in winter months when the park gets swathed in mist in the early morning. Savouring the beauty of the silent grasslands from the back of a elephant trudging through the grasslands with rhinos, buffaloes and swamp deer, with the first rays of the sun glistening on the dew drops on the blades of grass is an experience like no other. On a safari in a jeep sometimes the rhinos give chase creating an exhilarating moment of adventure that remains in the mind forever.
On rare occasions, one can see up to 30 rhinos together in the open grasslands. As the sun becomes stronger the beautiful landscape starts to unfold, dominated by elephant grass, interspersed with patches of short undergrowth and dotted with marshes.
Elephants with their babies frolic in the water along with water buffaloes and the endangered swamp deer. The flying fox and the Malabar flying squirrel can be seen flying from the tree tops and the park is also home to 11 species of turtles.
Kaziranga has the greatest density of tigers in the world - 32.64 per100 sq/km, but they are difficult to spot due to the high grasses.
History of how Kaziranga became a safe haven for the the Rhinos
Destruction of wildlife in the area
In the early nineteenth century, with the rise of the tea industry in Assam, slowly, the forests in the area were cleared for settlements and tea plantations and megafauna populations in Assam were systematically destroyed as a result of hunting by British soldiers. Major John Butler of Bengal Native Infantry wrote in 1855 that it was not uncommon for three soldiers "to shoot thirty buffalos, twenty deer, a dozen hogs, besides one or two tigers and rhinoceroses. Captain Pollock, a British military engineer wrote that one or two rihnos or buffalos were shot dead before every breakfast.
How Kaziranga National Park was formed:
During her trip to Assam in January 1905 , Lady Curzon ( wife of Viceroy of India Lord Curzon) expressed an interest in visiting the Naharjan tea estate. A planter named Forbes had earlier informed her that wildlife was abundant in that area. Forbes had arranged three elephants to facilitate game viewing, and had asked a local famous wildlife tracker Balaram Hazarika to accompany her.
During the trip, Balaram Hazarika, emphasized the plight of the rhino, as the party could only find footprints and never saw the animal itself.
Lady Curzon conveyed her disappointment to her husband, and persuaded him to initiate urgent measures to protect the Rhinoceros population and leading to the creation of Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest in 1905 with an area of 232 km. The park celebrated its centenary with much fanfare in 2005.
According to the census held in March 2018 conducted by the Forest Department , the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park is 2,413.
Main Attraction : Rhinoceros, Elephants, Tigers, Wild Water Buffaloes, Swamp deer, Gangetic Dolphin, Chinese Pangolin, Hoolock Gibbon, Hog-Badger and Parti-coloured Flying Squirrel.
Avifauna: Kaziranga is a bird paradise with nearly 500 species that include Swamp Francolin, Pale-capped Pigeon, Bengal Florican, Great and Wreathed Hornbill, Jerdon's Baza, Slender-billed Vulture, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Pied Harrier, Pied Falconet, Oriental Hobby, Black-necked Stork, Greater Adjutant, Hodgson’s Bushchat, White-vented Myna, Rufous-vented Prinia , Marsh Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black-breasted Parrotbill and Finn’s Weaver. There is a breeding colony of Spot-billed Pelicans near Koladuar in the Agoratoli range. During winter months a large number of migratory birds are seen here.
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Major City: Guwahati (190 Km / 4 hrs)
Airport : Guwahati (190 Km / 4 hrs)
Railway Station : Guwahati (190 Km / 4 hrs).
Park Opening / Closing
Park Open : October - April
Shortest Route :
Fly to Guwahati and drive toKaziranga (190 Km)
Nearby National Parks / Wildlife sanctuaries:
Nameri National Park (90 km), Pakke Tiger Reserve (120 km), Hoolangapar Gibbon Sanctuary (140 km), Manas National Park (290 km)
Best Time to visit and climate:
The best time for this trip is November - February when the park looks the best and abundant birdlife.
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