Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Area of the Park: 858 sq km
Year of Establishment: 1908
Best Season to visit: The park opens from November to April, but to avoid the peak season rush, it is advisable to visit the park between late February and March.
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Kaziranga National Park, which is a World Heritage Site and hosts two-third of the world's One-horned Indian rhino population, is one of the most diverse ecosystem in the world. No one trick pony, Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among all protected areas across the world and is a Tiger Reserve -it was awarded the recognition in 2006. Other important animals that await you at the park are large breeding populations of elephants, swamp deer and the water buffalo, which is unique to the region. Kaziranga National Park is also one of those few parks that have been able to implement conservation projects with a great deal of success.
The park is not only home to the one-horned rhinoceros, which incidentally happens to be the major reason why the park is so famous, as there are a number of other wild animals, which include migratory birds and animals native to the place that make Kaziranga National Park a traveler's delight. In fact the park has such a high concentration of birds that Birdlife International recognizes it as an Important Bird Area. Migratory birds of the park include Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Baer's Pochard duck and Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Black-necked Stork, and Asian Openbill stork which migrate from as far as Central Asia during the winter season. You will also find a large number of water birds, predatory birds, game birds and scavengers as well.
Stunning landscapes, gurgling water bodies dominate the park
Located on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, the sanctuary is crisscrossed by three major rivers which sustains the wildlife of the park. These rivers are complemented by a large number of other smaller water bodies scattered across the park. Being a tropical region, the park is conducive to tall elephant grass, marshlands, and moist broadleaf forests, which dominate the landscape. The diversity of the park is such that the landscape changes every hundred yards, and so does the animals of the park, with many having their own territory that they defend fiercely.
Chronological history of the park
Located in Golaghat and Nagaon district of Assam, the park first came into being in 1905 as a Proposed Reserved Forest and became a Reserve Forest in 1908. It was not until 1968 that it was given the status of a national park. Taking note of its unique natural environment and ability to sustain a large number of ecologically important species, the park was conferred the title of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
The latitudinal variations of the park ranges between 26°30' N and 26°45' N, while the longitudinal variations range from 93°08' E to 93°36' E. The flat expense of fertile, alluvial soil, which forms by erosion and is deposited by the Brahmaputra River, is a peculiarity of the park. Then a large segment of the park area is dominated by beels, a form of lake created by riverine foods; sandbars; and randomly formed elevations, known in the native language as chapories which are used by the inhabitants to take shelter from flood.
Flora in Kaziranga
Four basic types of vegetation are found in the park -alluvial inundated grasslands, alluvial savanna woodlands, tropical moist mixed deciduous forests and tropical semi-evergreen forests. Of the total vegetation that covers the park, tall grasses accounts for 41%, short grass 11%, open jungle 29%, swamps 4%, water bodies 8%, while the remaining 6% is covered with sand. As you move from the eastern end to the western end of the park, you will feel the difference in altitude levels, as the eastern area is located on a higher altitude. Consequently, the eastern side of the park is dominated by tall elephant grasses, while short grasses are more predominant in the lower plains. Some of the popular tall grasses found in the park include sugarcanes, spear grass, elephant grass and the common reed.
Fauna in Kaziranga
The fauna of the park is very colorful with as many as 35 breeding population of mammalian species residing here. Found in great numbers, these mammals roam across the length and bredth of the park. Of the 35 species, the IUCN Red List has identified 15 species as threatened including the one-horned rhino. Apart from the rhino, the park also has the world's largest population of Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo and Eastern Swamp Deer. Other important mammal species include elephants, guar and sambar. Among the small herbivores, Indian Muntjac, wild boar, and hog deer are the notable ones.
As for the big cats, Kazirange is among the few habitats left outside of Africa where their breeding in the wild is supported. The park provides shelter to many different species of the cat family including the Indian Tiger and Leopard. The high density of tigers -one per five kilometer, the highest in the world, was one major reason why the park was declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, and Leopard Cats are other members of the cat family you can sight in the lively environment of the park.
Among the smaller mammals, those with a significant population are the Indian Gray Mongoose, Small Indian Mongooses, Large Indian Civet, Small Indian Civets, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Sloth Bear, Chinese Pangolin, Indian Pangolins and Hog Badger. Speaking of diversity, there is also the endangered Ganges Dolphin making its moves gracefully in the rivers of the park.
Kaziranga wears different hats, and one among them is that of being an Important Bird Area. As such you are guaranteed of catching sight of some great birds in flight in these parts of the country. Other than the ones already mentioned, the park hosts, or to be correct used to host, many species of the vulture family. At one point there were as many as seven species of the family, but the sad part is today some of them have disapppered while the remaining members of the family are facing extinction. So it may be your last opportunity to catch these natural dustinboys in action before they are gone for ever. On a positive note, the park authorities are taking up a lot of initiatives to restore the declining population.
The climatic cycle of the park is made up of three seasons, viz., summer, monsoon and winter. The winter season, which lasts from November till February, is normally dry and mild with a maximum temprerature of 25 °C and a minimum temperature of 5 °C. All the smaller water bodies dry up during this perid and the animals have to depend on the major rivers for survival. The dry season is an opportune time for the predators and they lurk around the rivers and whatever water bodies are alive, and wait for a prey to come along before they can launch their ambush.
During summer, which falls between March and May, temperature can go up to 37°C and most animals can be found near water bodies cooling themselves off. Monsoon, which arrives in June and stays on till September, accounts for the major share of rainfall the park witnesses -2220 mm per year. When monsoon is at its peak, three/fourths of western areas of the park gets submerged under water since the accumulated water in the Brahmaputra River flows into the park. It is not uncommon to see animals coming out of their protected reserved areas during these times and entering human establismenets, which on many occasions lead to human-animal conflicts. As water level increases, flooding can be a serious issue in the park; as many as 540 animals, 13 of them rhinos, perished during the floods of 2012. Sometimes an extended dry spell may also cause problems of food shortage.
But whatever may be the nature of the problems, Kaziranga National Park has overcome all of them and today is amongst the best maintained national parks in the country.
Hotels & Resorts in Kaziranga National Park
|Bon Habi Jungle Resort|
Bon Habi lodge is just a short walk from Kaziranga National Park, main entrance gate of Kohora Central Range. It provides visitors a truly exciting and rewarding jungle experience.
|Wild Grass Lodge|
The Wild Grass lodge is located outside Kaziranga National Park area and is about 200-kms away from Guwahati. Built in an attractive rural style kind of architeture, the resort's surrounding ground.
|Kaliabor Manor Resort|
The Kaliabor Manor is a wildlife resort perched besides the tea gardens of Kaliabor and overlooks panoramic vistas in all directions, capturing the mighty Brahmaputra in a most memorable way.
Kaziranga Resort (a unit of GL's Resort) offers relaxed elegance, fine dining, efficient service and all the latest amenities to ensure the best in comfort.
Landmark Woods, a world class resort amidst breathtaking greenery and spread over 15 acres of undulating landscape. Thirty lavish well appointed rooms, complimented with amenities and room service, a fusion cuisine restaurant .
Nestled amidst rolling hills of lush green tea and conveniently located just off National Highway 37 on the Guwahati Dibrugarh Sector IORA is the newest luxury resort at Kaziranga. IORA is a perfect blend of the tranquility .
Aranya Forest Lodge is only 3 kms away from park entrance at mihimukh, kaziranga. Forest lodge is run by the assam government and it is spread in 7 acres.
|Tour Name||Rhino and Tiger Special Tour|
|Duration||07 nights & 08 days|
|Destinations Covered||Kolkata - Guwahati - Manas National Park - Guwahati - Nameri - Kaziranga National Park - Guwahati - Calcutta|
|Tour Name||North East India Wildlife Tour|
|Duration||10 nights & 11 days|
|Destinations Covered||Delhi - Kolkatta - Guwahati - Manas Reserve - Kaziranga - Kolkatta - Delhi|
|Tour Name||Birding Itinerary|
|Duration||23 Nights & 24 Days|
|Destinations Covered||Digboi - Namdapha Tiger Reserve - Deban - Hornbill - Deban - Saikhowa National Park - Tinsukia - Kaziranga National Park - Nameri National Park - Shillong - Mawphlang - Shillong - Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Birding Tour in Kaziranga|
|Duration||12 Nights & 13 Days|
|Destinations Covered||Guwahati > Kaziranga National Park >Nameri National Park-Shilong > Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Splendor of Assam|
|Duration||06 nights & 07 days|
|Destinations Covered||Guwahati - Jorhat - Sibasagar - kaziranga Natioanl park - Guwahati|
|Tour Name||North East Monasteries Tour|
|Duration||13 nights & 14 days|
|Destinations Covered||Guwahati - Bomdilla - Tawang - Dirang - Nameri - Kaziranga - Guwahati|
|Tour Name||North East India Tour With Kaziranga National Park|
|Duration||13 nights & 14 days|
|Destinations Covered||Shillong - Kaziranga National Park- Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Sights of Assam|
|Duration||09 nights & 10 days|
|Destinations Covered||Dibrugarh - Digboi - Jorhat - Kaziranga- Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Tour of tea Fields|
|Duration||11 nights & 12 days|
|Destinations Covered||Dibrugarh - Digboi - Jorhat - Kaziranga- Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Tribal Trail|
|Duration||18 nights & 19 days|
|Destinations Covered||Shillong - Kaziranga - Kohima - Touphema - Kipfiizha - Dziikuo valley - Kohima - Khonoma - Kohima - Jorhat - Sibasagar - Jorhat - Majuli - Guwahati|
|Tour Name||Gibbon and Tiger Watching Tour|
|Duration||14 nights & 15 days|
|Destinations Covered||Kolkata/Delhi - Guwahati- Nameri National Park - Jorhat- Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary - Kaziranga National Park - Guwahati- Manas National Park - Guwahati - Delhi|
Wildlife in Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga is an active breeding ground of 35 mammalian species, 15 of which have been identified by the IUCN Red List as being threatened. The park is more famous all over the world for its one-horned rhino -it holds two/thirds of the world's population. However, the park also has the world's largest population of Wild Asiatic water Buffalo and Eastern Swamp Deer; in fact the wild buffalo counts stands at an astounding 57% of the world population. Leave for the lion, many members of the cat family are found here including Indian Tigers, Leopards, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cats and Fishing Cat. Many of these species are endangered and some of them are only native to the region.
Birding in Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park has always been a birder's delight for its sizable population of exotic and rare birds. Starting from migratory birds to water birds and predators, and from scavengers to game birds, the ladscape is filled with vividity and diversity. As many as 478 bird species have so far been recorded in the park, with 25 of them globally threatened and 21 nearly threatened. Migratory birds like Ferruginous Duck, Baer's Pochard duck and Lesser Adjutant travel from as far away as Central Asia during the peak winter season and make the park their home. Important riverine population includes Spot-billed Pelican, Nordmann's Greenshank and Black-bellied Tern. The presence of a large number of raptors, which are indicators of good heath of an ecosystem, means that Kazirange is a thriving wildlife rerserve. Among them is the rare Eastern Imperial Eagle in addition to other prominent members like Greater Spotted Eagle, White-tailed Fishing Eagle and Pallas's Fish Eagle. As for game birds, the list includes rare birds like partridges (Swamp Francolin), bustards (Bengal Florican) and pigeons (Pale-capped Pigeon).
Reptiles in Kaziranga National Park
Crocodiles - Gharial
Lizards - Assam garden lizard, Assam olive-brown skink, Assam greyish-brown gecko, and common Indian skink arre important members of the lizard family found here
Snakes - Reticulated Python and Rock Python, which are among the largest snakes in the world, as well as the king of venom, the King Cobra are residents of the park. Other snakes of a similar pedigree include the big four -Indian Cobra, Monocled Cobra, Russell's Viper, and Common Krait.
Turtles and Tortoises - As many as 15 species of turtles are found in the park, which includes the abundantly found and endemic Assam Roofed Turtle. The Brown Tortoise is another popular species making the park its home.
Fishes in Kaziranga National Park
The aquatic life of the park is as vibrant, if not more, as their counterparts on the land. A total of 42 freshwater fish species live in the water bodies of the park. Among this wide variety, you will also find such species like freshwater pufferfish Tetraodon cutcutia, which can grow up to a length of 15 cm. It is currently the solitary representative of its genus. Other important fish species found here are Channa orientalis, Channa marulius, Channa punctata, Channa striatus, Cirrhina mrigala, and Clarius batrachus.
Kaziranga National Park Travel Information
By Air: The nearest airport is Rowraiah (Jorhat) which is 97 km away from Kohora, while LGBI Airport (Guwahati), which is the biggest airport in the North East, is located at a distance of 239 km.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is at Furkating, but there is no direct train that connects Furkating with Kaziranga. As such, you have to travel to Numaligarh and from there take a taxi and travel to Kaziranga.
By Road: Kohora is the main entrance to the Kazirange National park and lies on NH-37. It lies between Nagoan and Golaghat. The nearest town from Kohora is Bokakhat at 21 Km, while Jorhat, Nagaon and Guwahati are located at distances of 89 km, 96 km, and 219 km respectively.
Best Time to Visit
For visiting in Kaziranga, you can choose the time from 15th November to early on April month which is the best time for visiting rhinos of the world.