Trip Report : Kaziranga

#1 Jan 26th, 2016, 23:55
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I have been listening to this assamese folk song " Kaziranga bor dhuniya , ekure nai tulona" meaning Kaziranga is very beautiful and nothing compares it and hence the title of this travelogue. The singer then goes on to compare Kaziranga to a beautiful Assamese maiden who was supposedly more beautiful but I would just stick to the park for obvious reasons

After much trepidation, whether to write a trip report or not ,I finally decided in favour of it as the number of reports on Kaziranga in IM are surprisingly low

I was for my annual pilgrimage to Home in Guwahati, Assam and planned for a New year family trip to the park , famous for One Horned Rhinoceros(Rhinoceros unicornis).Now for the Assamese, Rhino is a special animal , it is the epitome of strength and endurance. It has become the quintessential emblem adopted by all vocations in Assam ,from the political parties down to the local football clubs. The unicorn like horn which makes it endearing to us also makes it vulnerable to poaching due to some Chinese mambo- jambo medicines made from the horns. All the mindless poaching over the years caused its habitat to shrunk from the entire Indo Ė Gangetic region to few sanctuaries, parks in Tarai region of which Kaziranga is the most prominent.
. Also seasonal flooding of the Brahmaputra river gives rise to Man animal conflict in the adjoining villages, often ending in deadly consequences for the animal. The river that gives life to so many also takes it away at will.
Kaziranga is probably the oldest National park of India , as per records , it was sanctioned in the year 1905. It is located between the two upper Assam districts Nagaon and Golaghat district , Brahmaputra on North , Karbi Anglong Hills on the south. Infact Rivers Mora Dhansiri, Mora Diphlu , flows from Nagaland & Karbi Anglong respectively right through the park . The flood plains are suitable for the growth of high Elephant grass ( locally called Ekora) which is the stable food of the Herbivores of the park . The top Herbivores sighted are Elephants, Rhino , Wild Buffalo , swap dear. As per official records, Kaziranga also has a high number of Bengal tigers but sightings are very low.

The distance from Guwahati to Kaziranga is approx 220 km but the road is very good , most of it through NH37 / AH1 and for an experienced driver it wouldnít take more than 3.5-4 hrs with breaks.

It was New yearís morning , after yesterday nightís mad partying and noise pollution with high decibel loudspeakers, crackers , the morning was eerily silent . Me and wife walked to the auto stand as we had to travel to my sisterís place at other end of the city . Our taxi would pick us from my sisterís home in Six mile, guwahati area which is the exit point of Guwahati and would be easier to travel from . The car , Swift dezire , arrived 1 hour late as scheduled , the driver was all apologies but we brushed it aside ,probably due to New yearís hangover . We tanked up the car and after negotiating the city traffic for a while we were driving through AH1. The road is a four lane road upto Nagaon and in very good condition , we consistently drove at 100kph . The landscape changed as we left the city , there were rice fields on both sides, the lush green countryside- abundant with betal nut, jack fruit tress, the brick- mortar houses gave way to the Assam pattern houses with extensive use of bamboo . The soothing landscape itself makes me nostalgic.
The route takes through Guwahati ( Khanapara) > Jorabat ( Common for shillong)> Jagiroad ( famous for paper industry)> Nogaon > Kohora ( Kaziranga NP).

Kaziranga has these zones and have separate entry gates :

1) Mihimukh in central Range at Kohora
2) Bagori in Western Range at Bagori
3) Agartoli in Eastern Range at Agartoli
4) Ghorakati in Burapahar Range at Ghorakati
There is also Panbari Reserved forest which is apparently closed for tourists.
The jeep safari is conducted by the forest department in two different shifts. Morning Jeep Safari timing is 07:00 AM to 09:30 AM. Afternoon Jeep safari timing is 01:30 PM to 03:30 PM. Whereas , the Elephant safari can be done from 5:30 to 7:30 AM ( 2- batches of 1 hour each) and in afternoon 4:00- 5:00 PM in respective zones. Out of these zones Kohora & Bagori are the most preferred zones for the tourists , Agartoli zone is more known for birding and one can also do river cruising there. Burapahar Range is a little distance away from the main area and is suitable for trekking also .


Probably , New year is not the best time for KNP , as it is very tough to get accommodation. All the best hotels were full and the remaining hotels were either too expensive or less preferred. So after much confusion I booked Ekora Resorts , Kohora Range , even though I wanted to book the Dhansiri Eco Resort, Agoratoli range , my family vetoed me as the accommodation looked eco-hut like, might not be suitable for kids in winter. Later on , I realized it is better to book hotels on the spot rather than booking online as many hotels,guest houses are not listed on net.

The Ekora Resort is located right on the Highway and very close to the Mihimukh Gate . We reached at about 11-30 AM , the usual check in time was 12-00 Am and the rooms were not ready yet. There is a tea garden just opposite side of the resort and we roamed around the area till the rooms got ready. The hotel service was not upto our expectation , we also got a shock , the restaurant was temporarily closed. We went in search for lunch and found a restaurant offering authentic assamese spread ( Thali)- Machor tenga ( fish curry). Khar ( banana skin) etc. We returned to the Hotel and enquired about the safari . I had booked jeep safari for Central Range ( 2450/-) , Western Range ( 2550/-) from the hotel as prices as same as govt prices. I also wanted to book the morning elephant safari but due to new yearís rush the hotel was asking 900/- pp which was very high and we decided to settle for the jeep safari only.

Our driver cum guide was Raju , we drove towards the Mihimukh Gate . The process of getting the permits took us 5-10 mintues before we were allowed inside.

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After we went inside , there were elephants readied for safari , the bonding between Mahuts and elephants is for life.
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#2 Jan 27th, 2016, 01:10
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#2
Good start. Waiting for the next part.

Ronak.
#3 Jan 27th, 2016, 01:23
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The Elephant and Mahut :


Mr. Jumbo on Govt duty : The tusker.


We crossed a wooden pool over the narrow stream , there were swamp dear , family of water hog . The grass grew taller as we approached , finally we reached a watch tower . I climbed the stairs , from above the view was extraordinary. There were Rhinos , wild buffaloes, deer and elephants visible. I saw 2 wild elephants taking bath on the other side of the river , a rhino mother with her calf was also grazing at some distance.

There were many water bodies called beel ( bigger then pond) , there were birds fishing everywhere.

Early bird prize ( quite literally)

i saw the pelican catch a big one
#4 Jan 27th, 2016, 01:52
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There was beautiful play of light and dust as the jeeps made their way through the jungle path :




The Assam roofed turtle basking in the sun.



The one loner in the group :



Grazing on the other side of the stream



The Great One Horned Rhino under the golden light of the evening



One magnificent creature:



The sun was setting behind the tall grasses :



We found him enjoying the mud bath



The frightened look of a swamp deer



The colourful jungle fowl



Beautiful kaziranga



The setting sun behind the swamp



The sun was setting fast , it was getting darker and we had a very good safari. Our driver Raju was knowledgeable and patient, he gave us enough time for photography . The exit timings in Kaziranga are not so strictly followed , 10-15 mins delay are excused.After we returned , I tipped Raju and went out for our dinner.
#5 Jan 27th, 2016, 02:08
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#5
Very nice!

I assume jeep safari cost is per vehicle. How many people can they accommodate in one?

Thanks
#6 Jan 27th, 2016, 02:18
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Day 2 : Western Range ( Morning safari)

We started for the western zone ( Bagori gate) at approx 7-30 in the morning. The distance was approx 12 km from Kohora gate . It was foggy and relatively cold in the morning. We couldn't sleep well the previous night due to disturbance from loudspeakers by new year revelers all through the night. I was surprised , how they get permission to play such loud music so close to the park. Because of its close proximity to Guwahati many weekend picnic parties come and create such nuisance which may cause disturbance to the park animals.
We entered the Bogori range and immediately sighted group of elephants in the morning mist.



There was very low light , only a silhouette was visible



The one staring at us :



Another long stare:



The Jungle path , the Bagori tree , after which the range is named ,I presume



Beautiful , magical landscape in the morning mist :



The calm and serene morning , we waited here for a while to soak in the beauty .



#7 Jan 27th, 2016, 02:36
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Further ahead we faced a Roadblock : Mr Jumbo & co. held us up for 15 minutes. The entire herd was crossing the tall grass towards a water pond. They suddenly saw us and started trumpeting and running backwards, Perhaps, they were more scared of us then we were of them. What a bone chilling experience.At the end we could all laugh & relive the moment . Truly , the thrill of the wildlife is unparallel



When elephants stopped us , we turned towards Stoks and their amazing reflections



One up close



When we made our escape , we came across another herd of elephants



The mother elephant and its baby crossing the Jungle road



The Junior is taking its time and we are not complaining



When we stopped for a break , where there were watch posts set by forest rangers ,my cutie niece was posing with kitten



I noticed this beauty , can anyone name it ?



We came across this herd of herbivores



Two buffalo calves with the group



The time was running out , the safari was coming to an end. Due to lack of time , we couldn't make it to any other range. We also didn't have any sighting of big cats but our driver told he had a Tiger sighting in the western range a week day. Perhaps we were not that lucky but overall had a great experience.
Kaziranga is very beautiful indeed.
#8 Jan 27th, 2016, 11:20
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#8
Nice & informative report. Beautiful photos too . Thanks for sharing
#9 Jan 27th, 2016, 12:05
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@madri
yes the jeep safari cost is per vehicle , it can accomodate upto 6 persons.
#10 Jan 27th, 2016, 12:08
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Thanks arupratan for liking it
#11 Jan 27th, 2016, 12:53
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#11
Well narrated and supported with nice photographs..answer to your question is grey-backed shrike.
#12 Jan 27th, 2016, 13:30
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#12
Fantastic photographs and informative report. Many thanks for taking the time to narrate your journey.

#13 Jan 27th, 2016, 13:38
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@ Ghosal sir .. thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by theyyamdancer View Post Fantastic photographs and informative report. Many thanks for taking the time to narrate your journey.

Thanks ..absolutely love your TR on North East
#14 Jan 27th, 2016, 13:54
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#14
Lovely photographs and equally well written.
Thanks for sharing.
Sair kar duniya ki galib,yeh zindagani phir kahan..

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Some of my compilations in Flickr
#15 Jan 27th, 2016, 15:46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by life1style1 View Post Lovely photographs and equally well written.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for liking

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