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Old 24th December 2014, 23:01   #1
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Default Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

I visit my hometown, Guwahati every once in a year. This time I was there in the month of December and a trip to Kaziranga was already pre-planned. Being from Assam, I am very proud of Kaziranga National Park which hosts world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses. Some 15 years back was when I visited this place last time, hence wanted to relive old memories and go amidst nature and wild. Kaziranga is known to have the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and is declared as a World Heritage site. The best season of Kaziranga is between November and April and the park covers a huge area of 430sq.km However, some greedy selfish poachers are trying hard and fast to reduce their numbers by killing them mercifully for the horns. Authorities are taking actions to save these endangered species, hope they succeed in doing do. As one-horned rhinos are our national heritage. Nonetheless, let’s begin with my travelogue speaking about the two days I spent in Kaziranga along with my family – this was on 8th & 9th Dec 2015.

Day 1

Kaziranga is about 200kms from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. We wanted to start early but due to winter season getting up early morning is a challenge. So not delaying much we packed few stuffs for a day, food, water, warm clothes and headed towards Kaziranga – 8:45am was the time when we started. The gang included – my second elder bro, his wife (my sis-in-law), sis-in-law’s younger bro, Atul (my better half), my one year old niece and me, of course – WagonR was our chariot. With some petrol filling, we headed towards Khanapara, out-skirts of Guwahati from we needed to take NH37 / AH1 all the way towards Kaziranga. The drive across the highway was pretty scenic with greenery both sides. The winter fog was adding on to a chilling breeze. We heavily enjoyed our drive and brother was cruising at a constant speed of 100kmph. The road was pretty empty, considering it being a Monday. Green fields, country-side houses, farmers working on their fields, road side dhabas and a winter morning – these were all adding up to an amazing journey ahead. We munched on biscuits, cakes and some other eateries we carried along with us. After some twisty and curvy road, we reached Jagiroad at around 9:45am – Jagiroad, famous for a paper mill and dry fish market.

At around 11am we would wait no more and wanted to hog on something very badly. There are many dhabas / restaurants along the way, you can hop inside anyone and try some authentic Assamese breakfast. We reached a restaurant called ‘Megharanjini’ and decided to halt there for some heavy brunch. The place was empty and getting our order wasn’t difficult. Ordered chapatis, mixed veg, fried rice and some tea. The restaurant is well maintained with decent and clean rest rooms, open space for parking cars / vehicles and a nice green garden to enjoy while to rest for some time. Done with our breakfast, we started with our journey again at around 12noon. We passed small towns on the way, market areas and villages. After a stretch of plain areas we entered Bura hill ranges, from where Kaziranga and forest area starts. Instructions all along the highway for slow driving and animal passing corridors. We crossed few tea estates as well on our way.

By now we were already in Kaziranga and was looking for our guest house. There are many guest houses, hotels, resorts in and around Kaziranga for tourists to stay put – ‘Borgos’ is the recent high-profile resort that has come up recently. We preferred staying in one of government run guest house – an uncle of ours work in Kaziranga as a Deputy Director of forests and helped us get in the guest house. It is a season time and hotels across the place can be over-crowded with no room availability. 1:30am is when we reached our ‘Bonani Guest House’. We hardly had 30 minutes to settle down, get freshen up and run for our Jeep Safari. After dumping our stuffs in the room, little bit of freshening up we got ready for our jeep safari. The way inside can be very dusty hence carrying a scarfs, cloth to cover yourself up is a must.

Jeef safari happens twice in a day – early morning and afternoon. The closing hours in the evening depends on the seasonal variance in climate. During winter the park and jeep safari closes by 4:30pm. There are five ranges for jeep safari – central, western, eastern, Burapahar range and Panbari reserve forest. Since the park is big it becomes difficult to cover the entire ranges. The safaris covers only a small area within the central range.

2pm and our jeep safari started. Rs 2200 was paid for 5 adult persons and entry into the forest. Jeep safari was accompanied by an escort/guide and lasted for 2/3 hours. I was completely mesmerized by the scenic beauty of this national park, it was like a once in a lifetime experience. We spotted several world’s greatest Indian one-horned rhinos, wild Asiatic wild water buffaloes, swamp deer, elephants, sambar, wild boar and hog dear. I very badly wanted to spot a tiger but all in vain. The guide informed us that Kaziranga has the largest population of wild water buffalo in the world, there are around 106 approx. tigers in the park along with leopards. We could also spot some rare and colorful birds in the park. It is home to many migratory birds, water birds like stork, duck, goose, kingfisher, pelican and eagles. Tall elephant grasses and sugarcanes were covered all along the park. Many ponds with turtles swimming across was also seen.

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We were super delighted with our safari and having spotted rhinos and elephants so close to us. These animals are magnificent and wonder how someone can just kill them for money. The government should definitely take steps and stringent measures to safe-guard these wild heritage of ours.

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By 4:45pm we were done with our safari and back to our guest house. It was already dark by now and we were utterly tired by the days toil – yet we enjoyed each and every moment spent. We got some bhajjis, egg soaps, onion pakodas and tea for evening snacks and waited patiently for our dinner. A little rest and at around 8pm dinner was served – chicken curry, rice, roti, aloo sabji, daal, papad and pickle. A sumptuous dinner and we decided to retire for the night as we have to start early in the morning for our elephant safari at 4:30am.

Day 2

The guest house people woke us up at around 3:45am. We got ready and started for the point from where elephant safari would start. A travel of 11kms to Bagori and we reached our safari spot. Had to wait until dawn, 5am for all the elephants to arrive. There was a huge crowded gathered to enjoy the much talked about elephant safari. Elephant safari continues for 1 hour and covers only 1km of the forest but is by far the best way to explore the wide varieties of wildlife in Kaziranga through elephant back.

We sat on our elephant ‘Jayamala’, about 50 years old female – she was huge yet very gentle and let us ride her on her back. There are 5 adults allowed with the elephant excluding the mahout. A herd of 20/25 elephant started with the elephant safari. I was super happy with this experience, though it was not new to me, when I was young I did sit on an elephant back and took safari in Kaziranga but this memory is so different. An experience not many get to enjoy in their lifetime. Words can’t express how I was feeling, I was amidst nature and feeling each and every bit of it. The first wildlife to spot was a rhino sleeping deep inside a small muddy pond. He moved as the elephants started making noise, the rhino was just few meters away from us. These creatures are magnificent and truly amazing. Along the way we could spot deers, sambars, wild buffaloes, a rhino and its baby, wild boar, wild hens, birds, pelicans and some wild elephants. The gentle walk of the elephants, their eating grasses all along the way, the cool breeze and quite nature – I was speechless. The safari lasted for an hour and by 6:30am we were done with our elephant safari. We bid adieu to Jayamala and wished a long and safe life for her. Next batch of tourist was already queuing up for their elephant safari.

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Reached our guest house at around 7am. It was time for some breakfast and head back home. The guest house people served us breakfast at around 8am – puri, channa daal and tea. One helluva breakfast it was and I hogged down some 6/7 puris. The scenic beauty around the guest house was amazing too, on a hill-top, amidst a small tea estate, the view was beautiful. Green herbs, trees and colorful winter flowers with cool breeze. Around 9:45am, when we were all done with getting freshen up, the journey back home started. With a happy feeling it was time to say goodbye Kaziranga until next time.

Once again we took NH37 / AH1, came across a DurgaMaa temple on our way – hence decided to stop by and offer some prayers. The drive back home was uneventful as most of us were feeling drowsy for waking up early morning. We stopped at a dhaba near Sonapur for lunch around 12:45pm. Ordered – rice, chapatti, dal, chicken curry, panner mutter masala and pork fry. Almost 90 mins rest and we hit the roads again. 3:00pm and we were home – safe and sound!

Hope you guys liked the travelogue. Please do visit Kaziranga once in your lifetime – you will be amazed and definitely appreciate the wildlife our country has in abundance. All we need is to safeguard and protect them, be proud of them.
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Old 25th December 2014, 10:28   #2
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Beautiful free-flowing text Nandita. And refreshing images too. All of you seem to have enjoyed the beauty of the animals, the flora-fauna, and the food. Congratulations on making a successful trip.

Starting 3.45 am in the morning on the second day is a tad early. Any reason for such an early departure. I guess its to make it to the animals having their first drink of the day?

By the way, what are some of the preparations in the authentic Assamese breakfast which you refer to early on in the text.

Kaziranga is a must visit for me. Have postponed it till by kid is a bit older.

Last edited by PVPal : 25th December 2014 at 10:30.
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Old 25th December 2014, 11:52   #3
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Thanks Nandita for a rare glimpse into Kaziranga; given that its located in the NE, not too many folks from the other parts of the country get to make the trek, which means you lose out on witnessing the one horned rhino, something that not too many other parks in the country can offer.
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Old 26th December 2014, 15:50   #4
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Wow, Fantastic report. Loved those pictures of Rhinos in such a natural makeover. Tempting to plan a visit to the Zoo next vacation.
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Old 26th December 2014, 18:04   #5
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Superb TL Nandita, it was truly and amazing experiencing wildlife in its natural form...being a wildlife lover myself, it was a dream come true. Thanks!
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Old 26th December 2014, 20:13   #6
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Nice crisp travelogue with some enchanting photos. Thanks for penning this.

Kaziranga is truly the only place in the world where you can see a rhino in the wild - they have almost disappeared in Africa.

Delighted to read this travelogue as I am (hopefully) following you in a month's time
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Old 28th December 2014, 08:33   #7
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Excellent.
I need a clarification - what is EGG SOAP ? You mention this as one of the items along with tea on day one evening. A typo or some local item?
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Old 29th December 2014, 03:39   #8
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Nice read. Didn't know that they've started Jeep Safaris in Burapahar and Panbari ranges.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Excellent.
I need a clarification - what is EGG SOAP ? You mention this as one of the items along with tea on day one evening. A typo or some local item?
I think it's Egg Chop which is a kind of Egg Pakoda. I am not sure if egg chop is a common word used in other parts of India apart from Eastern and North-Eastern areas.
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Old 29th December 2014, 12:10   #9
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVPal View Post
Beautiful free-flowing text Nandita. And refreshing images too. All of you seem to have enjoyed the beauty of the animals, the flora-fauna, and the food. Congratulations on making a successful trip.

Starting 3.45 am in the morning on the second day is a tad early. Any reason for such an early departure. I guess its to make it to the animals having their first drink of the day?

By the way, what are some of the preparations in the authentic Assamese breakfast which you refer to early on in the text.

Kaziranga is a must visit for me. Have postponed it till by kid is a bit older.
Actually, we got up around 3:45 and left guest house by 4:15 as we were asked to reach the elephant safari spot by 4:45 to avoid rush. But had to wait till 5:30 for the safari to start.

Authentic Assamese breakfast would include - luchi (puri), aloo sabji, ghugni (chole), mixed veg curry, chapatis, coconut ladoos, curd with jaggery and flat rice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Excellent.
I need a clarification - what is EGG SOAP ? You mention this as one of the items along with tea on day one evening. A typo or some local item?
Horrible spelling mistake... as Kaushik rightly mentioned its egg chop, kind of egg pakoda battered with aloo and maida.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushik_s View Post
Nice read. Didn't know that they've started Jeep Safaris in Burapahar and Panbari ranges.

I think it's Egg Chop which is a kind of Egg Pakoda. I am not sure if egg chop is a common word used in other parts of India apart from Eastern and North-Eastern areas.
Yes Kaushik they have started safaris for very few areas around Burapahar and Panbari but need to take special permissions as they are dense forest areas. We were told that NAT GEO and Discovery guys can go in.
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Old 30th December 2014, 14:25   #10
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Hi Nandita, having spend a glorious 20 years in the north-east (your neighbouring state - Meghalaya) the trip to Kaziranga was something that used to be on the calendar every year - and mostly November as the Park would have just opened in September/October back then.

Having moved from the Green Abode to this Concrete jungle - reading about Kaziranga has brought back so many memories... From the Puri and Channa Dal for breakfast to the Elephant Safari, from Bura pahar to the One horned Rhino - its all so nostalgic... Thanks for Sharing and some cool Pics too... And like you said the hunt for these beautiful animals need to stop

As for the Tigers, I can tell you that in all those yearhave seen teh Tiger only once that too from a distance of around 200 - 300m while on the Elephant Safari.
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Old 5th January 2015, 14:36   #11
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Default Re: Experiencing Wildlife and Nature - Kaziranga National Park

Correct @RomelK...just heard couple of days back that a rhino along with its baby were killed by poachers in Orang National Park. They cut off the entire horn from the rhino and left it to bleed till death. Even killed the guard who was protecting the animal and its cub. Feel sick on hearing such news

Coming to tigers, badly wanted to spot one but the elephant safari guy told us that its very very rare.
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