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Old 16th March 2011, 16:25   #1
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Default Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

I think this is the first on T-BHP for Manas. Hope you guys enjoy it. Please bear with me if I am little slow in writing and uploading photos as I have not been able to find anytime other than to finish pending office work.

As they say “All good things come to he who waits”

My annual break was coming to an end and after spending almost 2 weeks with my parents in Guwahati, I was deperate for some peace and quiet. Especially after you have had to attend a family wedding, a 50th anniverary celebration and various other social visits to relatives of a family of mammoth proportions.

We wanted to go somewhere close by and hence my frequently visited as well as my favourite place 'Kaziranga N.P' was ruled out esp with the NH under construction. Similarly, Shillong and the other places around Meghalaya were also ruled out due to the NH construction.

Hence it was decided that this time we should give Manas National Park a try. Here is a little about Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve.

Manas National Park or Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary, 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. The park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.

The park was re-opened about 2 years back as it is situated in the troubled area of Lower Assam (also known as Bodo-land). It was occupied by the NDLF and ULFA for a long time during which period there was rampant poaching and destruction to wildlife. However, efforts by forest officials and locals are getting the lost glory of the park back.

Getting back to this travelogue, we tried getting bookings to the DFO's office but were informed that the whole of March is booked. We really wanted to stay at the Inspection Bungalow that the forest department has by the scenic Manas river and is also at the heart of the sanctuary. However, I was told that there is a cancellation of 2 rooms at the IB for 1 night on the 1st of March. I immediately booked both and started looking for people who whould like to join us. We didnt have to look far, for my cousin and her husband was ever willing.

Here are some teasers of what’s to come: (I have forgotten how to intersperse the photos and captions. Someone please remind me)
1) View from the IB
2) Peacock and Peahen entertains us for about 5 mins with their pre-mating rituals before they realize we are watching them! On our way to the IB
3) Smallest herd of elephants we came across
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Last edited by sarmarishi : 16th March 2011 at 16:27.
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Old 16th March 2011, 16:38   #2
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Oh boy, is it raining Tigers? Seven threads on Tiger reserves - Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Tadoba and now Manas...!

Sarmarishi: except for the first picture the other two are not very clear and sharp. What camera & lenses were you using?

Last edited by gd1418 : 16th March 2011 at 16:43.
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Old 16th March 2011, 16:48   #3
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

@gd1418: The last 2 snaps were taken from very far off. Especially the peacocks as I did not want to disturb them. I was using a 75-300mm lens and the poor lens couldn't have done better. Plus I have downloaded the snaps from Facebook as they were uploaded there and optimised already. May add to it. I will be uploading much clearer snaps soon

And for the Elephant pic.. The lighting was not too good as it was early morning and with a lot of dew/ fog around. Hope you will enjoy some of the other snaps that I upload!

Last edited by sarmarishi : 16th March 2011 at 16:49.
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Old 16th March 2011, 17:10   #4
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

1st March 2011
The D-day arrived. We packed everything into the humongous boot of the 3.0L Ford Endeavor Auto 4X4 and set-off. It surely didn’t look like day trip as we had carried everything from food and water to sanitizing agents as hygiene to the ladies was of utmost importance, esp knowing that it was a govt. IB they didn’t want to take any chances. In fact mother had cooked up enough to last a small division of the Army a good couple of days!

The route we took was NH 31 from Guwahati which takes you across the Brahmaputra over the lovely Saraighat Bridge onto Rangia-Nalbari-Pathsala-Howli and then to Barpeta Road. You need to obtain the permit and enter your details at the DCF office in Barpeta Road before heading to Manas National Park. The roads are being four-laned at the moment and our journey of 160kms took about 4.5 hours. This was primarily due to the fact that there were lots of diversions but majority of the roads were good. The only road which needed to be driven cautiously was inside Manas.

The key was to leave Guwahati early by around 7 a.m. but we only left at about 8 a.m. but were thankful that we didn’t encounter the heavy jam that is usually there at Adabari right up to the Sariaghat bridge.

So at about 1 p.m. we were at the gates of Manas National Park. From the park entrance it took us a further 1.5 hours to cover 22 kms inside the park as we drove slowly in the hope of catching some animals in our lenses. And did we catch a glimpse of anything? Well hold your horses
The Entrance to Manas
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Some shots of the beast feeling at home
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Views of Manas
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It’s the month when forest officials light controlled fires so that new grass comes out and the animals have new nourishing grass to eat. We came across lots of Drongos sittings on burnt elephant grass next to the fires waiting for insects that try to flee from the fire

The Drongos by the fire
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A Close-up of one of them
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Last edited by sarmarishi : 16th March 2011 at 17:40.
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Old 16th March 2011, 17:19   #5
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

It is good news that the Ragiya-Howli road is in good condition. Do you think they will complete the 4-laning soon? Any idea how it is beyond Howli?
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Old 16th March 2011, 17:52   #6
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
It is good news that the Ragiya-Howli road is in good condition. Do you think they will complete the 4-laning soon? Any idea how it is beyond Howli?
The 4-laning will take quite sometime I think. there were some bridges under construction over the railway lines and they were nowhere near completion. I am guessing about 1 to 1.5 years for the Gau-Howli stretch to be done.

Continuing with the story

The drive from the entrance to the IB infact turned out to be a mini safari in itself.

Peacock and Peahen playing games
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The Makhna by the road
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A Ringed Dove
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Muntjac or Barking Deer
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Our Destination was the Inspection Bungalow at Manas. Some photos of the IB and the views from there.
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View from the dining room window
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Old 16th March 2011, 19:04   #7
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmarishi View Post
You need to obtain the permit and enter your details at the DCF office in Barpeta Road before heading to Manas National Park.
Rishi would you please share the address & contact number of the IB booking authority.

Where in Barpeta road is the DCF office & what kind of permit do they issue? Any ID proff, car document photocopy or photograph's needed?

Can one enter the park with own vehicle and drive upto the IB without booking or forest guard?

Is it possible to cross over to the Bhutanese side of the park by road and visit the nearest town from the IB road?

What facilities does the IB have, (cook, kitchen, warm water, extra bed/bedding, power back up etc.).

Where is the last shop and petrol pump before reaching the IB?

And lastly the list of things that you would suggest future visitors to carry along.

Thanks & hope you don't mind for so many questions.
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Old 16th March 2011, 19:06   #8
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Dear Rishi
I had been waiting for this thread to start off for sometime now as I am contemplating visiting this park sometime this year.

The forest bungalow by the river seems to be the best place to stay. This place is very similar to a forest bungalow by the pench river inside the park which is not open to general tourists.

Your shot of the awaiting Drongos stands out of all that you have uploaded.

Keep it coming.
Waiting for you to visit Pench in April.

Dr. A Ghosh
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Old 16th March 2011, 19:08   #9
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Wow, such a refreshing change from the regularly visited NPs of MP.
This is one to look out for. Great pictures, waiting for more.
Regards
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Old 16th March 2011, 19:13   #10
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

sarmarishi,
I am already hooked to this thread. Trip to Manas is in my agenda and will do it sooner. I have heard so many Manas trip stories but could never make it till now. When it was all peaceful we were young then. Now that it has reopened, its time to plan when I go to my Assam next time.
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Old 16th March 2011, 20:29   #11
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Sarmarishi,
What a beautiful place, What a beautiful place to be!

I could look out of the inspection bungalow window till eternity, the bungalow itself is perched on a most beautiful location and they also have chopped a tree for the sweeping view.

So what happened...did Mrs. and Mr. Peacock finally mate?
I will be coming back to your thread for more.
Regards,
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Old 16th March 2011, 21:18   #12
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Manas was supposed to be in a bad shape and a regular haunt for poachers looking out for the Rhino and the tiger. It will be great to hear more of this magnificent but supposed to be struggling reserve. Awaiting more pictures and more details.
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Old 16th March 2011, 21:51   #13
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Fantastic. I love the first picture. Composition and image are really great.

Waiting for the Tiger's entry
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Old 16th March 2011, 22:26   #14
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Awesome. Great start. This definitely breaks the monotony of visit reports of the more popular parks. I am all eyes here.

Have a long desire to visit Manas one day. Did pass very close by during the Bhutan rally, which gave me an idea of the approach roads and the surroundings.

Please bring it on. Waiting eagerly.
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Old 17th March 2011, 01:09   #15
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Default Re: Manas National Park & Tiger Reserve, Assam

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarmarishi View Post
As they say “All good things come to he who waits”
sarmarishi, bring it full on! Would help in reviving my Manas memories. I was planning to go there around second week of Feb this year but my rapidly deteriorating back held me back.

Lemme look at it from through your camera lens & your perspective
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