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Old 8th April 2021, 15:52   #1
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Default To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Destination: Manas National Park
Travelling From: Guwahati
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Type: Road trip
Vehicle used: Little City Hatch!!
Purpose: Weekend Getaway
Travelogue Writing Skills: Novice
Photography: Car Dash-cam & a very old Smartphone

This Good Friday, we went on a super exciting, and absolutely unplanned road trip to Manas National Park (MNP). This park is located in India-Bhutan border and one of the few tiger reserves/ tiger sanctuaries in India. The very special thing about Manas is that the forest is shared between India and Bhutan. The part belonging to Bhutan is called the Royal Manas National Park. I had heard about it a lot, but it was going to be my first visit.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-intro.jpeg

Also this is going to be my first travelogue in Team-BHP. So people, get ready and fasten your seatbelts!! This one is going to be a long, elaborate narrative.


Introduction


We are a young couple just starting out life. We are fun loving and adventurous, but recently we got badly trapped in the rat race. Life was revolving between job in the weekdays and our startup in the weekends, with little time available for the thing that I am so passionate about: travelling.

I knew in my heart that we desperately require intermediate breaks in between. But our schedules made it so difficult. A little voice was screaming inside me: "This is not what drives you. You need to explore and do what you love once again." I don't know what that voice was looking for, but a road trip definitely made sense.

Needed to break the cycle.


Breaking the "Cycle": I told my wife that we deserve a break and need to go somewhere to take a breath of fresh air. Good Friday was near. "So this Good Friday it is, when we are breaking free", I told her jokingly. She reluctantly agreed.

Funnily, I didn't know where to go. There were travel restrictions to nearby hill stations like Shillong, Cherrapunjee etc due to Covid-19. Sikkim was too far for a weekend roadtrip. So I was left with options within the state itself.

Next task was to gather some friends for my "breakthrough" 2 day road trip. Failed miserably here. If you have recently turned 100% workaholic what can you expect your social circle to be like? They were all busy with commitments for the weekend and so I finally decided we'll go all by ourselves, husband and wife that is.



The day of the trip:


Where to stay: Many resorts have now come up along the border of Manas. Look at the huge number of blue dots:

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There is a government owned IB inside the jungle, but it was not available for public because the Chief Justice of India was supposedly arriving for holidays. A resort named "Musa" seemed good:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-musa.jpg

But since it was weekend, all rooms were booked. Finally, I was able to book a cottage in a newly started resort called "Wild Tiger Resort" in the far end of the road. Not a great one, but will do the job. All set to go now.


Journey Starts: We packed our bags and started late in the morning. The travel itself was not going to take long. Plan was to take it slow and enjoy the journey. Missus got some snacks and we put on a playlist. The roads from Guwahati to Barpeta is a fantastic four lane highway and it is always a relaxing drive:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-goodroads.jpeg

To our utter dismay, we realised that we left our camera at home! A trip to a wild life park, and no camera? How is my smartphone camera supposed to zoom into the distant animals? So, dear reader, as you have guessed by now, only pictures in this narrative are either from dash-cam or smartphone.



Map or no map?


We continued ahead for almost 2 hours on the highway. Google maps was showing a different route and was persistently prompting to take a diversion from the highway. However we decided to trust our instincts continued to follow the highway route instead:

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However, not following Google led us to this mess: On taking the main highway route, we had to pass through a small town where lots of construction was going on. We were delayed by more than 1 hour negotiating through this space:

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We now understood why Google had been showing the alternate route instead of the main route. Decided to trust Google more. Finally we found good roads and we were making good progress.Kept on following Google with full confidence.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-good-roads-2.jpeg

Little did I realise that Google had some tricks up its sleeve. GMaps took us to a road that we should NOT have taken:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-detour1.jpeg


We didn't realise our mistake till now. We were mesmerised by the evening sun by the Manas River.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-manasriver.jpeg

Got down to enjoy the view.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mansr1.jpegTo Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mansr2.jpeg


We took some time there, and it was getting late. We had overshot our time by one and half hours already. Soon it will be getting dark. Decided not to delay further and move ahead.

Last edited by BhaskarG : 30th April 2021 at 19:18.
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Old 30th April 2021, 14:39   #2
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Road or no road?


A nasty surprise was waiting for us. The road came to an abrupt end.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-no-road-bank.jpeg

We consulted local people as we had done earlier. I was reluctant to turn back after coming so far. One of them suggested a detour, that will enable us to bypass the roadblock. "The condition of the road is little bad", he said. "How bad? will my car go?", I asked. "Local tempos come and go", he said.

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It was getting late. So decided to trust him and take the detour instead going all the way back to the alternate road. The road that we drove into:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-detour2.jpeg


Mud, mud all the way: Soon enough, we came across what I feared. I was not sure if the Little City Hatch that I was driving will make it through this. It was risky diving into this with a front wheel drive car. I was nervous and a bit scared, but But then I saw a tempo coming and making it through easily. Also, there were people nearby and would surely help if required. Plunged into it.

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More and more mud was coming our way as we drove along. Luckily, the sides were dry, and I tried to move to the side whenever the road allowed:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mud2.jpeg


Finally, the sides were dry enough to drive through. A sigh of relief!!

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mud3.jpeg


I could see the main road again. Oh, the joy of seeing the main road! Literally, a ray of hope. Thank you God, this adventure is over.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-road-again.jpeg


Back on road: All this for trusting Google Maps more, and consulting local people less. Lesson to take home. Soon we were cruising along nicely. Saw this sign and was so relieved:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-ray-hope.jpeg




Finally at Manas:



We are more than 2 hours late due to our mis-adventures. Finally we arrived. Excitement at its peak. Lovely place it is:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-arrived.jpeg


Tea gardens had always attracted me. I had spent my childhood in a big garden. Just look how lovely the surrounding gardens are:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-teagarden.jpeg


The resort: This road takes you to our resort. Small road amidst tall trees on both sides. To the right side is the National Park. Note the electric fence to keep the wild animals from venturing out:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-resort-road.jpeg

It was late by the time we arrived. This resort has a very rustic theme, which I liked:

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After my exhausting adventures, I took a long bath. And a relaxing cup of evening tea:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-resorttea.jpeg


We had a nice dinner and wound up for the day soon. We had to get up early for the Jeep Safari tomorrow morning.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-resort-entry.jpeg

Last edited by BhaskarG : 30th April 2021 at 17:15.
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Old 30th April 2021, 16:25   #3
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Day Two!!


We got up early morning for the Jeep Safari. You can do the following activities if you plan to visit Manas:
  1. Elephant Safari (Govt, costs less than 1k)
  2. Jeep Safari (private partnership, costs around 3k)
  3. River rafting (Govt costs arount 6k)
  4. Sightseeing and picnic

I wanted to do rafting, but it did not materialise. Settled for safari instead.

We got a Maruti Gypsy for the safari. These are auctioned vehicles purchased from the army and modified as a safari vehicle. There are around 100 of them in Manas. This image is for representation purpose only:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-gypsy.jpg


Back to our safari. The electric fence separating Manas from the rest of the world:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-electric-fence.jpeg

We ventured in, and we were lucky enough to see many animals, but not lucky enough to see a tiger, though. Since I did not have a camera, I could not capture much wild life. Here are some cool pictures from the safari for your viewing pleasure:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-safari.jpegTo Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-rhino.jpeg
To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-peacock.jpeg
To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-deer.jpeg

At the far end of the Indian side of Manas, lies the Manas river. By the the Manas river is a place called Mathanguri, which was our destination. There are 2 government IB's at this place, but was reserved for CJI, as I mentioned earlier. River rafting starts from this point.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mathanguri-rafting-point.jpeg


Now, there is a very peculiar phenomenon about this place. See the trees in the picture below? these trees produce a loud whistling noise. Also resembles the sound of a large waterfall sometimes. As we approached this place, found this really interesting. It turns out that the place is really windy, and is more windy high up at the height of these tall trees. The wind produce the whistling sound. You should experience it once.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mathanguri-woods.jpeg


Bhutan is at the other side of the river. I really love this shot:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-mathanguri-river.jpeg


See the International boundary?

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-indobhutan.jpeg


After enjoying the serenity of the place, we returned back:

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-safari2.jpeg


It was a day well spent. Manas excites you, it gives you an adrenaline rush. and Manas also calms you down with its serene peaceful environment. Loved every bit of our journey- the mis-adventures the day before, and the extreme sense of bliss that followed the day after. Now it was time to bid goodbye to this beautiful place with lots of memories in our hearts.

To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!-sunset-mirror.jpeg

Dear BHPians, if you happen to like my effort, please let me know. I will be encouraged to write more. Also, please do place any genuine feedback that will help me improve in the future.

Last edited by Aditya : 1st May 2021 at 05:58. Reason: Social media link deleted
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Old 1st May 2021, 05:59   #4
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Default re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 1st May 2021, 11:59   #5
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Stop underestimating your capability as a writer and as a smartphone photographer! Darn good, especially the peacock and rhino shots. I could feel as though you are telling this story with you sitting in front of me. Loved this
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Old 1st May 2021, 12:24   #6
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Wow! The forest looks great, and in these times, this is a refreshing change from what's happening around us. I am sure you had a good time there. If we keep aside tigers for a moment, we realize that there are so many things that you can see in a jungle. Please post more pictures of the park (if you have).

When the Covid-19 daily cases were reducing in February, we(my wife and I) had made so many plans to visit at-least one national park with our son, but here we are stuck in Pune, with no options in sight until next year!
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Old 1st May 2021, 13:24   #7
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Refreshing and put together in a simple and easy to read manner.
Loved the serenity of the place from your photos! Would love to visit!
Thanks for sharing the beauty of the place through your travelogue!
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Old 1st May 2021, 17:24   #8
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BhaskarG View Post

Road or no road?


A nasty surprise was waiting for us. The road came to an abrupt end.

Mud, mud all the way: I was nervous and a bit scared, but But then I saw a tempo coming and making it through easily. Also, there were people nearby and would surely help if required. Plunged into it.
The saying goes Fortune favours the brave and it seems it applied to you
Quote:
Tea gardens had always attracted me. I had spent my childhood in a big garden. Just look how lovely the surrounding gardens are:
A Beautiful pic. As a kid, I too had the pleasure of a few breakfasts at a Tea Estate in Limuru Kenya. Over 50+ years ago. Seeing this brought some memories flooding back and my unfulfilled desire of seeing either one in Assam or on my bucket list Darjeeling.
Quote:
It was late by the time we arrived. This resort has a very rustic theme, which I liked:
Looking at this nice vivid shot of the lantern reminded me of a Rajesh Khanna film Ajnabee (if memory serves me right) a great walk down memory lane yet again.
Quote:
Now, there is a very peculiar phenomenon about this place. See the trees in the picture below? these trees produce a loud whistling noise. Also resembles the sound of a large waterfall sometimes. ...the wind produce the whistling sound. You should experience it once.
This narrative might as well be by a renowned and well versed and travelled author it conjures up a vision of romance and intrigue worthy of exploration.
These two pics are so beautifully captured especially the rearview shot (without the phone reflected) it is akin to riding off into a sunset.
Quote:
Dear BHPians, if you happen to like my effort, please let me know. I will be encouraged to write more. Also, please do place any genuine feedback that will help me improve in the future.
So young man all I can say is that the travelogue and contents are excellent and descriptive of the purpose it serves i.e. of a beautiful journey interspersed with pictures bringing cheer and lifting of spirits in an otherwise gloomy situation, the country is under.. The only thing I'd like to add is was a short narrative on the quality of the interiors and comforts of the resort including its menu.
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Old 1st May 2021, 19:02   #9
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Wonderful, hope to read more of your travels
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Old 1st May 2021, 23:54   #10
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Thank you all for so much encouragement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Please post more pictures of the park (if you have).
Sure, will post if I have. Need to check. Most of them are almost duplicates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramsi View Post
T The only thing I'd like to add is was a short narrative on the quality of the interiors and comforts of the resort including its menu.
Thank you so much for the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoyle View Post
Wonderful, hope to read more of your travels
More coming up. Very soon!
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Old 2nd May 2021, 11:27   #11
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Wonderful travelogue of a beautiful park. Thanks for sharing
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Old 2nd May 2021, 20:15   #12
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Your travelogue is a refreshing change for those of us who cannot travel physically right now, as we join you on your journey in our mind. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd May 2021, 13:38   #13
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Default Re: To Manas National Park in a little city hatch!

Neat little write up Bhaskar. I travelled to Manas with family mid March and we had a nice time in Musa. Will share that soon.
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