A Northeast trip is always incomplete without a visit to Kaziranga National Park, home to the Indian one horned rhinoceros. Due to time constraints we planned an overnight drive to Kaziranga, do safari for the whole day and return in the evening. We started on a chilly night around 10.30 pm in a very old Travera, six of us had plenty of space to accommodate ourselves. The national highway from Guwahati to far east is a well maintained one, serving as the only gateway to the whole of the distal northeast. After an intensive chit chat and planning for the next day everyone except the driver dozed off to soft Assamese and Hindi music. We were waking up in turns just to make sure our driver had not shut his eyelid. We reached Kaziranga at 4.30 am and headed for a much needed refreshment break in one of the small hotels on the bylanes. Highway had a few basic lodges and home stays, majority of the high end resorts were situated in remote areas to give a more exotic feel. The park is open to visitors from October to April /May. Situated in the middle of the Brahmaputra valley, it is one of the wettest places in India and river waters floods the grasslands during monsoons forcing the animals to move to the mountains for rest of the year. The park remains closed during this time.
After assurance from our driver for more animal sightings we headed to the core zone. Indeed there were lots of rhinos near the large water bodies. After a drive through the jungle we finally went to the last viewpoint for a customary photo session. There were around 10 jeeps already present with 30-40 tourists roaming there taking photographs and enjoying the scenic beauty. Apart from drivers every fifth gypsy entering the park had a guide cum security. After a short photo session of the grassland with rhinos grazing around like cows, as we were getting into the gypsy I noticed movements in the bushes from the other side and in no time a mid sized beast sprang out from there. With packed crowd it kindly waited a bit after entering the scene, the tourists got excited and rushed towards the rhino to get a good view and pictures. Unfazed by the crowd it started moving in a lazy pace towards the vehicles and the forest guards had no other option but to scare it away from danger, it looked around a while and went back in the path and in a few minutes came back with another one double its size and they headed straight for the crowd.
- Guwahati to Kaziranga – 250 km on NH-37, travel time- 5-6 hours
- Reserved car for our trip – Rs 3500 /-
- Entry Free for 6 persons including park entry and cameras- Rs 2500/-.Booking can be done from respective hotels or travel agency. On spot gypsy are also available for safari.
- Best time to visit – November to April/May (before rainy season). Park is closed from May t0 October.