North-east India is truly a traveler's paradise. The beauty of Himalayan range, sunrays glittering in the fast-flowing rivers, royal palaces reflecting the tradition of various states and ancient pilgrimages carrying the messages of Gods make the North-eastern states popular tourist spots. The unrivalled beauty of Assam has beckoned travelers since ages. Among many attractions of this beautiful state, Manas National Park deserves special mention.
Lying on the foothills of the Himalayas Manas National Park, also known as Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site. A part of the park extends in Bhutan which is known as the Royal Manas National Park. Being a Project Tiger Reserve and an elephant reserve, this park is very important as a tourist attraction not only in Assam but also in the country.
You might think that this national park is like other any other park. But the stunning pristine beauty of the park makes it different from other parks. The dazzling beauty of the Manas River makes this biosphere reserve so attractive. Coming down the Bhutan Hills Manas River flows through the heart of the national park thus making it look like a diamond worn by a beautiful princess.
The Manas River flows through the park; so it plays a significant role in making the park so beautiful. This park got its name from the name of the river. The name of the river is derived from the name of the serpent goddess 'Manasa'.
Area and location:
This park which displays a wide range of rare and endangered endemic wildlife is spread over 950 sq km. It is situated in the north bank of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan lies in its north, North Kamrup District on the south and the buffer forest reserves surrounds it both on the east and west.
The Manas National Park was declared as a sanctuary on 1st October, 1928 and as a world heritage site in December1985. In 1937 the tiger reserve was created. It had been subject to many terrorist activities and heavy poaching in the past.
Flora and fauna:
The Burma Monsoon Forests of Manas is part of the Brahmaputra Valley. Some 543 plant species can be found on the core zone of the national park. There are many types of vegetation. Among them the main are -
- East Himalayan mixed Moist and Dry Deciduous forests
- Assam Valley Semi-Evergreen Alluvial Grasslands
- Sub-Himalayan Light Alluvial Semi-Evergreen forests
- Low Alluvial Savanna Woodland
From the vegetation we can take a glimpse of the wildlife. With a record of 380 species of bird, 50 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibian and 55 of mammals, it has become one of the most significant national parks in India.
It also displays Indian Rhinoceros, Assam Roofed Turtle Kachuga Sylhetensis, Asian Golden Cat, Hoolock Gibbons, Golden Langur Presbytis Geei, Hispid Hare Caprolagus Hispidus, Sambar Deer, Slow Loris, Pygmy Hog Sus Salvanius and the only pure strain of Asiatic Wild Buffalo Bubalus Arnee.
380 species of birds in Manas include Bengal Florician, Jungle Fowls, Brahminy Ducks, Egrets, Bulbuls, Bee-Eaters, Gray Hornbills, Herons, Greater Adjutant, Black-tailed Crake, Pied Harrier, Rufous-rumped, etc.
Oodles of tourists visit this place; so there is no problem for accommodation. If you want to reside inside the park, Mothanguri which is a forest department bungalow would be the right choice for you. You can also stay at the park entrance in Bansbari, at Kokilabari in the Eastern Range or in the facility run by the Manas Maozigendri Ecotourism Society.
Best time to visit:
The months of November to April are the best to visit this park.
How to get there:
- If you want to travel by bus then you can take buses from Guwahati that ply to Barpeta Road. It takes about 4½ hrs to reach Manas National Park.
- The nearest railhead is at Barpeta Road.
- Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Borjhar is the nearest airport. Borjhar is in Guwahati and the airport can be reached by rickshaw or auto rickshaw.
- If you want to visit the surrounding areas, you can reside in the town of Barpeta Road which is next to the park boundary and entrance.
A view of the vast wealth of wildlife and the spectacular landscapes, a trip to the Manas national park would definitely be one of the enlivening experiences in your life.