Showing posts with label Kaziranga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kaziranga. Show all posts

Friday, January 03, 2020

Second Day in Kaziranga (April 2018)

Our hotel Wild Grass was next to Central Zone. For the second day in Kaziranga, we supposed to have elephants Safari in the morning. Now there are 2 places where you can have elephant safari. The central zone is very popular, is difficult to get, The counter opens at 7 PM in the evening prior and people line up for long, there is a priority to foreign tourist. Our hotel arranged for the Western Zone. 

Elephant Ride @ Kaziranga
 As last evening we already had done our safari there, we drove in our car till the Western Gate. Reaching there we called the person who was supposed to make our booking and take us to Safari. There were hundreds of people in the early morning. We could not get the first batch of Safari as there are a limited number of elephants. There were vendors selling hot tea and other hot beverages. We spotted many birds just outside the Park gate.

These elephant rides take place at the very edge of the Park. There are only 4 people (max) allowed on each elephant. Depending on the group of tourists and their overall weight distribution the seating is arranged. Getting up on the back elephant is always fun, it is shaky and you need to adjust yourself and your legs properly. The best part of the elephant ride is it takes you very close to the rhino. The track is partly swap so you swing a lot from the back of the elephant. Photography is difficult as there are not many stable moments. The whole ride was for about 45 minutes.

Post the ride we came back to the hotel, had a big breakfast that involved freshly cooked many dishes. We walked around the property and did some photoshoots. And decided to visit the nearby Orchid & Biodiversity Park.

In the afternoon we had our second jeep safari in the central zone. We again saw many birds, elephants, rhino. It was really great. If you plan to visit Kaziranga must recommend Wild Grass for their rustic bungalow with warm hospitality.

Kaziranga - information you need to know before visiting

Kaziranga is one of the bigger National Park of India. It has three prominent zones - Central, Western and Eastern.

Central Range -- This drive covers the central region of the park. It is an ideal introduction to the park and its ecology as the route passes through the entire spectrum of habitat types prevalent in the Kaziranga area. (though Brahmaputra view is not available, a stretch of the route goes by the tributary river Difloo) There is a possibility of sighting elephants as well as the other big animals especially the swamp buffalo and of course the rhino. In the extensive short grass yards next to the wetlands the rare Swamp Deer. Swamp Deer is more endangered than the Asian one-horned rhino as far as the world population is concerned. Birding is possible in a wide range of habitats.

Western Range -- From Wild Grass, it takes 20 minutes by jeep to reach the entrance of this Range. The route traverses the southwest portion of the park. This range has maximum short grass areas and is the optimum habitat for Rhino and Water buffaloes The Dunga Tower presents a panorama of short grass edged wetland, patches of tall grassland and woodland in with such visual setting animals can be sighted in a landscape representing their appropriate habitat. Part of the drive is also through Low Alluvial Savannah Woodland. Colonization of grassland by Lagerstroemia trees can be seen.

Eastern (Agaratuli) Range --Situated towards the eastern part of the park, less frequented (we did not go there ourselves). The area is excellent for birding. Many water birds can be observed at Sohola Beel. Various woodland birds can be seen along the drive through very scenic Dillenia Swamp Forest. Elephants may be encountered, as well as Water Buffalo and Swamp Deer. Takes 30 minutes to reach from Wild Grass. Part of the route gives an idea of the Brahmaputra river (only tourist route that goes partly by the river). One can do a boat ride in the northeastern point of the Park.

The Kaziranga National Orchid & Biodiversity Park, located in Durgapur village off the National Highway(37) itself. It offers a very benign recreational activity. It is about 3 km of walkable distance from Wild Grass. Besides the outdoor orchids, the greenhouse is manned by personnel adept at orienting and interpreting the rare orchids of NE region The Park has a large array of medicinal plants as also varied species of bamboo groves. A day-long cultural program makes the place lively and a selection of folk dances of different communities and tribes of the hills and valley of Assam is continually performed. The Bamboo dance is very special. Ethnic thali having as much as 18 to 26 food items is available for lunch and early dinner. There are other exhibit areas apart from the orchid display areas in this property. Apart from the photo gallery of orchids, the exhibit areas are all evolving into a storehouse of the tangible folk cultural properties of the various communities of Assam. Diverse implements produced out of the necessities of the everyday daily life of the peasants and farmers of different regions of the Brahmaputra Valley help any visitor to understand the material folk cultural forms of the Assam area.

Burrapahar Wildlife Range, Ghorakati.  This area is part of the addition to Kaziranga National Park. Scrubland some forty years ago it was under afforestation management practice for fast-growing tree plantation but the low lying areas (now grassland ) were found uneconomical for tree planting. Part of this Range has areas having ideal wet grassland habitat attributes for transient animals from Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga management was In a search of more areas for the ecological integrity of Kaziranga NP and with this in view the Ghorakati area, as well as the hilly Kukrakata Reserve Forest, has been annexed to Kaziranga. And only a little over a decade ago has been opened to visitors. Again we have not visited this part ourselves.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Day 1 in Kaziranga - April 2018

After a good night sleep with thunders and rain, the morning was clear of rain but the sky had overcast. Without much delay, we put all our stuff in the car and head out of the resort for Kaziranga. The best thing about the resort for us its proximity to the highway. We drive on the straight highway going east. The road was divided four lanes and there was not much traffic and was cruising around 100KM/Hr.  We crossed Pobitora wildlife sanctuary just outside Guwahati.

Dining Hall - Wild Grass
We even kept a half day back up to visit Pobitora if we do not get to see much in Kaziranga. We were getting hungry as last night the dinner was quite early and did not even had tea/coffee before leaving the resort.  As we look out for a decent place to stop for breakfast we reached Anuraag Dhaba near Nagaon bypass.

We ordered two plates of breakfast. The dish was served in an authentic Bronze plate with lots of different vegetables.  The staffs were wearing traditional Assamese Mekhela Chadar. We were quite impressed with the food and service. The food was served in a very satisfactory manner and the taste was splendid. Overall, we really had a "something special" kind of experience. Please do not keep your hope too high after all it is a simple place to eat on a highway, but would recommend it for sure.

Now, as soon as we crossed Nagaon the road condition deteriorated. There was work going on to make four lanes which we are back to 2 lanes road and have to navigate traffic with caution. As we left GHY early we had plenty of time in our hand for the afternoon safari which we had planned. 

Now we had to cross the Western and Central Zone gate of Kaziranga before reaching our destination “Wild Grass”.  As we approach the turn to be taken as suggested by Google map I find a small road going inside from the highway. I did not take that road as there was no sign or anything for Wild Grass. After going 100 meters or so I ask someone local and he points back to the same road. So reluctantly I took the road which is a narrow road with stones and you see bamboo houses, some small plantation and drive like that for a 1KM.  We continue and at last, there is a sign for “Wild Grass” a small one on the fork.  But as we approach the property we just get mesmerized. It is an old colonial style big bungalow. 
One Horn Rhino

We were greeted by a warm welcome and were told we have good 2/3 hours before the safari so we can just linger around have lunch and then head out for afternoon safari.

The lunch was an authentic Assamese one   

This place is unique and the owner is the best. He was instrumental in planning this trip. He shared so many details about Kaziranga that no guidebook could have covered it better.

Soon we started for our first safari to the West Zone, in fact, we have crossed this gate while coming from Guwahati. It is almost 20/25 minutes drive Wild Grass. Once we reached the gate we had to buy tickets and pay the camera fee and all.

We were fortunate enough to spot the one-horned rhino. We spotted elephants and spotted deers. There were many birds but as a beginner, we were not very well versed with the same. We saw an Indian Roller from a close distance. Spotted Pallas Fish Eagle, Lesser Adjutant, Ruddy Shelduck, Pied Kingfisher, and others.
Lesser Adjutant

Kaziranga has very tall grass so animal sighting is mainly near the edge of wetlands and in short grass areas. Technically Swamp Deer is more endangered than the Asian one-horned rhino as far as the world population is concerned.

We headed back to the resort as the sun sets in the east, the hotel had warm snacks and tea. And once again the dinner was fabulous.

We felt like we accomplished all we had to do in Kaziranga ;) but honestly, as I write this post after so many months I find myself reliving each moment once again and wish we could have stayed there for long.

DescriptionKaziranga has very tall grass so animal sighting is mainly near the edge of wetlands and in short grass areas.