Nestled across the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam in India, the Kaziranga National Park is a treasure trove of fantastic beasts, birds and vegetation. It is especially famous for sheltering 70 per cent of the world's great one-horned rhinoceros with a population of about 2,500. Apart from rhinos, the park also has a high density of tigers and it was declared as Kaziranga tiger reserve in 2006.
Kaziranga Park was declared as a forest reserve in 1908 and then designated as Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary in 1950. It wasn't until 1968 that it was declared as a national park, and in the year 1985 it was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Spanning over an approximate area of 430 sq km, the landscape of the park features tall elephant grass, dense tropical forests and marshlands with four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, cutting across the park. The park is also peppered with numerous small lakes and other water bodies.
The park attracts wildlife buffs from every corner of the world, all flocking to catch sight of exotic animal species like tigers, elephants, leopards, water buffaloes, among many others. It is also home to various avifauna species and a magnificent range of plants and trees. The splendour of the sanctuary is best enjoyed and explored through Kaziranga jeep safari.
Kaziranga jeep safari
Open jeep safari takes you into the core areas of the park, deep into the wilderness and gives you the opportunity to marvel at its inhabitants. You'll come across one-horned rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer, elephants, wild buffalo and a number of other animals.
Elephant safari allows you to explore the wide biodiversity of the park on the back of a giant, yet gentle mammal. Unlike jeep safari, elephant safari gives you the opportunity to see animals in close proximity. You can get amazing pictures of the famed one-horned rhinoceros and the surrounding flora and fauna.
To promote tourism, the Kaziranga National Park is divided into four zones. They are - Central or Kohora Zone, Western or Bagori Zone, Eastern or Agoratoli Zone and the Burapahar Zone.
The Central Zone is overall the best zone for safari as it harbours a dense population of rhinos and elephants. The Western Zone also has a decent rhino population among other animals like gaurs, elephants, etc. The Eastern Zone is favoured by those who want the best chance at spotting tigers and migratory birds. Jeep Safaris are conducted in every zone while elephant Safari is arranged only in the Central and Western Zone.
What you’ll see
Along with the largest population of one-horned rhinos, a variety of other animals call this park their home. You'll find Bengal tigers, leopard, Asiatic elephants, swamp deer, water buffalos, wild boars, sloth bears, sambar, hoolock gibbons and many more exotic fauna species.
The park is a bird watchers paradise, for it boats almost 500 species of resident and migratory birds. You'll spot birds like kingfisher, hornbills, grey peacock, spotted eagle, white-fronted goose, yellow weaver, grey-headed fish eagle, rufous-vented grass babbler, cinereous vulture, Asian king vulture, Asian openbill stork, lesser adjutant and so many more. The park is recognised as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
The largest snakes in the world can also be found here, such as the reticulated python and the rock python and others like Russell's viper, common krait and the king cobra.
Where to stay
The Kaziranga National Park has no dearth of staying options in and around its region. They range from luxury resorts, hotels, cottages, homestays, lodges and camps. You can relax and rejuvenate with your family and friends in the serenity and beauty of the wilderness.
When to go
The winter season, between the months of November and February, is probably the best time to visit Kaziranga National Park. The temperature ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 25 degree Celsius and the weather is pleasant and cool. This is the ideal season for bird watching as there are many migratory birds and you'll also have a better likelihood of spotting rhinos.
The summer season, during the months of March and April, gets very hot and dry with the mercury hitting up to 37 degree Celsius. However, it drops down to almost 7 degree Celsius as the sun sets and the climate gets a little cool. This is a great season for Kaziranga jeep safari, especially if you want to catch sight of tigers, elephants and rhinos. You'll also be able to see a number of other wild animals as they gather near water bodies for a summer drink.
In the monsoon season, during the months of May through October, the park remains shut on account of the heavy rains that cause the Brahmaputra River to flood the park.
How to get there
Kaziranga National park is an important national park of India well-known for its significant rhino population and tiger reserve. Wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world come here, every year, to experience the exotic wilderness and beauty. Thus, this park is well connected to major Indian cities and can be accessed through all modes of transport.
By air: Guwahati Airport and Jorhat Airport are the two nearest airports to Kaziranga National Park, located at a distance of about 225 km and 100 km away, respectively. Both airports are well connected to most major Indian cities and Guwahati Airport also welcomes international travellers. Once at the airport, you can hire a cab, taxi or make use of state-owned or private buses to the national park.
By train: Furkating, located around 80 km away from the park is the closest railway station to Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary. It has strong railway connectivity with major railway stations in India like Guwahati, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, etc. Guwahati railway station and Jorhat railway station, two of the major railway stations of the Northeast railways are also located near the park around 200 km and 90 km away, respectively. Cabs, taxis and bus services are readily available from the station to the Kaziranga park.
By road: The main gate to the Kaziranga Park is located in a town called Kohora which lies on NH-37. Hence, Kohora is well connected with major cities in Assam like Guwahati, Jorhat, Tezpur, Nagaon, Dimapur, Golaghat, Sivasagar, etc. There are regular buses, both state-owned and private, and local transport available to travel to Kohora. The cities of Guwahati and Jorhat are connected to the rest of the country by air, road and rail and visitors can first arrive in either of these cities and then further use roadways to make their way to the park.