Amidst all its miseries if you want to feel good about India, then visiting Kaziranga National Park once in a lifetime- should be in your bucket list. With its hauntingly natural beauty, vastness and enriched population of flora and fauna- Kaziranga will remind you again that nature had blessed India boundlessly.A world heritage site, not only Kaziranga National Park attracts vast number of tourists every season, but it has also ignited authors to write books, film-makers to shoot documentaries and an eminent singer like late Bhupen Hazarika to compose lyrics about Kaziranga.If you really like wildlife, love indulging yourself into nature, and experience a thrilling jungle safari, then visit Kaziranga. Because, there is nothing else to see or do here.
How to Reach Kaziranga National Park
If you want to visit Kaziranga by air, then you need to come to Jorhat which is the nearest airport to Kaziranga. Jorhat is well-connected with cities like Guwahati, Delhi, and Kolkata via regular flights.
The closest major railway station to Kaziranga is Guwahati -which is attached with the rest of the country via major trains. Another railway station is Furkating which is 80 km away from Kaziranga. If you are coming from Guwahati, Delhi or Kolkata and wish to have the quickest route, then Furkarting should be the place.
If you are visiting Arunchala Pradesh first, and from there planning to come at Kaziranga, then you should take the bus ride from Tezpur, Assam- as it will be the easiest way for you.Other than that, major cities of Assam like Guwahati (it can take approx 6 hours), Tinsukia, Jorhat, and Dibrugarh have regular bus services to Kaziranga. The buses are of two types- both govt and private and you will get a comfortable service in exchange of a reasonable fare.Another exciting way to head towards Kaziranga via road would be- motorcycle trip. In various states of North-East India, motorbike tours are conducted for enthusiasts and adventurers. If you want to have a thrilling experience on the road, then you can visit Kaziranga from Guwahati or Kohima via a motorbike ride.
What to see
As it is mentioned earlier, only vast wildness under the sky is the only thing to watch and soak into here. There are only two ways to roam around inside the park. One is jeep safari and another is elephant safari. Though because of the high density of forest and the presence of tall, thick elephant grass; it’s better to stick to elephant safari.A habitat of world’s great one-horned rhinos, it’s wonderful and exciting to see these wonderful and heavy creatures roaming and munching grass around. Keep a binocular with you for a closer and clearer view. But remember one thing- rhinos run very fast, so don’t go near to them even for the sake of taking photographs.Kaziranga is also famous for being an important tiger reserve in the world map. But tigers are the animals with an attitude like a king. So there is very small chance that, they will come close to safari routes. But nurturing the hope and fear simultaneously to spot a tiger- is an adrenaline-pumping feeling itself.If you are a bird-lover, then Kaziranga is the right place for you. From water birds to migratory birds, from predators to scavengers- no wonder that Kazirangaa has been declared as an important bird area by birdlife international.Other than that, watching water buffalos immersing themselves into water, grazing elephants, beautiful swamp deer, and other endless species of cats, snakes, and small mammals- will preoccupy your mind and make you feel that you are touring around in some faraway African jungle.
What to eat
Keep your expectations to bare minimum when it comes to food in Kaziranga. There are very few restaurants and they serve simple, minimal food items in fairly high price. There is a place called Kohora near Kaziranga, which is located close to National Highway. It has slightly better options when it comes to food and beverages.Among them, Maihang is good restaurant for having authentic Assamese thali in a reasonable price. Green Ashiyana Resort-cum-dhaba is also a famous food-joint near Kaziranga.
What to shop for
Nothing fancy but only forest products are there for you, to buy in Kaziranga. The Mihimukh entrance of the national park sells these products. Kohora also has many shops selling handicrafts, small gift items, forest commodities etc.
Please take note that when it comes to accommodation, Kaziranga has both govt and private arrangements. In Kohora, there are many reasonably priced, nice tourist lodges that are inside the approved zone of Assam tourist department. You can go for deluxe room also, if you want it.Among the private hotels, IORA – The Retreat is possibly one of the best hotels/resorts in Kaziranga for travelers who- love to splurge on hotel services, ambience and amenities.Borgos is also a nice hotel to try for, if you are looking for 5-star comfort.Dhanshree resort is good for budget travelers.Actually, there are many other tourist lodges/ hotels / resorts in Kaziranga that are mushrooming right now, due to its potential as an internationally acclaimed national park. Do a little bit of homework before booking with any of them for your stay- depending upon your budget, proximity to the forest area, conveyance etc.
- Unleash the adventurer inside you while you are in Kaziranga.
- If you are opting for elephant safari, don’t discard the idea of jeep safari too. The latter can be also extremely thrilling and provides you with an option to have a close encounter with wild animals.
- Climb up to an observation tower for an exciting wildlife viewing experience.
- Ignore what your guide is suggesting you, in terms of your safety. Sometimes, the animals attack anyone who goes near to them without any malice, purely out of fear.So respect what your guide says.
Some info for travelers
The best time to visit Kaziranga is between November to April.The entry fees and charges for elephant and jeep safari vary for international and national tourists. Also the jeep fares may vary depending upon- which part of the park you are intending to tour around.The park opens for public at early in the morning at around 5 am and closed around 4 pm.You can enjoy elephant safari available between 5.15am to 7.30am and Jeep Safari between 7.30am to 9.30am and second one between 2pm to 3.30pm.
Kaziranga is the place which can bring us closer to the realization that nature is the best gift of god to humankind. It is not only a globally celebrated place, but Kaziranga is a retreat to detoxify your mind and body.