Assam Wildlife Trail

Assam Road Trip

Top Destinations of North East India – Assam

The state of Assam is situated in the Central part of North East India sharing its border with 6 states of North East India. is known for its rich and diverse wildlife, amazing traditional cuisine, vibrant dance forms and its hospitality. Favourite among the travellers all over the world, Assam is so much more than a mere tourist destination.. The state capital Dispur in Guwahati City is called as the Gateway and commercial hub of North East India. Its population is a confluence of streams of different races and tribes like the Mangoloids, the Aryans, Negroids, Indo-Burmese and Indo-Tibetans. They have enriched each other and have evolved to give a distinctive identity to the Assamese people.

Places to visit in Assam

Guwahati.... the Gateway to North east India

Situated on the bank of mighty Brahmaputra and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, Guwahati city is called as the Gateway to North east India. A sprawling metropolis and the largest and most cosmopolitan city in India’s Northeastern region, with a population of over a million people, Guwahati is the largest city in all of the eight northeastern states. In fact, Assam’s capital, Dispur, is nothing but an administrative annexe that lies within the city of Guwahati. It is very well connected to all the capital of other Northeastern region by Air, rail and road. The main tourist attractions in Guwahati are Kamakhya Temple, Assam State Museum, Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra, Science Museum, Dighalipukhuri Historical Tank, The Assam State Zoo etc. The ancient pilgrimage site of Hajo and Madan Kamdev, the ruins of a temple complex, lie nearby. 
The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI) is located at Borjhar around 20 km from the centre of the city. There are 2 railway junction namely Guwahati Junction at Paltan Bazar and Kamakhya Junction at Maligaon. 

Tezpur... the city of eternal love

Situated between the snow capped mountains of the Eastern Himalayas and verdant hills, on the North bank of the River Brahmaputra, is the ancient city of Tezpur. Tezpur translates to the ‘City of Blood’, resulting from the legend of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva waging an epic battle with each other here, that turned the place into a river of blood. The present city, which was once the headquarter of the British administration in undivided Assam, is today known for its scenic beauty, verdant parks, pristine lakes, ancient temples and colonial buildings. It is accepted as the cultural capital of Assam. It is also a gateway for travellers heading to Arunachal Pradesh. 

Tezpur has several ancient temples and archaeological ruins in and around the city. Among them the Mahabhairab Shiva Temple, Parbatia gate and Bamuni Hills which dated back to 6th century CE, Agnigarh Hills, Chitralekha Udyan which was formerly called Cole Park was originally laid by the British administration in 1906, Padum Pukhuri- a large lake set amidst manicured gardens, Kanaklata Udyan, British era Dak Bunglow (old post office) which now houses the district museum, Church of Epiphany built by American Missionaries etc. 
The Tezpur airport is only 12 kms away from the city and from Guwahati it is connected by road of only 180 kms away. 

Sivasagar…!! The ruins of Mighty Ahoms

Ruled around 600 years in Assam, the mighty Ahoms came to Assam in 1228 AD from South East Asia with a leadership of Sukapha who was a Shan prince. During their regime, that Assam saw a kind of cultural renaissance; in areas of arts, religion, literature, music, drama and philosophy. Sivasagar was the Capital of this dynasty. Before Sivasagar, Charaidew was the first Capital of Ahom dynasty where around 42 burial mounds of Ahom kings is observed. The practice of burying the dead was common amongst the Shan people from whom the Tai-Ahoms traced their descent. 

Sivasagar got its present name from Sivasagar Tank, literally, big lake, excavated by the Ahom queen Ambika. Main attraction in Sivasagar are: Shiva Dol (Temple, one of the loftiest Shiva temple in India), Vishnu Dol, Devi Dol, Tai Museum which houses textiles and other artfacts like swords, manuscripts, goblets etc belonging to Ahom kings and their people. Next is Jaisagar Tank, covering 318 acres, the largest man made tanks in India. 

Rang Ghar, is a unique amphitheatre from which the Ahom kings and nobles witnessed games like buffalo fights specially during Rongali Bihu. Close to Rang ghar, on the banks of river Dikhow is Talatal Ghar and was the defence headquarter of those days. Another Ahom palace is located at Garhgaon, about 15 kms from Sivasagar town which was four storeyed for the royal families. 

Manas National Park... in the foothills of Bhutan Hills

Situated in the Western most part of Assam, Manas National Park became a reserve forest in the year 1928, declared a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1973 and eventually made a National Park in 1990. The area of this National Park was once the hunting ground of Royals. It is home to Tigers, Elephants, Wild Buffalos and Gaur apart from Sambar and Swamp deer. The park mostly comprises eastern Himalayan moist mixed deciduous forest which is at places dense enough. In 2002, the Manas Park was designated as the core zone of the Buxa-Manas Elephant Reserve under Project Elephant. The forest, however, extends much further into neighbouring Bhutan, where it is known as the Royal Manas Park. The Mathanguri point which is inside the core area, through which the river Manas enters India from its source in Bhutan. 
Best Time to Visit: October to Last week of April. 
About the Area: Covering an area of around 321 Sq Km, the park altogether encompasses over 2,830 sq km. 
Accessibility: Nearest airport is Guwahati International Airport (150 Kms). and is 
Location from nearest City: NW of Guwahati, 155 Km. 
Things to do: Elephant back safari, Jeep Safari, River Rafting, Village walk. 

Dibru Saikhowa National Park

Situated in Eastern Part of Assam of Tinsukia Districts, the Dibru Saikhowa National Park houses numerous species of endangered mammals, reptiles and birds. Records show that over 25% of India’s threatened bird species have been found here, which accounts to above 500 in number. Spread over an area of 340 sq km, touching Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district it is also an IBA (Important Bird Area) site. The National Park had become the ninth biosphere out of a total 18 across in India. It was declared as the National Park in the year 1999. 
For the wildlife lovers, it is also home to nearly 50 ferral horses which can be spotted in the Northern part of the park at called Churkey Chapori. The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra river, Lohit river and Arunachal Hills, making for beautiful and verdant surrounds. There are mainly 2 entry gates, Guijan Ghat which is 10 kms away from Tinsukia Town and Saikhowa Ghat which is 50 kms from Tinsukia Town. 
Inside the Park, it is possible to explore the two villages i.e. Dhadia and Laika and see how the locals live. Apart from that, one can avail attractive boating by local villagers at Maguri Motapung Beel (lake) for Birdwatching during afternoon. 
Best Time to Visit: Although accessible round the year, the best time to visit this park is from Nov to April mid. 
About the Area: Covering an area of around 340 Sq Km, the park is a riverrine national park. 
Accessibility: Nearest airport is Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (40 Kms). 
Location from nearest City: NE of Tinsukia, 10 Kms. 
Things to do: Boat safari, Jungle Trek and village visit.

Guwahati

Situated on the bank of mighty Brahmaputra and the foothills of the Shillong plateau, Guwahati city is called as the Gateway to North east India. A sprawling metropolis and the largest and most cosmopolitan city in India’s Northeastern region, with a population of over a million people, Guwahati is the largest city in all of the eight northeastern states. In fact, Assam’s capital, Dispur, is nothing but an administrative annexe that lies within the city of Guwahati. It is very well connected to all the capital of other Northeastern region by Air, rail and road. The main tourist attractions in Guwahati are Kamakhya Temple, Assam State Museum, Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra, Science Museum, Dighalipukhuri Historical Tank, The Assam State Zoo etc. The ancient pilgrimage site of Hajo and Madan Kamdev, the ruins of a temple complex, lie nearby. 
The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport (LGBI) is located at Borjhar around 20 km from the centre of the city. There are 2 railway junction namely Guwahati Junction at Paltan Bazar and Kamakhya Junction at Maligaon. 

Kaziranga… Untamed Treasure of Rhinoceros


Kaziranga, a National Park as well as a World Heritage Site is the pioneer of Wildlife Tourism Industry in North East India. Situated in the heart of geographical boundary of the North East region and in the floodplains in the valley of the Brahmaputra, it is abode of “BIG FIVE” as well as nearly 500 species of Birds. Explored as Reserve Forest in 1905 under British domain, Kaziranga now has the 70% of World’s One Horned Rhinoceros population and is a Tiger Reserve with Highest Density in India.

Locals claim that before the inception of the park in the early 1900s very few rhinos inhabited this area. Kaziranga in the language of the Karbi tribe, means ‘where the mountain goat has water’. It was a swampy, almost inaccessible wetland, used as hunting grounds by local tribes and shikaris upto 1905, when the British Government, under Lord Curzon, proposed to declare it a reserve forest. This declaration was finalised and the area officially closed for shooting in 1908. In 1950, it was declared a wildlife sanctuary and in 1974, Kaziranga was given its current status as a National Park. Declared a World heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, Kaziranga is internationally acknowledge for its importance as one of the last undisturbed habitats of the Great One Horned Rhinoceros.

Best Time to Visit: 1st November to 30th April
About the Area: Covering an area of around 480 Sq Km, it stretches around 63 kms East to West with the Brahmaputra as its Northern Boundary. It is demarcated into 4 main tourist ranges- Kohora or Central Range, Bagori or Western Range, Agaratoli or Eastern Range and Burhapahar Range.
Accessibility: Nearest airport Jorhat (115 Kms), Tezpur ( 110 Km), Guwahati International Airport (230 Kms)
Location from nearest City: 110 Km W of Jorhat, 110 Km S of Tezpur and 200 Km NE of Guwahati City.
Things to do: Elephant back safari, Jeep Safari, Boating, Jungle trail (specified area)
Apart from Wildlife, a lesser known fact about Kaziranga National Park is that it is also a Birdwatchers paradise. It is second only to Corbett National Park in the diversity of Bird population that is found here.





Manas National Park... in the foothills of Bhutan Hills

Situated in the Western most part of Assam, Manas National Park became a reserve forest in the year 1928, declared a Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger in 1973 and eventually made a National Park in 1990. The area of this National Park was once the hunting ground of Royals. It is home to Tigers, Elephants, Wild Buffalos and Gaur apart from Sambar and Swamp deer. The park mostly comprises eastern Himalayan moist mixed deciduous forest which is at places dense enough. In 2002, the Manas Park was designated as the core zone of the Buxa-Manas Elephant Reserve under Project Elephant. The forest, however, extends much further into neighbouring Bhutan, where it is known as the Royal Manas Park. The Mathanguri point which is inside the core area, through which the river Manas enters India from its source in Bhutan. 

Best Time to Visit: October to Last week of April. 
About the Area: Covering an area of around 321 Sq Km, the park altogether encompasses over 2,830 sq km. 
Accessibility: Nearest airport is Guwahati International Airport (150 Kms). and is 
Location from nearest City: NW of Guwahati, 155 Km. 
Things to do: Elephant back safari, Jeep Safari, River Rafting, Village walk. 

Nameri National Park

Situated in North bank of Brahmaputra River in Sonitpur District in the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh, Nameri is famous for Bird watchers. Declared as National Park in 1998, the flora here consists of semi evergreen, moist deciduous forests with small stretches of open grasslands along rivers. During the April month, the blooming of Orchids is seen here. Divided by Jia Bhoroli River (which is called Kameng River in Arunachal Pradesh), Nameri is a Tiger reserve, home of many wild elephants as well as Birding paradise of around 400 species of Birds. Among them the endangered White Winged wood Duck is spotted here. There are only about 1,000 of these ducks left in Northeast India. Safaries such as Elephant or Jeep is not there but there are a number of ways to explore the park- be it by boat or simply on foot, which is the best for Birding. There are also have an option of River rafting in Jia Bhoroli. Nature walk or Treks through the Jungle and over dry riverbeds will leave you feeling like a wilderness explorer.
The wildlife enthusiasts also can visit the Pigmy Hog Breeding Centre which is located close to the Eco Camp.
Best Time to Visit: November to Last week of April.
About the Area: Covering an area of around 203 Sq Km, the park lies on the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh.
Accessibility: Nearest airport is Tezpur (25 Kms) Guwahati International Airport (150 Kms). and is
Location from nearest City: N of Tezpur 40 Kms, NW of Guwahati, 155 Km.
Things to do: Jungle Trek and village visit.

Dibru Saikhowa National Park

Dibru Saikhowa National Park
Situated in Eastern Part of Assam of Tinsukia Districts, the Dibru Saikhowa National Park houses numerous species of endangered mammals, reptiles and birds. Records show that over 25% of India’s threatened bird species have been found here, which accounts to above 500 in number. Spread over an area of 340 sq km, touching Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district it is also an IBA (Important Bird Area) site. The National Park had become the ninth biosphere out of a total 18 across in India. It was declared as the National Park in the year 1999.
For the wildlife lovers, it is also home to nearly 50 ferral horses which can be spotted in the Northern part of the park at called Churkey Chapori. The park is bounded by the Brahmaputra river, Lohit river and Arunachal Hills, making for beautiful and verdant surrounds. There are mainly 2 entry gates, Guijan Ghat which is 10 kms away from Tinsukia Town and Saikhowa Ghat which is 50 kms from Tinsukia Town.
Inside the Park, it is possible to explore the two villages i.e. Dhadia and Laika and see how the locals live. Apart from that, one can avail attractive boating by local villagers at Maguri Motapung Beel (lake) for Birdwatching during afternoon.
Best Time to Visit: Although accessible round the year, the best time to visit this park is from Nov to April mid.
About the Area: Covering an area of around 340 Sq Km, the park is a riverrine national park.
Accessibility: Nearest airport is Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (40 Kms).
Location from nearest City: NE of Tinsukia, 10 Kms.
Things to do: Boat safari, Jungle Trek and village visit.

Chandubi Eco Tourism Site

Only 2 hours journey from Guwahati city, Chandubi Eco Tourism Site is truly a destinations for nature lovers. Located at the foot of Garo Hills, it is a quiet, calm, peaceful place covered by deep forests, small and distinct villages and attractive eco tourism destinations. The Chandubi lake, The Jaraimukh Rabha Tribal village, jungle trail, boating, Bird watching, Camp fire, night Camping are the main attractions. The local people has taken steps towards community based Eco Tourism initiative.


Majuli River Island….!! The hotbed of Assamese culture

Majuli, among the largest freshwater riverine island in the World, is surrounded by mighty Brahmaputra and hence the name Majuli meaning ‘in the middle’. This is where the 15th Century saint and fountainhead of Assamese culture, Srimanta Sankardeva, first established a Satra or Neo Vaishnavite monastery. Apart from that, this island is also home to the Mishings, the Deoris and the Sonowal Kacharis and other Assamese races. A walk through the villages of Majuli is highly recommended to savor the warmth of the people and their simple way of life. Most of them practice agriculture, fishing and weaving. Majuli also has exciting bio diversity. If the visit timed right, one can spot many rare and endangered avifauna species here. The treasures of Majuli are undoubtedly its Vaisnavite Satras. The first satra was set up by Sankardeva and Madhabdeva together but now no longer extant. Subsequently, Majuli became the centre of 65 such Satras. Of these, 31 survive today.

The Satras are not just monasteries, but centers of traditional performing arts. The songs and dances initiated by Sankardeva such as Borgeet, Bhatima, Jumura, Chali, Paalnam, Satriya dance etc are taught and promoted here, apart from numerous other crafts of which mask making is particularly significant.

The most visited Satras are:

Auniati Satra, house of Assamese artfacts, utensils, jewellery and handicrafts. Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh satra, Kamalarbari which is a centre of Art, literature, culture and classical studies. The finest boats on the island is made here. Bengenati satra, the gold raiment here belonging to the Ahom king, Swargadeo Godadhar Singha, is preserved here. The Shamaguri Satra is famous worldwide for its mask making tradtion.

The Buddhist Tribal Pockets of Upper Assam……!!

Distributed in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Upper Assam, there is still presence of some tribes which belong to Buddhists who are believer of the Hinyana sect of Buddhism. Though their population is very few but they are still maintaining their own ethnic cultures and other rituals.

Among them:

Khamti Tribe: The Khamti tribe is a sub group of the Shan people found mainly in Burma and Arunachal Pradesh. However a small number of this community can be found in Assam (Tinsukia District) also. They pray every morning in their rooms and provide offerings of flowers and food. Like any other Buddhist they are peace loving people.

Singpho Tribe: Though major hubs of Singpho tribe are exist in China and Myanmar, it is seen in Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and near about 25,000 numbers is still seen in Tinsukia district, Upper Assam too, presently known as Dehing Patkai region. This Mongoloid tribe was the first to discover the process of tea cultivation in India. They taught the process to the British, who then grew the Indian tea trade exponentially without giving the Singpho community their due credit. Like Khamti they also follow Buddhism and Animism is also widely followed in this community. Agriculture is main source of income and tea is widely planted.

Tai Phake Tribe: Tai-Phake is among the 6 Tai races residing in Tinsukia Districts of Assam, who migrated to Assam during year 1775. From then, for around 75 years, they were roaming for a permanent settlement. Ultimately they settled in Dibrugarh district, near Naharkatia on the bank of river Burhi dehing river and established ‘Namphake village’ and ‘Tipam Phake village’ and rest settled in Tinsukia district near Margerita sub division. From then they have been living permanently there and their literature, culture and society started flourishing in various aspects. Tai Phake people are strict followers of Buddhism and falls under the category of Hinayana sect. In each village they establish a Buddha Bihar where Buddha images made of brass are installed and regular prayers are offered by monks(known as Chow Moun) and the villagers.

Tangsa Tribe: Tangsa, this Mongoloid Naga tribe who resides near Lekhapani, Dehing Patkai region, apart from Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. They migrated from South-West China Province of Yunan through Burma and setteled in this region in the beginning of 13th century. The Tangsas are socially organised and hospitable. Like other tribes, they also live in 'Chang Ghar' made of wood, bamboo and jengpat(a kind of large leaf). They have joint family system. Every Tangsa village has a headman called 'Keang Walang' who commands tremendous respect from villagers in every aspect of their lives.

Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary

The Hoollongapar Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary is an isolated protected area of evergreen forest located in Jorhat District of Assam. The forest is surrounded by Tea Gardens and covering an area of 20.99 sq km. The sanctuary is named after the only Ape (Hoolock Gibbon) found in India. It houses seven out of only 15 species of Apes in India. Its main attraction are - the Hoolock Gibbon numbering about 106, Stump Tailed Macaque, Pig Tailed Macaque, Capped Langur, Slow Lorris, Rhesus Macaque, Assamese Macaque some species of Birds, Wild Boar, Cat species other animals. Though the area is small the bio diversity is good enough.
The nearest town and airport is Jorhat which is only 26 Kms. It is also recognised as IBA (Important Bird Area) site. Best time to visit this sanctuary is during Winter. To see the wildlife the best mode is on walk.

Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary

Covering an area of only 38.8 sq km which is only 60 km away from Guwahati city, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is the heighest density of One Horned Rhinoceros is situated in Morigaon district of Assam. There are around 80 Rhinoceros that can be seen easily around, other collection of wildlife includes Asiatic Buffalo, Leopard, Wild Bear, ciovet cat etc and good collection of migratory Birds.
Best mode of see the wildlife is Elephant safari, Jeep safari etc. Best time to visit this sanctuary is from Nov to April.