Kaziranga National Park
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Kaziranga National Park


Kaziranga National Park is situated in one of the "Biodiversity Hot-spots" of the world and is home to India's Big Four - the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, the Royal Bengal Tiger , the Asian Elephant, and the Asiatic Buffalo. It is also home to the largest number of Swamp Deer in eastern India. If Kaziranga National Park were not so closely identified with the rhino, it would probably have become famous as one of the finest birding destinations in the world. In addition to numerous species of resident birds, it serves as the winter visiting ground to many migratory birds. Kaziranga is located at the intersection of both the Australasian and the Indo-Asian flyways, with the result that its bird count hovers around the 500 species mark. Several of the species are found only in northeast India, while others are exclusive to the grassland habitat found inside the park. Birdlife International has identified Kaziranga National Park as an Important Bird Area (IBA) for the conservation of the avifaunal species. The birds found here include 25 globally threatened and 21 near threatened species of avifauna, an integral part of Indian Wildlife.

In India's far east, more than half of the one horned rhinos of the world roam majestically in a bio diversity hotspot called Kaziranga National Park. An UNESCO World Heritage site, Kaziranga National Park is located in the heart of Assam on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra river. Famed the world over for the presence of the one-horned rhinos, Kaziranga covers a total area of 430 Sq. Kms. Vast stretches of coarse, tall elephant grass, marshland and dense tropical forests makes Kaziranga the ideal habitat for wildlife. Abundant availability of water in the park is another advantage. Limitless poaching led to the declaration of Kaziranga as a reserve forest way back in 1908. It was upgraded to wildlife sanctuary status in 1940 and designated as a national park in the year 1974. The park celebrated its centenary in a grand manner in the early part of 2005.

Facts and figures
Location from nearby major cities
Guwahati (217 kms), Jorhat (97 kms)
Known for
One-horned Rhinoceros

Climate & the best time to visit :
Summers in Kaziranga are hot and wet while winters are cold and dry. It would be better to describe the summer season as moderate as temperatures reach a high of only about 36 degrees. Winter temperature remains in the range of 10-25 degrees. Kaziranga falls in a high rainfall zone. Light rainfall takes place for most parts of the year. The rainfall becomes heavy during the June-September monsoon period and on many occasions, river Brahmaputra has inundated large parts of the park in flood waters. The national park remains open from October to April.

Attractions in the Park

Flora : The area is mainly covered by dense and tall elephant grasses intermixed with small swamplands left behind by the receding floodwaters of the river Brahmaputra. An abundance of water lilies, water hyacinth and lotus grows in these swamplands. Large patches of semi-evergreen forests could also be seen with presence of trees like Teak, Sal, Sagon, Kadam etc. Some medicinal plants also grow here.

Fauna : More than half of the total one horned rhinos in the world inhabit the Kaziranga National Park. Apart from the Rhinos, other animals found in good numbers are Indian Elephants, Indian Bison, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer, Sloth Bears, Tigers, Leopard Cats, Jungle Cats, Otters, Hog Badgers, Capped Langurs, Hoolock Gibbons, Wild Boar, Jackal, Wild Buffalo, Pythons and Monitor Lizards. A few other species noticed in the park are Barking Deer, Sambar, Golden Langurs, Slow Loris, Pygmy Hog, Capped Langur and Bears.

Avifauna : Kaziranga National Park is also home to many species of birds. The birds found here include the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-Shouldered Kite, Black Kite, Brahminy Kite, Pallas's Fishing Eagle, White Tailed Eagle, Grey-Headed Fishing Eagle and Himalayan Griffon. Huge numbers of migratory birds also visit the park during winters. The common ones are Greylag Geese, Bar-Headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Falcated Duck, Red-Crested Pochard and Northern Shoveller.

Other Places to Visit

Tezpur : The historical town of Tezpur is not very far from the park. Tezpur preserves a lot of heritage belonging to the medieval period in the form of temples and tanks. The chief attractions of the town are Agnigarh temple, Bamuni Hills, Bhairavi and Mahabhairab temples and the twin tanks of Bar Pukhuri and Padum Pukhuri.

Sibasagar :
The erstwhile capital of the powerful Ahom rulers of Assam is also a place worth visiting. The Ahoms had built many beautiful monuments here which continue to attract tourists in large numbers. They include the Shivdol, Vishnudol, Rang Ghar, Talatol Ghar and Joysagar-the biggest man-made lake of the area.

How To Reach

By Air : Though there are small airports in Jorhat and Tezpur, the Guwahati airport located at a distance of 217 kms from the park is the most convenient. State carrier Indian Airlines and private carriers Jet and Sahara operate flights to Guwahati from many national destinations. Regular flights are available from national capital Delhi also.

By Rail : Guwahati is also the most convenient railhead. Express train services connect Guwahati with many destinations of the country. The superfast Rajdhani Express also operates between Delhi and Guwahati.

By Road : Kohora, the main entrance to the park falls on National Highway 37. The distance to Kaziranga from Guwahati can be easily covered in less than four hours with midway break either at Jokholabandha or Nagaon, both the places having good restaurants.