Dipor Bil – The vanishing wetlands

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Dipor Bil, a permanent freshwater lake, is a former channel of Brahmaputra river; situated on the Southern bank of the river and to the south – west of Guwahati city. It is one of the largest wetland in the Brahmaputra valley. Also called Deepor Beel, the lake offers tremendous tourism prospects endowed with a rich fauna and spectacular scenery. Deepor Beel’s tourism potential still remains largely unexplored and the vast wetlands are slowly diminishing due to unabated encroachment.

Spread over a total area of 40 Sq. Km of which 4.14 Sq. Km has been declared as a Bird Sanctuary by Assam Govt. in 1989. The Beel provides its natural resources directly or indirectly, for livelihood of fourteen indigenous villages around 1,700 families located in its precinct. The Beel is bounded by the steep highlands on the north and south, and the valley formed a broad U-shape with the Rani and Garbhanga hills as the backdrop. It is commonly stated that the beel together with those adjoining it are an discarded channel of the Brahmaputra river system. The Basistha and Kalmani rivers and local monsoon water are the main sources of water to the lake, between May and September. Khonajan channel drains the beel into Brahmaputra, 5 km to the north. It is a large natural wetland having great biological and environmental importance besides being the only major storm water storage basin for Guwahati city. It acts as a natural storm water reservoir during the monsoon season for the Guwahati city (stated to be the only major storage water basin for the city’s drainage.

Deepor Beel Sanctuary

The lake is a natural habitat to varieties of bird species. More than 200 species of birds including more than 70 migratory avian species are reported in the beel area. Although the beel is famous for birds, it also contains a rich varieties of other aquatic species. Since the Rani & Garbhanga Reserve Forests are nearest to this area, herd of wild elephants from the forest are often seen in the beel. Wild Asian Elephants , Leopard, Jungle Cat and the protected Barking Deer, Chinese Porcupine and Sambar are found in the beel.

It is located 13 km South West of Guwahati on the National Highway (NH 31), on the Jalukbari – Khanapara bypass, alongside its north western boundary. PWD road skirts the northern fringe of the Rani and Garbhanga Reserve Forests on the south. Also, minor roads and tracks exist in the vicinity of the beel. Country boats are available at the office for boating within the wetland. Boatmen charge between Rs 100 to 200 to sail at least for couple of hours. The Beel is about 5 km from the Guwahati Airport. There is no accommodation facility for visitors in the Beel area. But since it is a just one hour distance from the heart of the city, one can visit the sanctuary from Guwahati.


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