Manas National Park – A Nature’s retreat

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An exquisite blend of landscape and wildlife is what lends Manas National Park its charming uniqueness. From the gorges of Bhutan, the river Manas enters the Park, later splitting into two streams. It then traverses 30 km downstream through the National Park and is known as ‘Beki’.

Located at the base of beautiful foot hills of the Bhutan Himalayas in Assam, it is one of the first reserves included in the network of tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1973. In 1985, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNSCO. Later in 1989, the park was conferred the status of a Biosphere reserve. At an elevation of 85 m above mean sea level and spread across 500 km2 of core area, it is a spectacular gift of the nature.

By the virtue of its location, Manas is at the point where east and west embrace each other. Many species found here belong to the westernmost and easternmost point of their range. This has caused an exchange between the typically Indian and Malayan faunas. The most commonly found trees here are the Sissoo, Simul, Oxi, Gamari, Khaie etc. besides six hundred and fifty species of Angiosperms.

The park boasts of as many as fifty five types of mammals, fifty types of reptiles and three amphibians in its record, several species being endemic. Manas is house to twenty one of India’s Schedule I mammals and at least thirty three threatened animals. The Hispid Hare, Caprolagus hispidus, Assam Roofed turtle Kachuga sylhetensis and Pygmy Hog Sus salvanius are a few species that are only found at Manas.

The biodiversity of Manas qualifies for an ideal home to a variety of rare birds. Bengal Florican – an endangered species has its largest population at Manas. It is also a wonderful place to see the Great Hornbill bird. Around three hundred and eighty species are officially listed at the park. Besides, the adjoining hilly terrain of Bhutan also adds almost hundred types of birds to the total listed by the park.

The best time of a year to visit Manas is from November to April. Given the moderate temperature coupled with clear sky, this is the period that birds and animals in the park enjoy outdoors the most. This ensures that you have a lot of chances to see them in the wild in their most natural habitats.

Manas National Park is easily accessible through any mode of transportation. Tourists travelling by air can conveniently connect through Guwahati airport which is approximately 180 kms from the park. The drive takes almost five hours. By road, Manas is 176 kms from Guwahati. The national highway No. 31 connects Barpeta road to Bansbari which is the entry point of Manas. The drive takes almost five hours. The tourists travelling through Indian Railways enjoy a good connectivity of Guwahati from other parts of the country. The road ride from Guwahati to the park is absolutely comfortable and cabs on hire are easily available.

Staying at Manas is as enjoyable as the park itself. Tourists have a wide range of options from taking villas and resorts on rent to three bed tents, available at reasonable rates. Depending upon the number of people travelling together and the budget, tourists also have the option to take twin bed rooms in hotels and guest houses. The accommodations are approved by the Assam Tourism Corporation and are absolutely neat and safe. The food served at restaurants here is hygienic and takes care of the international taste of tourists. The local cuisines, however, are the best to savour when in Assam. The best part about the accommodation facilities is that they are all in close proximity to the park and therefore, saves the travelling time. To name a few, Musa Jungle Retreat and Grazing Rhino are highly rated by tourists for their cleanliness and service. Guides or escorts are also available in close vicinity.

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

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