Nature’s diversity at Orang National Park: A spectacular treat

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Assam is known for the excellent wildlife in various national parks and sanctuaries. Orang National Park, one of them, is spread over an area of 79 km2. Located on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra, it is famous for its beautiful natural sceneries. It is a splendid spot for tourists to explore natural beauty and wildlife. Given its scenic excellence, it has also come to be popularly known as the Mini Kaziranga.

The wildlife found here includes the sambar, one-horned rhinoceros, barking deer, elephants, tiger etc. Orang also boasts of enchanting variety of birds like florican, water birds, teal, green pigeon etc. A large number of migratory birds are also found here. Some of them, like, the milky white pelicans belong to America.

Geographically, Orang is located on a flat land that gently slopes from north to south. The boundaries of the park on south and east comprise of river Brahmaputra’s islands and channels. The boundary on west is an artificially constructed boundary. The whole area of the park is surrounded by villages on almost all sides. Even on its south, the riverine islands have now been inhabited by human habitation. This has created a continuous biotic pressure in the national park. Alluvial flood plains of the Brahmaputra cover the entire park area.

Orang is very rich in vegetation variety. Natural forest species like dalbergia sisoo, bombax ceiba, trewia nudiflora, sterculia villosa etc. are in abundance in the park. They add to the park’s beauty and lend it a fantastic view. The park also has non aquatic species of grassland. The prominent ones are Phragmites karka, Imperata cylindrical, Arundo donax, Saccarum etc. Among the aquatic species of grass plants are Ipomea reptans, Andropogon spp, Nymphia, Enhydra flushians etc. These species are widely studied by botanist tourists and attract potential researchers as well.

Besides the great one-horned Indian rhinoceros, a dominant species at Orang, it is also a home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, hog deer, Asiatic elephant and wild boar. The small mammals like leopards, civets, porcupines and hare are also found in good numbers. It’s a joyful experience watching so many rare species of animals and birds, all in one place.

Orang boasts of well above 50 species of fish. This park is the most significant habitat to Bengal florican. Some other important birds found here are Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), Spot-billed Pelican (Pelicanus philippensis), Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus), Greater Adjutant Stork (Leptoptilos dubius), Rudy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), Wooly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus), Gadwall (Anas strepera) etc. including grassland and forest birds. Reptiles like Kachuga tecta, Lissemys punctata and snakes like cobras and pythons can be easily seen in the park.

The climate at Orang is subtropical monsoon. Temperature usually varies from 5-25º Celsius in winter and in summer usually in a range of 12-32º Celsius. This makes months from October to March the most favourable and comfortable time of the year to visit Orang. The natural beauty here blossoms at its best during these months.
Orang is well connected through road, rail and air. The nearest cities are Tezpur, almost 32 kms from the park and Guwahati, almost 140 kms from the park. Cabs on hire and buses run by Assam Tourism Corporation are easily available for tourists and ply regularly on this route.

There are numerous sprawling hotels and resorts around the park. While some of them are run by the government of Assam and some are privately held, they are all well maintained and offer excellent service. Depending upon the budget a tourist has, there are plenty of options in terms of the kind of rooms and services to choose from.

To the tourists’ delight, there are several cafes in the vicinity of the main gate. Also, local souvenirs can be bought at local markets nearby.

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

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