Kaziranga National Park, the home to two-thirds of world’s Great one-horned Rhinoceros is in the state of Assam, India. It has been given the status of World Heritage site. Besides rhinos the reserve also boasts of huge population of tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, swamp deer, wild boars and a variety of birds.
The Brahmputra river is one of the major river that cuts through this vast land which has large areas of elephant grass, marshy land and huge and dense tropical forest. The grass rises above the full-grown elephant who just tugs at it to eat while moving through it. The grass is quite rough and it bruises open skin of the elephant-rider if not careful.
There is elephant safaris and jeep safaris conducted by the forest department. And the mahout(elephant keeper) and the elephant have the perfect idea of where the rhino might be hiding in the tall grass. If the rhino stubbornly doesn’t come out of its hiding, the mahouts make the elephant trumpet which scares the poor rhino who scrambles away exposing itself to the tourists. The elephant sure knows to make its presence felt!!
Our elephant safari began at the break of dawn. We were riding a female elephant “Phoolandevi” and her son “Babu” tagged along with us. The elephant kiddo was quite a handful and kept losing sight of his mother. It then cried for its mother who would stop in her tracks and make a loud trumpet to reassure him(I guess) and waited till he caught up…
“I can see you even if you don’t see me. Now come along, I have to show rhinos to these people”
Though a little time was getting wasted but we had whole day for rhinos and we were enjoying the mother and child relationship….Nature has made all mothers like that; always fretting for the kids’ safety and pampering them no end! My daughter in fact compared herself with the calf ” I also cry when I don’t see you…. just like him and he doesn’t listen to his mom either, keeps running away.”
The part of the forest quite close to river Brahmputra is populated with tiger and is out-of-bounds for tourists. So our safari was only for rhinos, boars and deer. We spotted a few vultures which are fast dwindling in number. The vultures were there for nesting. We also found an antler but the mahouts forbade us to take it out of the reserve partly because of some locally believed ill omen and partly because it was a part of that eco system….. what was the truth behind it, they know better.
The nearest airport to reach Kaziranga are the Tezpur airport, Guwahati and Jorhat airports. There are many resorts outside the reserve who have their own safari routines. Taxis are available for to and fro journeys to nearby cities too.
For wildlife lovers and for those who want to escape from the city chaos to spend some time in the lap of nature with loud chirping of birds an occasional grunt of rhino and deafening trumpet of elephants, this is the place to be.
- Run with the Rhinos (surbi.wordpress.com)
- An Iconic Kaziranga Moment (beontheroad.com)
- Photo Of The Day ~ Friends Of Forests (greenerpasturesind.wordpress.com)
- Wildlife Photography: 3 different generations (beontheroad.com)
- Photo Of The Day ~ Rhino Land (greenerpasturesind.wordpress.com)
- Manas gets four more rhinos (thehindu.com)
- Tiger census begins in Kaziranga (greatcatsoftheworld.wordpress.com)