Manas National Park Elephant

About

There’s fresh air, the smell of trees, and an opportunity to be one with nature. Kids love animals, and adults could probably use a break from their hectic lives. 

What more convincing do you need to pack up your bags and visit a national park? Whether you are traveling to Assam, a beautiful northeastern state in India, as a family with children who are looking for some fun, or as a traveler who is simply intrigued by nature and animals, a trip to Manas National Park is a must! 

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is also a Protect Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve.

Manas National Park lies at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains and the region is one of the main biodiversity hotspots of India. 

Manas National Park area falls in six districts: Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup, and Darrang in the state of Assam in India.

Manas National Park History

The name ‘Manas National Park’ (aka Manas Wildlife Sanctuary) originates from the Manas River, named after the serpent God Manasa. This river is a major tributary of the Brahmaputra River, which passes through the heart of the national park. 

On 1st October 1928 360 sq. km area was characterized as a wildlife sanctuary. Then again between 1951 and 1955, the forest’s area was increased to 391 sq. km.

The Manas Tiger Reserve was inaugurated in 1973. Before 1928, Manas National Park was a reserve forest called Manas Reserved Forest and  North Kamrup Reserved Forest. 

This wildlife sanctuary used to be utilized by the Cooch Behar Royal facility as well as the Raja of Gauripur as a hunting reserve. In 1985, Manas National Park was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2008, the area of the national park was increased to 950 sq. km. 

Flora:

Manas National Park is home to 543 plant species and is a combination of sub-Himalayan Babar Terai and the broadleaf subtropical Himalayan forests make it one of the richest biodiversity in India.

There are also four major types of vegetation here at Manas National park: 

  • East Himalayan dry and moist deciduous forests
  • Sub-Himalayan Light Alluvial and Semi-Evergreen forests
  • Low Alluvial Savanna Woodland
  • Assam Valley Semi-Evergreen Alluvial Grasslands 

Fauna: 

Home to Assam roofed turtle, wild water buffalos, and golden langur monkey, among the many rare and endangered endemic wildlife, Manas National  Park offers innumerable activities to appreciate the diversity of the region. 

Things to do in Manas National Park

Jeep Safari

Get rare sightings of exotic species that live here. The surroundings will certainly make you fall even more in love with nature. 

The jeep safari comes in two shifts:

First shift Timings:  09:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Second shift Timings: 02:00 PM – 05:00 PM

Elephant Back safari

How exciting does this sound! Riding through the park on an elephant’s back is another interesting way to spot Manas National Park animals. 

River rafting

Here’s where you get that adrenaline rush! The 35 km ride on the slow waters of Manas River takes you through wild deciduous forests, which is home to a whole variety of birds. River Rafting at Manas National Park in Assam is a truly unforgettable experience.

Birdwatching

It’s no surprise that an area with such rich biodiversity and diverse fauna is home to hundreds of rare species of birds. Get your binoculars out and spot these exotic birds!

Village & Tea plantations visit

Within the premises of the sanctuary are some Bodo villages where small indigenous communities of Ghatigaon and Ragu Bil stay in harmony. Assam is famous for its tea plantations and you can see plenty of them just outside the park. 

Fun Facts 

  • The Manas River in Assam is considered to be the largest river system in Bhutan.
  • In 1992, UNESCO confirmed Manas National Park as a “World Heritage Site in danger” due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities. In 2011, the park was removed from UNESCO’s list of “World Heritage Site in danger” due to its effective conservation efforts.
  • 22 of India’s most threatened mammalian species have been under the protection of Manas National Park. There are nearly 60 mammalian species, 42 reptiles, 7 amphibians, and 500 bird species, of which 26 are threatened worldwide.

Best time to visit

One should ideally visit Manas National Park in Assam between November and April. There is a higher probability of spotting more fauna due to pleasant weather conditions. 

Timings

Manas National Park is open for all the visitors from 06:00 am to 03:00 pm 

Entry fees

Indian nationals would be charged Rs. 50 while foreigners would be charged Rs. 500 for a half-day trip.

A full day trip would mean an entry fee of INR 200 for Indian and INR 2,000 for foreigners. 

The Manas National park safari can be enjoyed upon hiring a jeep for a price of Rs. 3,000 (4 people, half-day) or Rs. 5,000 (4 people, full day).

How To Reach The Park

Manas National Park is located in the village of Barangabari Gyati in the district of Baksa.

By Air

The nearest airport to the park is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport located in Guwahati, around 150 km from the park. There are regular flights from major cities in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Bangalore. You can take a taxi from the airport to take you to the park. 

By Rail

The nearest railway station that is well-connected to all the major cities in India is in Guwahati. From Guwahati, you can take a train to Barpeta and then take a taxi to Manas National Park. 

By Road

Manas National park is very close to Guwahati. It is also accessible from Kaziranga (403 km.), Darjeeling (466 km.), Shillong (287 km.), and Siliguri (386 km.) by road. 

Guwahati to Manas National Park

Many people opt to travel from Guwahati to Manas National Park or from Manas National Park to Guwahati, this is because it is only a five-hour journey and only about a 176-kilometer span.

Local Transport in Manas National Park

Auto rickshaws, buses, and cabs are available which can take you from Barpeta or any other town to Manas National Park. To commute and visit spots inside the park book the Manas National Park jeep safari and elephant rides, mentioned above, in advance.

Time to start planning your trip! Manas National Park is an ideal getaway for friends and family. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you will not want to miss. Come and explore all that Manas National Park holds for you! 

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Credits:

A picture says more about a place than any writer can ever hope to do. Tour Bharat would like to thank Subhadip Choudhury, for providing us with excellent photos to share with you all!

You can also check out his Instagram @subhadipcimages

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