Manas national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in north-west Assam state of India, adjoining to Indo-Bhutan border. It is contiguous to Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan. Here in India, Manas forest covers many districts of Assam state like Baksa, Bongaigaon, Darrang, Chirang, Kokrajhar and Udalguri. This forest is often referred as “Scotland of the East”. This forest is spread over the foothills of Himalayas giving shelter of many endangered wildlife species like Pygmy Hog, One-horned Rhino, Tiger, Swamp Deers, Wild Buffalo, Golden Langur, Assam roofed turtle, Hispid hare etc. In was among first selected forest areas for Project tiger and thus Manas Tiger Reserve came into existence in year 1973-74. Later it was declared as a Biosphere reserve and covers area from Sankosh river in west to Dhansiri river in east. Its name is derived from Manas river, which flows through national park area. Beki is another important river for this forest. Manas word is derived from Hindu serpent goddess Manasa, widely worshipped in West Bengal and other north-eastern India. Earlier this forest was private hunting preserve of Cooch Behar royal family and King of Gauripur. Now a days, Manas national park remains in news due to ongoing Rhino relocation project under program called Rhino Vision 2020. Status of Manas national park in North East India tourism is high. Their are very few natural World Heritage sites in India thus it has unique place in Assam tourism.
As we know that Manas Biosphere Reserve is located on foothills of Eastern Himalayas. This region was under control of Kamarupa or Pragjyotisha kingdom and Davaka kingdom in 4th century. Later Kamrupa kingdom captured the area of Davaka kingdom also and thus they have full control over whole region till 12th century. After that, some minor kingdoms keep on controlling this region but from 16th century till 19th century, this region was under control of Ahom rulers. From 15th century, Manas national park forest was under princely state of Cooch Behar or Koch Behar and was use by its rulers for hunting expeditions. It was also prominently used for hunting sports by British India officers in which mostly tigers, wild buffaloes, leopards, rhinos, gaurs were shooted. This forest area was first declared as reserve forest in year 1907. Manas Game Sanctuary was declared on 01-Oct-1928 and after independence, in year 1950 it was declared as Manas Wildlife Sanctuary with an initial area of 360 sq.kms. Next major decision came in year 1973 when it was included in Project Tiger and thus known by the name of Manas Tiger Reserve. Later in year 1989, better recognition was given to this forest type by rewarding this forest with status of Manas Biosphere Reserve.
Manas national park is having status of natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Declaration as a world heritage site itself is sufficient to understand that this national park is special. Overall rich biodiversity of national park is its unique attraction. It includes its vegetation, flora and fauna. It is a Eastern Moist Deciduous forest type with alluvial grasslands, dense undergrowths and forested hills.Half of the park is covered with grasslands of Bhabar and Terai type. It is the only landscape in the world where we can see the merger of both the grasslands. Pygmy Hog is the sole representative of Porcula which is a unique evolutionary branch of Pigs. It can only be seen in Manas forest which includes both Bhutan & Assam forest area. In addition to this one-horned rhino, Eastern Swamp Deer, Slow Loris, Capped, Water Asian Buffaloes, Golden Langur, Bengal Florican, Black Giant Squirrel etc at one place makes it special. This forest is home of 60 mammal species, 500 bird species, 42 reptile species and 7 amphibians. This much quantity at one place makes it unique as normally we can find 30 mammal species and 300 bird species in other popular wildlife destinations.
In order to plan for Bandhavgarh tour, it is important to know the safari timings so that accordingly we will draw our tour plan, decide arrival & departure schedule.
|Period||Morning Safari||Afternoon Safari|
|01 Oct - 31 Dec||06:00 - 10:00 Hrs||14:30 - 17:30 Hrs|
|01 Dec - 28 Jan||06:30 - 10:30 Hrs||14:30 - 17:30 Hrs|
|01 Feb - 31 Mar||06:30 - 10:30 Hrs||15:00 - 18:00 Hrs|
|01 Apr - 30 June||06:00 - 10:00 Hrs||16:00 - 19:00 Hrs|
Here the park management authority retains the right to change the safari timing at any time as per situation. Usually park opens 30 minutes before sunset and closes 30 minutes after sunset. As per change in sunrise and sunset timing, park authority adjusts the park entry & exit timing.
Jungle safari in Manas national park is almost similar to what we experience in Kaziranga national park. Here we can basically do two main safaris i.e. Elephant Safari and Jeep Safari. Considering the geographical conditions, both the safari types have their own importance thus they are the need of prevailing conditions. As we know that Assam wildlife destinations are mainly based on river valleys with more marshy lands and tall grasslands thus elephant safari allows better access to various locations of national park where as jeep safari allows to travel long in less time so that tourist can cover all important places to visit in Manas national park.In morning safari timing, first Elephant safari is offered and later jeep safari is offered. In addition to this, nature walk is also possible in nearby localities to resorts. It is very good for birding and understanding the local lifestyle. We recommend 3-5 june safaris in Manas national park opting at least 02 elephant rides and 03 jeep safaris. Here mammals, birds, reptiles list is very long thus more number of safari drives are recommended. If you are interested in Golden Langur then Kakoijana buffer area safari is highly recommended. It is at a distance of 80 kms from hotels area but its walking safari is worth for Langur photography. If free time, we may go for village visit also to understand local lifestyle, housing system, shopping of Assamese handloom Saris, towels etc. One such know village is Boro village.
Manas tiger reserve offers more than 60 mammal species as jungle safari attractions. Witnessing all of them in single safari drive is not possible thus we recommend 4-6 jungle safaris in popular season from November to March. Manas tiger reserve is home of some endangered mammal species like Pygmy hog, One horned Rhino, Water Buffalo, Eastern Swamp Deer, Golden Langur, Capped langur, Hoolock Gibbons, Barking Deer, Slow Loris, Tiger, Leopard, Hispid Hare etc.
Manas biosphere reserve is home of more than 500 bird species. 40% of the tiger reserve area is having grasslands and wetland which offers ideal conditions for residential, migratory and seasonal birds to stay in Manas forest area. Some of the prominent bird species includes Scarlet Bee-eaters, Bengal Florican, Indian Peafowl, Grey Hornbills, Magpie Robins, Malabar Pied Hornbill, Jungle fowls, Bulbul, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Brahminy ducks,Kalij Pheasants, Egrets, Black-necked Stork, Swamp Partridge, Scarlet Minivet, Brown Oriole, Brahminy ducks, Crested Serpent Eagle, etc.
Nearby Airports= Guwahati Airport (150 kms), Bagdogra Airport (340kms)
Nearby Railway Stations = Barpeta Station (20 kms), Bongaigaon Station (75 kms), Guwahati station
Nearby Taxi Stands = Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Guwahati.
Majority of tourists uses Guwahati city as the base for arrival and departures. As it is a large city with all sort of required facilities like variety of hotel options, many taxi options and travel distance is also manageable.
Manas national park is mainly open from November to April month i.e. just 6 months period. Due to heavy rainfall and river valley, it gets flooded in long monsoon season from July to October thus it remain closed in this period. During months of May and June, it remains partially open for tourists. Here best time to visit is mainly decided by climatic condition and thus period from November to March is considered as the best time for safari holidays.
When we talk about Assam wildlife destinations, Kaziranga and Manas national parks are prominently listed. In between them, Kaziranga is more popular among wildlife lovers thus majority of tourists visits Manas national park, after completing visit to Kaziranga. Due to political disturbance this region remain overlooked by tourism world thus here tourism development was slow. Now situations are far better and this national park is progressing to attain its deserving status. At present budget and standard category of accommodation options are available here. Luxury accommodation options are still awaited.
After completing visit of Manas national park, we have option to visit famous Kaziranga national park. It is at manageable distance thus many tourists covers this famous national park, during Assam tour. In addition to this, we can visit to Guwahati city, Orang wildlife sanctuary, Shillong etc.