Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
Manas Tiger Reserve is situated amidst the gentle slopes at the foothills of the Himalayas in India.
Located in the north-eastern state of Assam, it is the only tiger reserve of its kind in the entire northeast. Manas derives its name from Goddess Manasa. The forest stretches beyond Indian territory to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, with the crystal waters of the Manas River demarcating the international border. For a brief period, some areas adjoining the river path get flooded, the water level subsides as soon as the rainfall stops because of the slope. Mixed deciduous type of vegetation is found in the park. The dense forest cover often prevents the sunrays from reaching the forest.
This beautiful park, previously known as North Kamrup, was declared a sanctuary on October 1, 1928, with parts of it having been notified as reserved forests as early as 1907 and 1927. It was established as the core of the Manas Tiger Reserve from April 1973 and consecutively inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1985 and elevated to the position of a National Park on September 7, 1990.
Wildlife Attractions in Manas Wildlife Sanctuary
The core area of Manas National Park is 360-km. Manas is a very special biosphere, for it harbors 20 species of birds and animals that are highly endangered, prominent among those are the attractive Red Pandas, which are occasionally seen in the higher elevation. Initially the park was a wildlife sanctuary but in 1990 it was declared a National Park.
Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog and Golden Langur are some of the rare species of animals found in the park apart from Tigers, Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Sambhar, Swamp Deer, and Hog Deer, which are easily spotted.
Come winter and Manas is full of migratory birds like the Riverchats, Forktails, Cormorants and Ducks like the Ruddy Shell-Duck. Other woodland birds like the Indian Hornbill and Pied Hornbill also found.
Butterflies and reptiles are also seen aplenty in Manas. In the river water, one can enjoy boating and fishing. Coloured pebbles of the Manas River are an added attraction not to be missed.
Rides inside the park are available on boats and elephants. Elephant rides are the best way to spot wild animals as they are able to penetrate deeper into the jungles. The ride begins from Mothanguri and continues for about 3 hours. Boat rides are a good way to spot animals and birds which come to the river to quench their thirst. There are no forest department jeeps or guides available for the tourists, but private jeeps can be hired from the Bansbari Range Office or Barpeta Road. Only one route is presently open, while others will be in operation shortly. Safari timings are 5:30 to 10 AM & 2:30 to 5:30 PM.
There is a lot to see and do around the park. The state capital Guwahati is situated at a distance of just 180 km. The place is especially famous for the temple of Kamakhya devi built by king Narnarayan. Other wildlife sanctuaries around the area include Orang and Pabitora. The small town of Hajo, located 25 km from Guwahati, is a sacred place for the Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist community.
How to Get There
By Air :
The nearest airport is Borjhar airport, Guwahati, connected by Indian Airlines to Delhi (8:00, Tue, Thu, Sat), (10:25, Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun), Calcutta (6:30, 9:50 & 16:00, Daily). Mumbai is connected through a Jet Airways flight (7:50, except Thu & Sun).
By Rail :
The nearest railhead is Barpeta Road (32 km N). Delhi is connected through daily trains Brahmaputra Mail (20:55) & Avadh Assam Exp. (8:25). Connecting Mumbai is the Guwahati Exp. (7:45, Wed, Fri, Sat), while Chennai has a connection through the YPR Guwahati Exp. (10:00, Tue) & Guwahati Exp. (6:30, Mon, Thu, Fri, Sat). Bangalore is also well connected through the YPR Guwahati Exp. (23:55, Mon) & Guwahati Exp. (23:45, Wed, Thu, Fri).
By Road :
The park is well connected with other parts of Assam through a network of well built roads. State transport buses ply regularly connecting various cities in and around the park. To reach the park from Guwahati, take the NH31 to Shimlaguri via Rangia, Nalbari and Howli. From there take the link road to Barpeta road.
Distances from major cities
176 km (NW)/5 hrs.
Travel Tips/Important Information
- Tourists pay the entry fee at the Bansbari Range Office, 1 km before the entry gate at Baripada.
- Park Charges Entry Fee : Rs. 20 (Indians) & Rs. 250 (foreigners), Jeep entry Fee : Rs. 300, Still Camera : Rs. 50 (Indians) & Rs. 500 (foreigners), Video Camera : Rs. 100 (Indians) & Rs. 500 (foreigners), Safari : Rs. 120 (Indians) & Rs. 750 (foreigners), Boat Ride : Rs. 8000 (8 seater boat), which can be shared amongst the passengers.
- Take a 5 km long walk besides the jungle trail along the river around Mathanguri to observe different variety of birds and flowers.
- Park timings are 5:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
- A number of rest houses and camp sites in and around the park provide accommodation to the tourists.
- There are three protected areas in Manas, the Manas Sanctuary (391 sq. km), Manas National Park (520 sq. km) and Manas Tiger Reserve (2600 sq. km). The entry of tourists is restricted to the central area or the Bansbari range. Encroaching into the rest of the park, such as Panbari and Bhuyanpara ranges is considered dangerous, especially without an armed escort.
- The Makibana area in Bhuyan Para range is considered good for Tiger sighting.
- Foreign tourists require a special permit to visit the park, as well as the state of Assam.
- The nearest centre is Barpeta road where most of the facilities including post, telegraph, telephone, hospital and drug stores are easily available.
- Monsoon season should be avoided for a travel to the park as heavy rains often flood the place
- It is always better to get prior information before visiting as the opening and closing timings have become erratic since the ethnic troubles recently.