Arunachal Pradesh is known for its magnificent beauty, but apart from that what adds to its wilder side is the The Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled in Lohit district. This sanctuary was established in 1989 and the sanctuary gets its name from the River Kamlang River that atcually flows through it. The Mizo, Digaru and Mishmi tribal people who stay around the periphery of the wildlife sanctuary say they are descendants of the King Rukmo of the Mahabharata epic.
Though not very large (783 square kilometers) this sanctuary is extremely rich in its biodiversity of both flora and fauna. It is one among the 12 protected areas of the state. The closest airport is at Dibrugadh. We landed there and took a pre-paid taxi to the sanctuary.
The long, 173-kilometer drive was very gratifying. A natural paradise, blessed with hills upon hills concealed in thick green forests. The road was obviously curvaceous and a bit dangerous. As we climbed up I noticed the vegetation changing with the altitude. The top reaches have beautiful Alpine trees. The weather was pleasantly cool and mist floated around near the trees and water bodies to add mystery.
The trek through the sanctuary is what is most enjoyable as it brings one much closer to nature. We set off on a short trek with a local tribal guide who was a specialist in this jungle. He seemed to know everything there is to know about it.
He showed us the Caranium Nut trees with its large edible nuts. Haritaki (Harda) and Gamhar trees which are known to be medicinal in Ayurveda. There was a lot of Bamboo and Cane growing to enormous heights. Beautiful orchids adorned many branches. Between many trees were large and small cobwebs housing colorful spiders.
The sanctuary boasts of sixty-one different species of mammals including the 4 big cats, Leopard, Tiger, Clouded Leopard and seldomly seen Snow Leopard. We were hoping to spot at least one of them. We did spot a wild boar, and got a glimpse of the shy civet. There were herds of deer grazing cautiously, with at least one of them on the lookout for danger at any time. We saw a mother elephant with her baby at a distance. The mother looked at us and decided we were not dangerous for the baby and walked away peacefully.
The forest was reverberating with monkey calls and bird whistles. Birds were not easy to see in the thick overhead canopy. Monkeys, on the other hand, were conspicuous because of their high levels of activity. There were Macaques and Langurs. We were lucky to get a glimpse of the famous Hoolock Gibbon but not a Slow Loris- a very shy nocturnal animal.
Of the 105 resident species of birds, we saw quite a few- Hornbills, Mynas, Hill Mynas, Babblers, Thrushes, Bee Eaters, Woodpeckers and Lapwings.
We trekked to the most prominent water body in the sanctuary called the Glow Lake. It is located at 1500 meters elevation from the sea level and is a large lake covering 8 square kilometers. It was a divine place to rest, offering marvelous view of the hill reflected in serene blue water. We noticed Kingfishers fishing and Cormorants drying their wings on the rocks here.
There is a Parshuram Kund (pond) in the park which is a place of pilgrimage for many. The park also boasts of a variety of reptiles, Monitor Lizards, Chameleons, and many varieties of venomous snakes. However, being cold blooded animals their sightings are not very common in cold winters.
The trek through the sanctuary was both exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I was glad that to have the opportunity to experience this bustling green paradise.