We are all aware of national parks and nature reserves dedicated for the protection of Tigers, lions or deer. Kaziranga National Park is one such National Park dedicated to the great one-horned Rhinoceros, also called as the Indian Rhinoceros. This biggest hub of one-horned rhinoceros has also been declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is located in Assam and expands over two districts;i.e. Nagaon and Golaghat. This great one-horned animal is an endangered species due to the massive demand of its horn for various medicinal usage or even as a status symbol for the wealthy. Poaching of the horn is a big concern for the forest department and the government. The 2018 census gives a number slightly greater than 2400, which is a reflection of the fact that slowly the rhino population is increasing as a result of strict forest and wildlife protection Bills and laws and arrest and punishment of Poachers and prevention of Poaching activities.
Although a lot of stories prevail regarding the name of the forest of Kaziranga, the most famous one is that of the tribals. It is said to have been derived from the names of two tribals i.e. a boy named Kazi and a girl named Rawnga. They fell in love but their love was not accepted by their families. Hence they went into the forest and never came back. That forest was named after the couple.
A legendary tale tells about how this park came into existence because of Mazy Curzon, wife of India’s Viceroy Lord Curzon in 1905. She is said to have visited the place and could not spot a single Rhinoceros. It occurred to her that these majestic animals are decreasing in numbers and upon her request to her husband, the viceroy, the Kaziranga reserve was created. Initially, it expanded about 230 square kilometers but over the years it increased till Brahmaputra river banks.
Spreading over an area of 430 square kilometers, Kaziranga National Park is not only the reserved site for Rhinoceros but also has one of the highest tiger density numbers in the world, residing in a protected site. Apart from Tigers, a lot of wild animals such as Elephants, deer, water buffalo, Leopards, and Sloth Bears are also present in the sanctuary.
Not only animals, even different majestic and rare bird species are also found in the sanctuary. Migratory birds such as the Asian and Black-necked Stork visit the park in the winters. Different varieties of Pelicans and ducks are also seen.
The marshy lands, dense forests, creates a great environment for the snakes to thrive. Rock pythons, King cobra and reticulated pythons, the most venomous snakes, reside in this park.
Kaziranga presents a beautiful location for holidaying owing to its great forests, wildlife set on the banks of vast Brahmaputra river. Tourists season is that of winter and lot of tour packages are available for a grand safari and visit of the park. Both Jeep and Elephant safari can be availed in the park.
A variety of hotels, eco stays, resorts and camps are available around Karinranga. It remains closed from May to October. One won’t be disappointed on a trip to this location. A visitor with some extra days in hands can also enjoy the nearby attractive sites which include Deopahar, Kakochang falls, Orang National Park and Addabarie tea estate to name a few.
How to reach – The nearest towns to this national park are Golaghat and Bokhakhat. Jeeps and Buses pass over the gates of Kaziranga park. Major cities near to this park are Guwahati, Dimapur, and Tejpur. Airports and railheads are also present but about a distance of 170-200 kilometers.