Majuli : The Largest River Island

Majuli, Assam

Majuli – 421.65 square kilometers river island is the largest river island in the world and is located in the middle of mighty river Brahmaputra. Once you visit this place you will feel like getting touched with heaven and you consider visiting again.

Majuli is known for its beauty and cultural heritage which is the great way to enjoy during your tour. Majuli has got all the charm that can attract is visitors towards it. The cultural tradition, wildlife sanctuary and the exotic island is the best view to opt for. The striking feature of Majuli is the population free environment and hospitality of the locals are just remarkable. This place is blended with beautiful art and craftsmanship of Assamese culture and tradition.

Aside from enjoying the laid-back vibe, highlights of a visit include bird watching (the island is home to nearly 100 species of birds) and learning about neo-Vaishnavite philosophy at Majuli’s 22 ancient satras significent of them areAuni Ati satra, Dakhinpat Satra, Garamurh Satra (Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries and centers for art) where monks are keen to show you their little museum of Ahom royal artifacts. The best chances of observing chanting, dances or drama recitations are around dawn and dusk or during the big Ras Mahotsav Festival, in celebration of the birth, life and feats of Krishna.

Majuli has got a good connectivity with other cities of India. Majuli island is accessible by ferries from the City of Jorhat. The island is about 200 kilometers east from the state’s largest city Guwahati located in the heart of Assam.

Kaziranga National Park

kaziranga National Park

Morning view at kaziranga National Park

kaziragna National Park

kaziranga National Park

 

Kaziranga National Park,  a world Heritage site,  hosts two-thirds of the world’s Great One-horned Rhinoceroses. Kaziranga boasts the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world and was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006. The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.  Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by Bird life International for conservation of avifaunal species.  Located on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park combines high species diversity and visibility.

Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, crisscrossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.

(Courtesy : Wikipedia)

River city Guwahati

Situated on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra, at an altitude of 55 meters above sea level, Guwahati is the junction of three important roads, National Highways 31, 37 and 40. It is split into two parts by the river and North Guwahati is almost a separate town. One can visit it via the Saraighat Bridge or by the ferries that ply on the river. The nearest important city is Calcutta (1182 km), while the capitals of the other northeastern states are at distances varying from 110 km to 650 km. The city experiences an annual rainfall of 180 cm (from May to September). While summer temperatures range from 22 to 38°C, in winters the mercury ranges from 10 to 25°C. The best time to visit this cosmopolitan city is from October to April.

TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS

Guwahati is particularly famous for its Kamakhya temple situated atop the Nilachal hill, at a distance of 10 km from the railway station. Noted to be the most sacred among the tantrik shrines of Shakti worship in the world, Kamakhya, was built in the 10th century by the Koch king, Naranarayan. It is a common practice here to offer animal sacrifice to appease the Goddess. Above Kamakhya is another small temple, Bhubaneshwari, from where one can have a bird’s eye view of the city.

The Shiva temple of Umananda, reached by motor boats and public ferries from Umananda Ghat, stands on an island in the middle of the Brahmaputra.

Atop another hill in east Guwahati is the Navagraha temple-the “temple of the nine planets,”-an ancient seat of astrology and astronomy. Housed in a red beehive-shaped dome, the central lingam is encircled by further nine representing the planets (graha)-Sun (Surya, Ravi), Moon (Chandra, Soma), Mercury (Buddh), Venus (Sukra), Mars (Mangal), Jupiter (Brhaspati) and Saturn (Sani). Two more were added, Rahu and Ketu, the dragon’s head and the dragon’s tail, or the ascending and descending nodes of the moon.

Nearby, there is the Vashistha Ashram, an interesting old shrine, with plenty of verdure and three beautiful streams, Lalita, Kanta and Sandhya. It is at a distance of 12 km from the railway station and is said to have been the abode of sage Vashistha. Several other temples like the Ugratara temple, famous for its golden idol and buffalo sacrifices, are also strewn across the city.

Besides these religious sites, one must visit the Guwahati Zoo, which is the largest natural zoo of the country. The various museums-the State Museum, Anthropological Museum, Forest Museum, and Cottage Industries Museum-are treasure houses of Assam’s rich cultural past. The Guwahati planetarium, located on MG Road, is one of the finest in the country.

To complete one’s tour of Guwahati, one must visit the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. Built in the 1990’s, this modern complex at Panjabari provides a one-stop review of the artistic excellence of the region.

PLACES AROUND GUWAHATI

  • The Manas wildlife sanctuary, 176 km from the city, is situated on the banks of river Manas. It is the only tiger project of its kind in Assam.
  • Pabitora, a small wildlife sanctuary, 60 km from Guwahati is also worth a visit. Rhino and various species of deer abound here.
  • Hajo, 25 km west of Guwahati, is a sacred place for Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists. The town also boasts the Hayagriba Madhava Temple, accessible via a long stone stairway. At the foot of the stairway is a large pond inhabited by one of Hajo’s oldest residents: a giant turtle. Hajo is also renowned for its bell metal work.
  • Chandubi, 64 km from the city, is a natural lagoon and a fine picnic spot, 64 km from Guwahati. The lake is a perfect holiday resort, with ample fishing and rowing opportunities.
  • Madan Kamdev, about 35 km from Guwahati, is famous for its impressive archeological ruins and the Durga temple dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries.
  • Sualkuchi, 32 km from Guwahati, is a village where almost all the inhabitants are weavers, involved in the traditional art of silk weaving.
  • Tezpur is 181 km east of Guwahati, and is a town of both historic importance and adventure sports.
  • Barpeta, 185 km from Guwahati, is notable for the monastery and shrine dedicated to the Vaishnavite saint, Sankardeva.

WHERE TO STAY

Guwahati offers several private hotels ranging from high-end to budget-friendly ones. Fish is a major delicacy in Assam and one can savor mouthwatering curries in and around Paltan Bazar at cheap rates.

Guwahati, Assam, India

view of Guwahati

Guwahati, India

Tiny island inside Brahamputra River

Guwahati, Assam

Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga is a title of a remarkable success story of conservation of the One Horned Rhinoceros and other wild lives in the North East India. It is not only the homeland of the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros, but also provides shelter to a variety of wild lives. It is one of the significant place of natural habitat conservation. It is declared as a World Heritage Site in 1985.The Kaziranga National Park area consists of 429.93 Sq.Km. with an additional area of 429.40 Sq.Km. and situated in the two districts of Assam, namely Golaghat and Nagaon.

The Park is divided into four ranges. The Agoratoli range covers the eastern part and covers woodland interspersed with grassland and water-bodies. The Kohora range covers the central part and is the most easily accessible from the range office at Kohora. The Baguri range covers the western part of the Park and has the highest rhinoceros density. Burhapahar, 4th range, covers the first additional area attached to the Park.

The park is famous for Indian one horned rhinoceros which can reach a height of over two metres and weigh more than two tonnes. The area was declared a game reserve in 1908 to save the one-horned rhino. The total number of rhinoceros in the park totals more than thousand which is 70 percent of the total population of this species in the country. A single horn of the rhino is worth exorbitant amounts of money. ( US $ 40,000 in 1995). Kaziranga is popularly known as the home of the “Big Five” – the elephant, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, tiger and Swamp Deer. A total of 52 mammalian species has been recorded in the Park itself and include such rarities like Gangetic Dolphin, Chinese Pangolin, Hoolock Gibbon, Hog-Badger and Parti-coloured Flying Squirrel. 39 reptiles make the list and include the endangered Gharial and the rare Assam Roofed Turtle. Both the Reticulated and Rock Pythons occur in the area. The park has elephants, swamp or wild buffalo (Over 70% of the world population), swamp deer, hog deer, barking deer, sambar/ Hoolock gibbon, pythons, civet cat, wild boar and tigers.

Kaziranga is a birding paradise with a checklist of almost 500 species the grasslands are a raptor country that can be seen on safari makes a remarkable experience. Key species include Swamp Francolin, Pale-capped Pigeon, Bengal Florican, Great and Wreathed Hornbill, Jerdon’s Baza, Slender-billed Vulture, Pallas’s Fishing Eagle , Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Pied Harrier, Pied Falconet, Oriental Hobby, Black-necked Stork, Greater Adjutant, Hodgson’s Bushchat, White-vented Myna, Rufous-vented Prinia , Marsh Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black-breasted Parrotbill and Finn’s Weaver .

There is a breeding colony of Spot-billed Pelicans near Koladuar in the Agoratoli area. There is a rich variety of fresh water fowls, over 450 species of woodland and grassland birds of which 18 species are globally threatened. Birds like the egrets, pond herons, river tern, black necked storks, pelican, partridges, Bengal florican stork, pied horn bill, fishing eagle are found in abundance. The river here, has the gharial (fish eating crocodile) and dolphins. Wet savanna grassland covers 65 – 70% of Kaziranga. The grassland comprises of tall elephant-grass, chief amongst which are Erianthus ravannae, Phragmites karka, Arundo donax, Saccharum elephantinus, Saccharum arundinaceum, Imperata cylindrica and Poinia ciliata. The forested portions consist of species such as Bombax ceiba, Albizzia odorotissima, Carreya arborea, Lagerstromia parviflora, Dillenia pentagyna and Zizyphus jujuba.

Trained elephants are available as mounts for seeing the rhinos at close range. Elephant rides which last around one hour, should be booked the previous evening at the park administrative Centre in Kohora. Elephant rides between 0500 – 0600, 0630 – 0730 and 1530 -1630. Jeep drives are also available. The rides at dawn are best to see the animals.

There are three road routes inside the park open from 0800 – 1100 and 1400 – 1630 (1) Kazi ranga or central range – Kohora, Daglang, Foliomari, (2) Western range (Best to see rhinos and buffaloes) – Baguri, Monabeel, Bimoli, Kanchanjuri. (3) Eastern range(30km from Kohora best to see birds) – Agortoli, Sohola, Rangamatia. The observation towers are situated at Sohola, Mihimukh, Kathpara, Foliamari and Harmoti. Other attractions here are the coffee and rubber plantations of the nearby Karbi Anglong and the tea gardens of Hatikhuli, Methoni, Difalu, Behora, and Borchapori.

How to reach:

Kaziranga is on National Highway 37 which connects Guwahati with Jorhat on the east. Jorhat (Borjhar) is the nearest airport, 97 kms. away. Guwahati airport is 240kms from Kohora by road via Nowgong. The nearest convenient railhead and airport is at Jorhat. Numerous long distances buses are available from Guwahati, Jorhat and Nowgong for road travel to the Park.

Where to stay:

GL Resort GL’s Resort is located at the foothills of Burapahar, near Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat District of Assam. This resort offers accommodation in well-furnished cottages with all modern amenities. For picnics, adventures, sports tours and students outing there are tents with attached bathroom. The restaurant serves continental, Chinese, South Indian, North Indian and Assamese delicacies. A spacious hall equipped with modern sound system and other equipments are available for parties, seminars and conferences. Tennis and badminton courts and swimming pool are the other facilities. The resort also has a children’s park.

Wild Grass LodgeThe Wild Grass Lodge is a jungle lodge located outside of kaziranga national park, 200 kms from guwahati, assam. It is built in an attractive rural style kind of architecture, with grounds having more than 40 species of trees over 200 species.

Bonhabi ResortBonhabi Resort is very nearest of kaziranga national park’s main entry gate. It is only 1 minute away from the park entry gate. Resort is located at Bagarijuri in kaziranga, which is an exotic tourist destination of india.

Landmark Woods Landmark Woods, a world class resort amidst breathtaking greenery and spread over 15 acres of undulating landscape. Thirty lavish well appointed rooms, complimented with amenities and room service, a fusion cuisine restaurant and a well stocked bar.

IORA Resort Nestled amidst rolling hills of lush green tea and conveniently located just off National Highway 37 on the Guwahati Dibrugarh Sector IORA is the newest luxury resort at Kaziranga. IORA is a perfect blend of the tranquility of Assam and the comforts of a modern Luxury resort.

Aranya Resort Aranya Forest Lodge is only 3 kms away from park entrance at mihimukh, kaziranga. Forest lodge is run by the assam government and it is spread in 7 acres. The lodge provides a/c and non a/c rooms furnished with modern accessories and facilities.

Kaziranga Resort The land of the one horned rhino, rare migratory birds and exotic flora and fauna is Kaziranga. Explore the 32 bighas of lush greenery surrounded by misty mountains. Surrender unto nature’s mystique at Kaziranga Resort Kaziranga Resort .

Kaliabor Manor Resort The Kaliabor Manor is a wildlife resort perched besides the tea gardens of Kaliabor and overlooks panoramic vistas in all directions, capturing the mighty Brahmaputra in a most memorable way. Kaliabor Manor is an exclusive destination for birding.

Best Time to Visit

Kaziranga’s visiting season is from mid-November to early April months. During the monsoons, the Brahmaputra River bursts its banks, flooding the low-lying grasslands and causing animals to migrate from one area to another within the Kaziranga National Park.

Kaziranga National Park at a Glance

Area of the Park: 430 sq. kms

Latitude:– 26°30 N to 26°45 N

Longitude:– 93°08 E to 93°36 E

Temperature (°C): Summer: Max 35, Min 18.3 Winter: Max 24, Min 7.2

Rainfall: Heavy in Summer (2300 mms)

Best Season: November to March

Closed Season: Mid-April to Mid-October

Languages spoken: Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, English

Climate:- Sub-Tropical Monsoon with average rainfall of 1320 mm and temperature ranging from 8° C in Winter to 38° C in Summer

HOURS TO VISIT THE PARK
On Elephant Back: 0500 to 0600 hrs, 0630 to 0730 hrs and 1530 to 1630 hrs. By Road : 0800 to 1100 hrs and 1400 to 1630 hrs.

ROAD ROUTES FOR VISITING THE PARK
Kaziranga Range: Kohora, Daflang, Foliamare. Western Range : Baguri, Monabeel, Bimoli, Kanchanjuri. Eastern Range : Agoratoli, Sohola, Rangamatia.

OBSERVATION TOWERS
These are located at Sohola, Mihimukh, Kathpara, Foliamare and Harmoti.