If we talk about National Parks, Assam can safely be called the Mines of it! And among those great national parks, Manas National Park is the gem of Assam. Along with a Tiger Reserve Forest, Manas National Park is Elephant and biosphere reserve forest as well. Not only that, but it has also been included in the list of UNESCO world heritage site. How well do you know about this great national park in Assam? If you do not, have a look.
The Manas Wildlife Sanctuary or Manas National Park, situated in the foothills of Himalaya in the state of Assam, is a Natural World Heritage Site as declared by the UNESCO. This national park, an abode of endangered and rare wildlife, is predominantly famous for its Tiger Reserve and Elephant Reserve.
This park is contiguous with the neighbouring country Bhutan’s Royal Manas National Park. Passing through the heart of the park is the Manas River, a major tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Endemic wildlife species such as the Golden Langur, Hispid Hare, Pygmy Hog and Assam Roofed Turtle, along with a huge population of Wild Water Buffaloes, are other attractions of the park that is rich in flora and fauna.
The park is named after the Manas River, which flows through the heart of the park and is the major tributary of the Brahmaputra River. The Manas River was named after Manasa, the serpent goddess. On 1 October 1928 it was declared a sanctuary, prior to which it was a reserved forest known as the Manas Reserve Forest and North Kamrup Reserve forest. The sanctuary, with an area of 360 sq km, was used as hunting reserve by the royal family of Cooch Behar and the Raja of Gauripur. From 1951 to 1955, the area of the sanctuary was increased to 391 sq km. In 1973 the Manas biosphere was created.
Manas National Park
The territory of Manas National Park has always been a vast area of forest that was once used as a hunting reserve forest for the royal family of Cooch Behar and Gauripur. Afterwards understanding the importance of saving the lives of the wild animals, this forest area was declared as Manas Reserve Forest in the year of 1907, and in 1928 it was established as a Game Sanctuary.
Finally, after independence, this Game Sanctuary was proposed to be a Wildlife Sanctuary. However, the importance of this forest grows as it was declared as a Tiger Reserve Forest by the end of 1973. Again in 1985, it was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO and soon Kahitama, Kokilabari and Panbari Reserve Forest were added to Manas by the Indian Government to form the Manas National Park. In 1990, it was established as a National Park of India.
The importance of Manas National Park lies with the Tiger and Elephant project. Manas became an Elephant Reserve Forest in 2003, and it became one of the most important national parks in India. Not only that, but this National Park also has the title of the World Heritage Site by the UNESCO as a biosphere reserve forest.
Manas National Park Location
The geographical variation of Manas National Park is vast, and it covers six districts of Assam namely Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Malaria, Kamrup and Darrang. Situated in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayan, Manas National Park has thick, dense forest. Due to the occurrence of heavy rainfalls during May to September, this National Park exhibits four natural vegetations– Semi-evergreen alluvial plain, Semi-evergreen forest area, Moist and dry deciduous forest and Savannah grassland.
The Manas River, after which the place is named, flows through this National Park and it divides India and Bhutan. Apart from Manas River, other small five rivers also flow through this big National Park of 2387 square kilometre. The temperature fluctuation of this National Park stays between 30°C to 10°C.
Flora and Fauna
Manas National Park has more than 550 species of plants. Due to four categories of natural vegetation, the trees of this National Park differ from one region to another. Pithraj tree, Jamun Tree, Kadam Tree, Orchids, Kumkum Tree, Indian Cassia Tree, Cotton Tree, Elephant apple tree, White teak tree, etc. are common in this region. However, in Savannah grassland shrubs are visible.
Along with tigers and elephants, this National Park has 55 species of mammals. Bengal tiger and wild Asiatic Elephants are main attractions of this National Park. Apart from that, leopard, Indian Rhinos, Asian water buffalos, hog deer, Chital, Golden Langurs are a dominant resident of this forest.
Apart from mammals, this forest also has 50 species of reptiles and 380 species of birds which includes the migratory birds too. From Bengal Florican to Pelicans, Bulbuls, Hornbills, and Eagles– birds have an endless list. Among reptiles Gharial, turtle, monitoring lizards, snakes belong to the list of dominant fauna.
How to Reach Manas National Park
Airways– Guwahati Airport is the nearest airport which is only 170 km away from this national park.
Railways– The nearest railway station is Barpeta Railway station, only 50 km away from Manas.
Roadways– Also, Manas National Park is well connected to major cities of India via road.
Manas National Park Tourism
The pleasant time to visit Manas National Park is from November to June.
Entry time– 9 am to 5 pm
Entry fees– Rs 20/ person for Indians and Rs 250/ person for foreigners.
If you have ever been to Assam, Manas National Park is hard to miss. Not only for wild animals, but it is also one of the best places to experience the nature of Eastern Himalayan foothill as well. Happy Travelling!