Kaziranga National Park – Assam, North East India – UNESCO World Heritage Centre
The rays of the early morning sun bounced off the water drops on the giant elephant grass as our mahout steered his 37-year-old elephant on our 5.00am morning safari. The conga line of elephants in Kaziranga National Park fell in behind our lead mahout as their baby elephants complained loudly to their mothers about reluctantly trailing our herd. Elephants and their masters, called mahouts, form a long bond in India – ours had been together for 27 years.
We were in the Kaziranga National park in remote north east India, home to over 2,400 one-horned rhino, some 100 Bengal tigers, 2,000 Asiatic wild buffalo,1,200 Asian elephants and the last surviving population of eastern swamp deer. The park was created by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1906 following the near decimation of the rhino population by hunters and poachers.
Today the population of these endangered animals is thriving thanks to an active program of anti poaching guards working around the clock to safeguard all these magnificent animals. Located in the fertile Brahmaputra Valley in the state of Assam, the low lying lakes provide a natural water environment for the rhinos, elephants and buffalo all of which are excellent swimmers. They need to be, as the annual monsoons flood the entire park. Whilst most animals find their way to higher ground, some seek refuge on the state highway which is forced to close for around 2 weeks each year whilst it becomes a temporary Noah’s ark of safe ground for the park’s wildlife!
India’s wildlife is a unexpected surprise to our travellers on our Nagaland and North East India tour. The tour is centred around the fabulous Hornbill Festival which brings together 14 of the remote hill tribes to celebrate their ancient cultures. The tribes and wildlife of India are just another dimension to the many faces that make India a fascinating destination.
Your trip to Kaziranga National Park in North East India includes the Hornbill Festival – November 2019 with Blue Dot Travel Click here.
By Brod Brennan