Kaziranga, the only home of Indian One-Horned Rhino, has the area of 430 square kilometers with elephant-grass meadow, swampy lagoons, and massive forests. It is located on the verge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots. The geographical location of the park is between the latitudes of 26°30′ N and 26°45’N, and longitudes 93°08′ E to 93°36′ E within two districts of Golaghat and Nagaon districts. Approximately 2/3rd of One-Horned Rhino total world population exists in Kaziranga alone. In 1985, UNESCO declared Kaziranga as a World Heritage Site.
In 1908 on the consultation of Mary Curzon, wife of Lord Curzon of Kedleston, the Viceroy of India, the Kaziranga was formed. It was in 1904 when Mary Curzon visited the area to see One-Horned Rhino, after failing to spot a single rhino in the renowned area. Then she persuaded her husband to take immediate measures to protect the abating species. After a series of meetings and documentation, the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 squares km on 1 June 1905. Based on the census held in March 2015 conduct by the Forest Department of the Government of Assam and some wildlife NGOs, the rhino population in Kaziranga is 2401.
The origination of the word ‘Kaziranga’ is not certain. The historians considered it was derived from the Karbi word ‘Kajir-a-rong,’ which stands for “the village of Kajir.” Kajir is a common name for a girl child in Karbi, and the historians accepted that a woman named Kajir once ruled over the area. Some fragment of monoliths associated with Karbi rule found discarded in the area are witness to bear the evidence to this insistent.
The park has the distinction of being home to the large population of the One-Horned Rhino, Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo, and Eastern Swamp Deer. Kaziranga has the largest population of the Wild water buffalo anywhere accounting for about 57% of the world population.
Kaziranga is one of the few wild breeding areas outside Africa for multiple species of large cats, Bengal Tigers, and Leopards. Kaziranga was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006, rated the highest density of tigers in the world (one per five km squares). Kaziranga is also the home to the Hoolock Gibbon the only ape found in India even to the endangered Ganges Dolphin.
Kaziranga is also considered as an important bird area by Birdlife International. It is home to a variety of water birds, migratory birds, scavengers, predators, and game birds. Birds such as the Lesser White-fronted goose, Ferruginous Duck, Baer’s Pochard Duck and Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Black-necked Stork, and Asian Openbill Stork migrate from Central Asia during winter.
The One-Horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, Asian elephant, wild water buffalo and swamp deer are collectively known as ‘Big Five’ of Kaziranga.
There is a distinction in altitude between the western and eastern areas of the park, with the west side being at a lower height. So there exist four main types of vegetation, these are alluvial inundated grasslands, alluvial savanna woodlands, tropical moist mixed deciduous forests, and tropical semi-evergreen forests. The grassland dominates the western reaches of the park. Tall elephant grass is found on higher ground, while short grasses cover the lower grounds surrounding the bells or flood-created ponds. Kumbhi, Indian Gooseberry, the Cotton Tree and Elephant Apple are categorized as famous and important trees.
Thick evergreen forests have the different variety of trees such as Dillenia Indica, Ficus Rumphi, Talauma Hodgson. While semi-evergreen forest has Albezia Procera, Bridelia Retusa, Sterculia Urens, and many more.
The park includes nearly 12% freshwater bodies, which are associated with one of three main habitat types, (1) small or large water bodies known as ‘Beels’, which may be vegetated at their margins, (2) marshes, seasonally flooded wetlands; and (3) swamps, permanently covered with water.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND THE PARK:
Around Kaziranga, you can find an ample number of nature getaways like wildlife sanctuaries, parks for bird watching and hill stations. To make your holiday more memorable, you can go to the places mentioned below.
ORANG NATIONAL PARK
HOOLLONGAPAR GIBBON SANCTUARY
ADDABERIE TEA ESTATE
The park operates for six months continuously from 1st November to 30th April. The climate is mild and dry, have better chances of spotting One-Horned Rhino. As the grass burn off, and the background becomes clearer during this season. To save the precious species, the management has taken the precautions to remains closed for six months, 1st May to 31st October.
Both Jeep and Elephant safari tour is available, operates under the authority of the park.
By Air: Rowriah Airport, Jorhat, Assam (74kms); Dimapur Airport, Nagaland (83 kms)
By Train: Khumtai (KUTI), Khumtai, Assam (28kms); Helem (HML), Helem, Assam (30kms)
By Bus: Numaligarh, Assam (32kms); Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh (56kms)
Ranging from luxury resort to rest houses accommodation is available. Most numbers of hotels are maintained and furnished by the Forest Departments. It would be great if you could book in advance.