Manas National Park
Area : 2800sq km
Nearest Railway Station : Barpeta (40km)
Nearest Town : Mothanguri (40km)
Nearest Airport : Guwahati (176km)
Best season to visit : November to March
Status : World Heritage Site
¤ Manas National Park - A
World Heritage Site
About 176 kilometres from Guwahati, the world heritage site, Manas
National Park lies just in between Kaziranga and Jaldapada. Make a
trip to Manas National Park - a world heritage site, one of those few
places that has the ability to hold a visitor spellbound, the main
reason being the 540sq km of diverse topography and rich flora and
The lifeline of the Park, Manas River forms a natural boundary
between India and the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. In the lower
stretches of the river basin, small clusters of trees dot vast
stretches of sand.
This kind of topography is home to small herds of wild buffaloes and
fishing birds that fly screeching over the river in search of prey.
Move a little away from the bank and you will enter a thick jungle of
broad-leaved trees, where even sunlight fails to make its way to the
ground. On the other side of the jungle, majestic herds of elephants
wade through swamps and tall elephant grass (although in comparison to
the other National Parks, it is very difficult to spot the elephants
here). There are nullahs, or streams, hillocks; almost everything that
you would wish to see in a Manas National Park situated in the
foothills of the Himalayas.Just make a holiday trip to Manas National
¤ Most Desired Destination For Wildlife
Manas National Park enjoys a very special status in terms of wildlife
in the sub continent for two reasons: it has a much longer visiting
season and it is home to twenty-two of the sub-continents
fifty-four endangered species. Some like the hispid hare and pigmy hog
are found only here. Yet, unlike in Kaziranga, where sightings are
very common because of open spaces and swamps, in Manas a visitor may
not come across too many animals. By taking up a holiday trip to Manas
national park to sight the wild at such close quarters that often the
visitor is left spell bound.
¤ Travelling In The Wilds
Make a trip through the gravel road from Barpeta to Manas National
Park during the wee hours of the morning or late in the evening. Drive
past the Bansbari tea estate and as you enter the open grassland, look
out for the extremely rare species of the hispid hare. This is an
elusive rabbit-like animal, about 47 centimetres in length. The back
and the tail are dark brown and the breast is whitish in colour. After
a sharp turn, you might find an extremely alert pair staring directly
into the headlights of your jeep.
¤ Manas National Park Wildlife Attractions
Another species that deserves a special mention is the golden langur.
This beautiful animal is 48 to 50 centimetres in length and the tail
adds another 75 centimetres to it. The colour of its coat changes with
each season. During winters, when the body needs to absorb more heat,
the colour of the coat is light golden or deep yellow. It gradually
changes to off-white as the hot summer months are round the corner.
The face, however, remains black all through the year.
For those interested in big mammals, Manas National Park has a deep
pocket. It has a considerable population of rhinos (although much less
in numbers than in Kaziranga), elephants, wild buffaloes, gaurs, swamp
deer, sambar, hog deer and barking deer. Besides these animals, cats
form a sizeable group in the Park. Going by the last count, there were
80 tigers, clouded leopards and golden cats. Inspite of such a large
number of tigers, sightings are very difficult and sometimes possible
due to sheer happenstance.
Wild Buffaloes make an interesting subject for photography, but take
care while shooting, as the animal is quite weary and can attack
without any provocation. In fact, wild buffaloes are known to drive
even tigers away.
¤ Bird Population
Another major attraction at Manas National Park is its bird
population. Visitors can see giant hornbills gliding over their heads.
The giant hornbill shares its habitat with two of its smaller cousins
the pied hornbill and the grey hornbill. All kinds of herons
and egrets can be seen near the water bodies. Birds of prey such as
eagles, falcons and harriers are also a common sight.
¤ Park Facing Political Unrest
Yet, the richest Manas National Park of India is also the most
unfortunate. The entire region has been taken over by Bodo extremists.
Political unrest in the region has also taken its toll on the Park.
The Bodos, allegedly, are misusing the Parks resources to make
their ends meet. This, sadly, has lead to the closure of the Park from
time to time. It is therefore advisable to check out the latest
position before planning a visit to the Park. For the past few years,
Manas has also been receiving funds from international agencies like
the UNESCO to heal the wounds inflicted on it by the Bodos.
The best way to commute inside the Manas National Parkis on trained
elephants that can be hired from the Mothanguri at the rate of 20$ per
visit for foreigners. Each safari lasts three hours. Under normal
conditions, the elephants leave from Mothanguri at 0900-1200 hrs in
the morning and at 1400-1700 hrs in the afternoon.
Boats are also available for hire from the forest beat officer at
Mothanguri. Each boat can accommodate 2-8 people (excluding the pilot)
and the ride lasts 4-8 hours.
The Forest Departments Forest Lodge is a simple and clean place
to stay. For bookings contact The Field Director, Manas Tiger
Reserve, P.O. Barpeta Road, Manas.
Hotel Doli on the Barpeta Road has 18 rooms.
For further details contact Tourist Information Centre.