Kaziranga National Park is one of the most coveted wildlife vacation spots in India, covering an area of 430 square kilometers and adorned with elephant grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and thick forests that are home to more than 2200 Indian one-horned rhinos. They make up about two-thirds of the total world population.
The park was established in 1908 at the recommendation of Mary Curzon, and it is located on the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts. The park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Mary Curzon went to the park to see the Indian one-horned rhinoceros but was unable to find any, prompting her to urge her husband to take action to protect the endangered species. The Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest, covering an area of 232 km2 (90 sq mi), was established in 1905, following a series of meetings and documentation.
In addition to the iconic greater one-horned rhinoceros, the park is a breeding ground for elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Over time, the tiger population in Kaziranga has also grown, leading to the park being declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006.
The park is also recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species, such as the lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Baer’s pochard duck, lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-necked stork, and Asian Openbill stork, which migrate from Central Asia during the winter season.
Although the park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, it is the wildlife conservation initiatives that are more famous. With its exceptional conservation activities, the park has successfully increased the population of the endangered greater one-horned rhinoceros. The park's expansive and beautiful landscape of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests is made even more enchanting by the presence of the Brahmaputra river.
The Kaziranga National Park is closed to visitors from May to October each year, but the best time to visit is from November to April. During the summer months of April to May, animals can be spotted around the water bodies, while the monsoon season from June to September brings heavy rainfall and a hot and humid climate, causing the park to be closed for safety reasons. The mild and dry winter months from November to February offer the best opportunity for spotting rhinos as the grass burns off and the background becomes clearer.
To enhance wildlife tourism, the Kaziranga Park authorities offer jeep and elephant safari tours at specific times. Morning jeep safaris are from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and afternoon jeep safaris are from 02:00 PM to 04:00 PM. Elephant safaris have two time slots in the morning, 05:30 / 06:30 and 06:30 / 07:30.
Covering an area of 430 sq km, the park is divided into four areas with distinct features in terms of grasslands, mammal and bird density, topography, and terrains. The tourist circuits for jeep safaris are pre-defined, and include Mihimukh in the Central Range at Kohora, Bagori in the Western Range at Bagori, Agaratoli in the Eastern Range at Agaratoli, and Ghorakati in Burapahar Range at Ghorakhati.
Kaziranga National Park offers a plethora of tourist attractions, and among them, the jeep safari and elephant ride are the most popular. Embarking on a jeep safari is an exceptional way to discover the uncharted territories of the national park, with open gypsies that can accommodate up to six tourists at a time. This expedition through the forest is safe and allows you to witness the awe-inspiring green beasts firsthand.
Exploring the dense jungle on majestic elephants steered by professional mahouts is an unforgettable experience. The elephant ride is one of the park's main attractions, with incredible views of the animals and birds that inhabit the open grounds. Safaris can be booked online in advance, ensuring that every moment of your trip is worth visiting.
Another unique way to experience the forest life in Kaziranga is through the boat safari, where exquisite views of the bank of the river await your presence. The boat safari is spacious enough for two visitors, and it provides an excellent opportunity to view Gangetic Dolphins and the one-horned rhino. Booking a full boat safari offers the best privacy for your loved ones.
After indulging in the natural beauty of Kaziranga, don't forget to enjoy the cultural show and folk dance, which offer a taste of the traditional Assamese culture. The show is conducted in both English and Hindi, and it typically runs from 6 p.m. in the evening to 8:30 p.m. in the evening. Also, a trip to the tea garden is a must when in Assam, which is located 116 km away from Kaziranga, and it provides a fascinating insight into the locals' efforts.