Home to the exotic one-horned rhinoceros and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an expanse of lush greens as far as the eye can see, richly diversely flora and fauna, there are just so many reasons to put the Kaziranga National Park on your bucket list. This Kaziranga National Park travel guide will help you plan the perfect escape to this 430-square-kilometre green haven sitting on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra in the suburbs of Golaghat and Nogaon districts of Assam:
Kaziranga National Park Brief History
The first thing that strikes about this destination is its unique name. As per the local legend, the national park gets its name from the fabled love story of a girl named Ranga and a boy named Kazi who eloped into the forest where the national park stands today after the village authorities opposed their union and were never seen again.
Another, more plausible, explanation is that the national park was named such, owing to an abundance of red goats in the region. The word ‘Kazi’ means ‘goat’ in the local Karbi language, and ‘Rangai’ means ‘red’.
The national park was established in the year 1905 as a safe sanctuary for the dwindling one-horned rhinos by then Viceroy of India Lord Curzon. It was set up as forest reserve over an area of 232 square kilometres. In 1908, the area was expanded by another 152 square kilometres, all the way to the banks of Brahmaputra. In 1916, it was named a game sanctuary and, in 1950, renamed as the Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary by 1950 P.D Starcey. Kaziranga was declared a national park 14 years later and acquired the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide: Best Time to Visit
The Kaziranga National Park is open from November 1 to April 30. Depending on the weather conditions, sometimes the national park opens in October as well. It is best to plan your visit in between mid-February and mid-March when the peak tourist season is over and weather is still pleasant.
The national park also hosts a week-long Kaziranga Elephant Festival from February 11 to 17 every year to encourage people to protect and save the jumbos. It’s a good idea to plan your visit to coincide with at least a couple of days of this festival to witness a true celebration of nature.
Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide: Getting There
Unless you live in north-east India, you have to be prepared to undertake a long journey to get here. In this Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide, we tell you how to reach your destination by air, rail or road:
By air: The nearest airport is in Guwahati, which is 235 km away and well-connected to most other Indian cities. From here you can take a taxi to the Kaziranga National Park.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is in Furkating, 80 km away. From here too, you can take a taxi to the national park.
By Road: If you love road trips and have the time at hand, you can plan a road trip to the Kaziranga National Park. Alternatively, you can also reach a prominent city in Assam like Guwahati, Jorhat, Nawgaon or Tezpur by air, rail or road and then take a connecting bus to Kaziranga.
Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide: Safari Details
You have the option to choose from elephant and jeep safaris for exploring the Kaziranga National Park. Elephant safari is ideal for spotting the exotic wilds – one-horned rhino, sambhar, tiger, wild elephants, leopards, gaur, buffaloes, otters, monkeys, deer, badgers, and wild boar – in the distance. For those who have reservations about riding animals, jeep safaris are a convenient alternative. The safaris can be availed at stipulated times twice a day:
Elephant Safaris: 0530 to 0730 and 1500 to 1600
Jeep Safaris: 0730 to 1100 and 1400 to 1630
Elephant safaris take you through western and central ranges of the national park and need to be pre-booked. For foreign nationals, however, elephant safaris are limited to the central range alone.
Jeep safaris can be booked on per jeep basis on the spot. It is advisable for couples and solo travellers to book jeep safaris with a bigger group of travellers to reduce the cost.
Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide: Fares and Tickets
You need to pay up for tickets and safari fares for exploring the national park, so it is advisable to keep some cash handy. Here’s a Kaziranga National Park travel guide rundown on the different expenses you’ll incur on the trip:
Entrance: INR 50 for Indians, INR 250 for foreigners
Vehicle Entry: INR 200
Camera: INR 50 for Indians, INR 500 for Foreigners
Video Cameras: INR 500 for Indians, INR 1,000 for foreigners
Elephant Safari: INR 280 for Indians, INR 750 for foreigners
Jeep Safari: INR 1,000 for Central Range and INR 2000 for Burapahar
Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide: Dos and Don’ts
This Kaziranga National Park Travel Guide would be incomplete without some tips and instructions to help you make the most of your experience:
- The central ranges are ideal for enjoying an elephant safari, while the northeastern zone is the place to be for indulging in some idyllic boat rides.
- It’s best to book the afternoon safari, as fog and mist can block the view in early morning hours.
- You need a forest guide to take your private vehicle inside the national park.
- Harming the wildlife or destroying the fauna is strictly prohibited.
- Weapons and sharp objects are not allowed.
- Light, comfortable clothing is advised to stay comfortable during your safari experience. Avoid wearing bright colours as these can provoke or scare certain animals.
- Do not forget to carry a camera.
Check out the tourism advisory to learn more about the Dos and Don’ts of visiting the Kaziranga National park.
Go, start planning your trip now, and watch this space for more on things to do around Kaziranga, hotels and food.