Kaziranga National Park, the unusual name in itself has a lyrical, mysterious ring to it that builds up the anticipation of an experience that is different, almost other-worldly. The green havens of this expansive national park that holds in its folds many an exotic creation of nature is a cathartic anti-thesis to the mundane realities of our ‘every day’. The national park, popular as the habitat of the one-horned rhinoceros and the famed but elusive Bengal tiger, remains true to the mysticism that reverberates with its name.
As with anyone who likes to step out of their comfort zone to soak up on new experiences, visiting this national park had been on my list for long. During a family trip to the north-east, I decided to finally check this box off my bucket list.
Getting to the Kaziranga National Park
Since we were already out and about exploring different destinations in Assam, we decided to set base in Tezpur for our Kaziranga exploration. Even though the standard approach is flying to Guwahati and then travelling to Kaziranga by road, staying in Tezpur cut down our travel time by two-thirds. Guwahati is about 193 km from Kaziranga, and it takes nearly four hours to cover the distance. Tezpur, on the other hand, is a mere 51 km and one-and-a-half hour drive away.
The Elephant Safari
Before setting off on our trip, we had an important decision to make – choosing between the elephant and jeep safari. After much deliberation, taking into consideration the diverse opinions of my co-travellers aka fam and reading up recommendations online, we settled on the early morning elephant safari.
The safari starts at 6 am, which meant we had to start our journey from Tezpur at 3.45am.
Now, ‘early morning’ can be a very relative term. For an early riser who typically starts their day at 6 am, 3.45 am can, in fact, be an early start to the day, but for a night owl like me, it was practically bedtime. With a childlike excitement keeping me going, I was up and about with little effort. Thanks to the prowess of our driver, we reached Kaziranga sharp at daybreak.
There it was – the mammoth Gajraj waiting to take us on one of the grandest tours of our life. From the rampart, we climbed on to elephant’s back and slid into a nice comfortable howdah that seats four. With a loud trumpet, the Gajraj began its journey into the forests:
We were greeted by this stunning view of the wilderness upon entering the Kaziranga National Park.
The first spotting, rhinos serving as the resting seat for birds.
Finally, a look up close.
A deer with massive antlers.
The waters of a tributary of the Brahmaputra.
A solitary eagle in all its imperial glory.
Smiling for the camera, this cute poser.
The Orchid Sanctuary
The Orchid Sanctuary located barely 10 minutes away is a must visit for its breathtaking trails dotted with exotic orchids and offering panoramic views of expansive greens.
Karbi hut, a cosy nest in the greens.
Dancing Doll, a unique variety of orchids.
I recommend this experience to anyone with a love for nature or in need of a tranquil escape from routine. It’s a date with nature that will transform your perspective on life. To plan the perfect trip, read our Kaziranga National Park travel guide.