|Armed Guard Accompanying Tourists|
We were told, this side of the park had mostly rhinos. Elephants stayed mostly on the eastern side of the park. We saw one lonely elephant at one point. But the herd was absent.
|Gypsy Waiting to Get Entry Permit|
|Tall Elephant Grass|
|Water Body and Grassland|
As we entered the park, we saw this rhino. The animal was probably engaged in a fight and had a deep wound on its body. An animal with such thick skin, which other animal can inflict such serious wound? May be another rhino, who knows? Apparently, the animal is carrying its injury for a week at least.
After spending close to 3 hours in the park, we returned to our lodge for lunch.
On this road to Manas, we realised our promised AC car did not have a functional AC. So India remains essentially the same, be it Punjab in north or Assam in east. We also realised drivers also remain essentially the same all through out India. Callous, impulsive and lack training on basic driving practice. Driver of our car would open pan masala sachet while driving at high speed. Then, he would spit out pan masala juice from his mouth, opening car door while driving at high speed. Driver would check his phone message, without slowing down. Even approaching heavy trucks, from the opposite side on an undivided road, would not instil fear of god in him. Repeated request to stop by road side and complete his business yielded a derisive laugh but no change of behaviour.
Lodge was fine. Room had three beds and an attached bath. Breakfast was complimentary. Lunch, dinner, tea and snacks we had to pay for.
Anyway, we reached eco village of Kakoijana. But on that day, langurs that normally frequent the village, were nowhere to be seen. We were approached by another man from the village. We were told that guide had actually phoned this man. This gentleman, also runs an NGO to protect wild animals in the region, which included pythons and langurs.
We then had to walk through paddy fields and a mountain trail to reach the langur. I have included photo of the bridge, of langur and a video of langur. Meanwhile, I had a fall, face first, on the paddy field. I was fortunate that I did not have my face stuck in cow dung and nobody was there to take a photo.
|Front Office of Astha|
|Our Room, Astha Nature Reserve|
|Ducks in Pond, Astha Nature Reserve|
|On the way to Nigambhola Tribal Village|
After lunch we moved on towards Jogigopha to observe sunset over Brahmaputra river.
- Manas National Park,
- Dibru Saikhowa National Park,
- Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary,
- Nameri National Park,
- Orang National Park,
- Hollongapar Wildlife Sanctuary,
- Dehing Patkal Wildlife Sanctuary,
- Chakrashila Wildlife Sanctuary.
I decided to go to Manas because I was very impressed by the beautiful scenery of Himalayan foothills with Manas river flowing. Brochure also said that we may see rhino and elephants. I was eager to one horned rhino at least once in my life time. When I expressed my desire to see rhino, travel agent insisted that I also visit Kaziranga. He said he will stake his life that I shall see rhino.
He chalked out a plan whereby we shall first visit Kakoijan and Manas on the western Assam. Then we shall move to Kaziranga in at the centre of the state and to Guahati. I did not realise how big a state Assam was, till I saw the map. Brahmaputra river splits the state roughly between northern and southern parts.
Our travel plan included going west ward from Guahati in Kamroop district and crossing Brahmaputra river at Goalpara district. We crossed over into Bongaigaon district and spent a night at Abhayapuri. We watched golden langurs and moved eastwards. At Barpeta town of Barpeta district, we left highway to reach Manas National Park. Afterwards, we moved eastward again crossed Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur districts. At Sonitpur we crossed Brahmaputra river again to reach Nowgaon district. We moved further east to reach Kaziranga in Jorhat district.
On the scheduled date, we took a flight to Guahati from Delhi. At Guahati we were booked at Baruah Bhavan, a heritage house. Owners live on the ground floor. First floor of the house with 6 rooms have been converted into a guest house. Guests must remember Baruah Bhavan is not a hotel. Guests have to request their meal in advance and indicate their preference for veg or non veg meal. Guests must also adhere to rules and regulations of the guest house. We had our dinner and breakfast at the guest house.
Situated at Ujanbazar area of Guahati, Baruah Bhavan is a traditional Assamese bungalow. It is 23 km from airport and located at the heart of the city. Gauhati high court is within walking distance. So is residence of chief justice. Baruch Bhavan has some old style furnitures and mirrors. Unconfirmed sources claim one mirror was used in movie Parineeta.
Though cost of staying was included in our package. I found out that one night stay in the guest house costs less than 3000 rupees. Meals cost extra. Room comes with a TV, air conditioner and attached bath. Service is polite and efficient.
|Our Room at Baruah Bhavan|
|Living / Dining Room|
After staying one night at Baruah Bhavan, we moved on with our journey.