Lying down on the Himalaya foothills in the state of Assam, Manas National Park or Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is a striking wildlife habitat in India that adds in the beauty of its magnificent landscape. The park was also announced as a Natural World Heritage (in danger) Site by UNESCO. Not only this, it is also being named as Tiger Reserve, Elephant Reserve and Biosphere Reserve, as the park is fully occupied with large number of tigers, elephants and other fauna & flora species. It's a beautiful paradise on earth, always pampered by visitors due to its rich wildlife. Common wildlife species like the Golden Langur, Pygmy Hog, Hispid Hare, Assam Roofed Turtle, Wild Water Buffaloes, etc., are other main attractions of the park that draw many tourists from all over the world.
The name of the national park was originated from the Manas River, which is identified after the serpent goddess Manasa. The river is great tributary of river Brahmaputra that passes via the core of the national park. Earlier, the park was announced as a sanctuary on 1st October, 1928, which was spread in 360 sq. km of area. Prior to sanctuary, it was named as Manas R.F. and North Kamrup R.F as it was reserved forest. In the year 1951 and 1955, the forest area was increased to 391 km² and Manas Bioreserve made in the year 1973. In 1985, the park was declared as Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Later in the year 1990, Kahitama R.F. and the Panbari R.F. were also included to create Manas National Park. But in 1992, UNESCO confirmed the park as world heritage site in danger because of hunting and terrorist actions. In the year 2008, the area was suddenly increased to 950 km² in the month of February. Recently, UNESCO has removed its name from the list of World Heritage in Danger on 21 June 2011, and was much-admired for its efforts in protection.
Situated in the foothills of Eastern Himalayas of western Assam, Manas National Park surrounds Chirang, Darrang, Kokrajhar, Udalguri and Baska districts of Assam. Manas Wildlife Sanctuary is separated into three ranges namely Bansbari (Central), Panbari (Western), and Bhuiapara (Eastern). The park is spread in the area of 950 sq km and the height is around 61-110 meters above msl (mean sea level).
Flora in Manas National Park
The Burma monsoon forest of Manas is located on the edges between the Indo-Gangetic and Indo-Malayan biogeographical regions.
Some major types of flora include:
However, there are around 543 plants species that was recorded from the centre zone in which 139 species monocotyledons, 374 species are dicotyledons (with 89 trees), and 30 are Pteridophytes & Gymnosperms respectively. While on the other side, the grasslands are reined by Saccharum naranga, Imperata cylindrica, Arundo donax, Phragmites karka, Phyllanthus emblica, Dillenia pentagyna, Bombax ceiba, Clerodendrum, Premna, Leea, Grewia, Mussaenda, etc.
Other common trees are:
Fauna in Manas National Park
The park has rich wildlife where large number of animals and birds exist. As per the record, there are approx 450 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, 55 species of mammals and few species of amphibians. The main attractions of forest are Leopard, Tiger, and Panther.
Other fauna of the forest include:
Species of Birds Include:
In and Around Manas National Park
The wildlife sighting, river banks, The Guwahati Tea Auction Centre (GATC), and a monastery & shrine of the Vaishnavite reformer, Mahadeva are interesting spots in Manas National Park that are extremely admired by tourists.
Other nearby tourist places from the park includes Siliguri, Bagdogra, Kaziranga, and so on. Taking short trip to these places give great pleasure and add extra fun during trip. Traveling in and around the park is like being pampered by the nature and relishing the uniqueness of the place. The scenic beauty and wildlife unite with this distinctive region to offer one of the most beguiling experiences.
Safari Activities & Timings in Manas National Park
The best time to explore the park is from October to April. Safari activities are available here through which one can enjoy the view of wildlife by keeping their eyes on.
Safari activities that are available here include:
Elephant Safari- It is available at Bansbari to view & explore flora and fauna of the forest.
Jeep Safari-A perfect way to explore the park in a 4-wheel (Jeep) drive vehicle as one can view tigers, leopard and other animals by being safe on the other side.
Jeep Safaris are permitted from sunrise to sunset for sightseeing inside the park.
How to Reach
By Air- The nearest airport is Guwahati (180 kms/5 hrs drive approx) Regular flights are also available from Bagdogra, New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Dibrugarh, Goa, Jorhat by Jet Airways, Indian Airlines (Air India), Indigo, and so on.
By Rail- Barpeta Road is the nearest railhead (32 km from Manas). Guhwati is another option to reach the park.
By Road- Guwahati is the nearest one to go by road as its only 176 kms (5 hours) away from Manas. The NH 31 connects Barpeta Road (22 kms) to Bansbari.
Other nearest routes to Manas include: