Manas Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in the Himalayan foothills about 176 km from Guwahati in Assam, Manas National Park is home to some of the most amazing flora and fauna species. Apart from being a National Park, it is also a wildlife sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Tiger reserve and a Biosphere reserve.

The park got its name from the Manas River which flows through the western part of the park. Spread over an area of 950 sq km, Manas National Park forms the core area of Chirang Ripu Elephant Reserve. The reserve covers an area of over 2600 sq km and stretches upto Bhutan.

A treat for wildlife lovers, Manas is famous for being the home to tigers, rhinoceros and elephant population. The national park is also home to red panda, golden langur and other 90 stunning species of fauna that include 55 varieties of mammals. Manas National Park is the second biggest tiger reserve in the country.

The national park also attracts various exotic species of birds. Over 450 bird species that include Bengal florican, great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, etc. are also found in the national park.

About 50 per cent of the park is covered with grasslands and deciduous forest. The national park also has rich aquatic flora along the banks of Manas River.

Tips

  • Apart from entry fees, additional charges would have to be paid for cameras and video recorders.
  • Park remains open from 5:30 am to 6:30 pm.

History

The sactuary was once the hunting ground of the Cooch Behar royal family and Raja of Gauripur.

Before being declared a sanctuary, the area was divided into two reserved forests – Manas Reserve Forest and North Kamrup Reserve Forest. On October 1, 1928 they were merged into a single wildlife sanctuary. In 1955, the expanse of the sanctuary was increased to 391 sq km from its original area of 360 sq km.

Manas Tiger reserve was created in 1973. In 1985, Manas was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kahitama Reserve Forest, Kokilabari Reserve Forest and Panbari Reserve Forest were added as part of the sanctuary in 1990 and declared a National Park.

Due to excessive poaching, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site in Danger in 1992. However, it was removed from the list in 2011. In 2008, the area of the sanctuary was further expanded to 950 sq km.

Fun facts

  • The sactuary was once the hunting ground of the Cooch Behar royal family and Raja of Gauripur.

Where to stay

Manas National Park is a one-day destination. Tourists visiting the sanctuary generally prefer to stay at Guwahati. However, there are a few budget accommodation options in the sanctuary. The government-run inspection bungalow offers scenic views of the forest. Mid-range accommodation is provided by Manas Jungle Camp which is located on the eastern part of the sanctuary. There are a few cottages as well that provide accommodation facilities. Few private lodges are located just outside the park.

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Where to eat

There are no eating options within the park. However, one can ask the caretakers of the cottage and camp house to cook meals. Limited eating options are available just outside the park. Since, Manas National Park is a one-day destination; it is advisable to carry food hampers.

Best time to visit

Manas National Park receives heavy rainfall during monsoon. Most of the animals are also tough to spot during rains. October to April is the best time to visit the sanctuary.

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