Situated at the foothills of the mighty Eastern Himalayas, Manas National Park is a densely forested area at an average elevation of 85m above sea-level. Sprawling over an area of 2837 sq. km, it offers unique biodiversity and landscape. It acquired the status of a Biosphere Reserve in 1989 and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 1985. It got its name from the Manas River, which, in turn, is a great tributary of the river Brahmaputra that passes through the park. It is interesting to note that in 1992, UNESCO had declared this National Park as a world heritage site in danger, owing to heavy poaching and terrorist activities. Eventually, in 2011, it was removed from the list, receiving huge accolades for its efforts of preservation.
Manas National Park is flooded by tourists from all over the world who visit to catch glimpses of many wildlife species such as the Golden Langur, Pygmy Hog, Hispid Hare, Assam Roofed Turtle, Wild Water Buffaloes, etc. If you are planning to visit Assam, you must include the Manas National Park in your itinerary. As far as flora is concerned, you would not be disappointed either since the Burma monsoon forests of Manas lies on the edges of between the Indo-Gangetic and Indo-Malayan bio-geographical regions. The Manas National Park area is located between two districts of Assam- Chirang and Baksa. It is divided into three ranges, Panbari being the western range, Bansbari being the central, and the eastern is Bhuiyapara near Pathsala.
Blog post: Top 5 stunning national parks in Assam
Sighting of a one-horned rhino at Manas National Park
Activities in Manas National Park
Manas National Park tourism offers a wide range of activities for tourists to enjoy. You can have a relaxing vacation as well as some adventurous experiences to be ticked off your bucket list amidst the bounty of nature.
- Jeep safari: Being home to over 20 endangered species of birds and animals, Manas National Park promises sightings of exotic wildlife sanctuary animals including Assam roofed turtle, pygmy hog, and hispid hare. The rare visual treats in the raw surroundings of nature will leave you overwhelmed.
- Elephant safari: You can spot animals while riding on an elephant’s back and taking a tour of the park. With an elephant ride, getting access to remote regions where jeeps are not allowed becomes easier.
- River rafting: If you are a wildlife enthusiast who also likes to have an adrenaline rush once in a while, river rafting on the Manas River will surely take you by delight! The 35 km ride through the slow waters will give you an elaborate tour of the wild deciduous forests teeming with as many as 400 species of birds. The private tour operators will give you an idea of the charges involved.
- Visit village and tea plantations: Being home to local Bodo villages, the sanctuary has several small indigenous communities of Ghatigaon and Ragu Bil living peacefully together. If you get a chance, you can join them in their music and dance sessions for a really unique experience. You can also enjoy the sight of several tea plantations right outside the park. In case you want to take a walk through their estate, you can make a halt at Fatemabad Tea Estate next to Bansbari Lodge.
- Birdwatching: Once you are in Manas National Park get your binoculars ready as you can spot a number of fancy birds here. A region enriched with fauna, it will prove to be a paradise of sorts for bird-lovers particularly, since every direction resonates with their coos.
Rare visual treats at Manas National Park
How to reach Manas National Park
This utopian destination, where you can find the harmonious co-existence of several diverse wildlife species, is accessible via various modes of transport.
- By Air: The nearest airport to Manas National Park is Guwahati, which is a 5-hour drive away. You can avail of flights from Bagdogra, Kolkata, Delhi, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Goa, and so on. Simply avail of a private taxi to reach here from the airport.
- By Rail: All major cities of India are well-connected to Guwahati, including Rajdhani Express. You can get down at Barpeta Road Railway Station, which is 22kms to Bansbari by road. Bansbari is the entry point to Manas National Park where Musa Jungle Retreat is located.
- By Road: If you are travelling by road, it will take you approximately 5 hours to reach the National Park from Guwahati, with the distance being 176 km. Bansbari is connected to Barpeta Road via the INH 27.
Accommodation in Manas National Park
Hotels are quite scarce in Manas National Park. However, you can find a host of comfortable lodges offering decent accommodation and the overall experience being comparable to a hotel. Also, note that most of the accommodation options here can arrange safaris too.
Best Time to visit Manas National Park
The best time to visit the Manas National Park is between November and April. These months not only promise pleasant weather but also raise the likelihood of spotting more fauna. The Park remains open on all days during the course of these 6 months, barring exceptional circumstances such as rain or safety. Note that Manas National Park is partially open in the months of May and October. On the other hand, Manas National Park remains closed from June to September due to monsoons.
Apart from Manas National Park, Assam has several other national parks you should check out:
Top 4 National Parks in Assam
Orang National Park
Nameri National Park
Kaziranga National Park
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Explore national parks in Assam