Manas wildlife sanctuary is many things besides being a wildlife sanctuary. It is a UNESCO world heritage site, a national park, a project tiger reserve, an Indian elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve. The park derives its name from the Manas River that flows in the region. This is contiguous with the royal National Manas National Park that lies in Bhutan. The park is specifically a home for many endangered and rare species such as Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog.
The park lies in the state of Assam and falls into 5 major districts, with a total acreage of about 1000sq km. A forest village is there in the park one village. Apart from this, there are 56 other villages that surround the park. Three ranges- Western, central and eastern are there in this park. Most visitor activity is seen around the Western range and near the Bhutan border.
Majority of the park is densely forested at the foothills of the Himalayas. Of course the river Manas flows through the park near the central range, creating a major tourist spot at many meadows. 5 other smaller river too flows through the park, making the landscape very diverse.
This is one such park which has hospitable summer and winter temperatures. The climate is temperate and welcoming in all seasons except monsoon. Monsoon occurs between May and September and average rainfall is about 333cm.
Flora and Faunna
With so many water bodies, the vegetation is both- blooming and diverse. There are some monsoon forests that lie in the Brahmaputra ecoregion. Accounting for the Himalayan soil, makes it one of the few rich bio diversities of this scale on the planet. The sanctuary has identified 380 species of birds, 3 species of amphibians, 50 of reptiles and 55 species of mammals. There are 31 rare species. The Park is home to 31 endangered and other Indian Schedule I species. This feat demands applaud. The general species include but are not only gaurs, Asian water buffaloes, barasingha, Indian tigers, Indian leopards, clouded leopards, Asian golden cats, dholes and capped langurs.
The manas wildlife sanctuary forms the core of the Manas national Park. The entry to the national park is pennies on the dollar, negligible. There are some parking charges, negligible as well. However the case is different for non-Indian citizens. You may drive your four wheel drive vehicle into the park at an extra charge. The tourist office also has options for guided jeep safari, trekking and boat rides through the park.
The park is very famous for wildlife observation, since one can spot many rare species of mammals and reptiles that does not exist elsewhere. The opportunities for bird watching are immense and similarly some rare species may come in sight.
How to Reach?
The park is accessible by Air, rail or road. The nearest airport is Guwahati, 176 km away. The Guwahati airport has connections to major national and international cities. From Guwahati Manas may is accessible by taxis or helicopters. Railways are also a good option. Barpeta is the nearest railway station, 22 km away. The easiest way is by road. The Highway to Guwahati connects the National park to all nearby destinations.