Country hangovers has been real for me ever since I was a teenager , growing up amidst the lush greenery of Assam. Landmarks like the Kaziranga, Shiv Dol,Ranghar, Agnigarh or kamakhya temple have been etched in my mind forever. So when I landed in Kaziranga national park, my happiness knew no bound. It was one of my most memorable trips. I managed to experience the best of Kaziranga. I visited a few tourist spots, got a glimpse of its royal legacy, took an elephant Saffari, a zeep safari, went on a couple of walking tours on my own, explored its heritage, chilled at some ethnic restaurants, walked around an old market, experienced some of the unique things to do in Kaziranga and even visited the nearby Karbi villages. Kaziranga is one of the happening destinations in Northeast.
My tryst with Kaziranga started while reading Arup Kumar Dutta’s Kaziranga Trial. It is fascinating to get a glimpse of Kaziranga, which is a dense national park. You almost feel like you are walking into each chapter of the book when you enter Kaziranga. While the forest has been in the news for rhino poaching , there are several other reasons why you should visit the magnificent Kaziranga. It is not just the one-horned rhino resident, but several tourists head here for Kaziranga sightseeing. There are many places to visit in and around. Kaziranga. The migratory birds appeal the tourist by their sweet melodious chirpings.
Kaziranga had a story everywhere. There was a charm around the forest that can only be experienced and there was no better way to do it than to stay in the luxurious and elegant Borgos Resort, a little hidden gem which stood right amidst the forest.
Every room here offered hypnotic views of the forest and I woke up either looking at the pristine sun or at the golden orb of the moon rising from the horizon. Borgos Resort was so unlike the other resorts that I had been to. I spended the night there. The resort also offered me a relaxing spa, treating myself to a massage as I felt rejuvenated. It was the perfect holiday. I could not have asked for more, except that I wished that i could be here for a longer period. Personally for me it was one of the best retreats and places to visit in Assam.
Next day was a cool spring day, under the warm blue sky, I set out hiking along through Kaziranga national park. Along the gushing river I walked, past small waterfalls and streams so intense that I couldn’t hear my own jumbled thoughts. A wild deer ran past me on the trail, stopped just a few feet away and turned to face me before darting off; my heart skipped a few beats as I could think anything.
I’ve been lucky enough to hike through some incredible landscapes in Kaziranga. The life in Kaziranga felt so different in the rugged beauty, solitude on the trails with only wild creatures to keep me company, locals who speak Assamese and Karbi, the surreal feeling of being somewhere far off the beaten path.
Dramatic landscapes, wildflower-filled meadows, fields of blooming yellow rapeseed flowers, jagged peaks often clad in mist, pristine rivers and waterfalls, wooded hiking trails – need I say more? I fell in love with Kaziranga.
Truth be told, writing this post makes me feel pretty conflicted. On the one hand, I worry that its pristine beauty might no longer remain if word got around. But on the other, I think the only way to combat overtourism is to spread out, travel in search of our own paradise and in the quest, realise what we’ve got to lose if we don’t travel responsibly.
While the kohorachowk of Kaziranga is probably the most popular tourist settlement in the national park, the real beauty of the forest begins after entering the northern gate. The zeep safari ply frequently from kohora.
Another major attractions lies around 2kms from kohora where indigenous people employ traditional methods of manufacturing leather from animal skin. The village has a wooded trail with stunning views, wooden bridge, a crystal clear river and a gushing waterfall.
My time in Kaziranga toppled my notion of India’s national parks. In the last few years, I had made my peace with the idea that most traditional ways of life in national forest rural Indian communities will die out with the younger generations – and we can’t begrudge them that, for each of us seek “modern” comforts and easier lives, and it’s only fair that they should too.
The residents of Kaziranga villages share valuable ideas of the urban world with the locals – the importance of fitness, flavors from international cuisines, and slowly, the online world. At the same time, Kaziranga folks encourage them to keep the wisdom of the traditional world – preserve their forest, cultivation, retain their innate hospitality towards outsiders. It’s okay if the youngsters in the Kaziranga village want to move away for work, but they shouldn’t have to leave out of desperation or boredom. And I witnessed that philosophy in action every section of my stay in Kaziranga.
Even as the folk of Kaziranga dealt with serious issues personally and as a group, juggling the hats of homestay hosts, entrepreneurs, guides, activists and homemakers, there was never a moment without laughter, playful teasing and gratitude for the lighter moments.
I was fortunate enough to witness the elephant festival. As the festival began, I was amazed to see every villagers participating in every event.
I continued exploring the national park. My favourite haunt was the silent fishing harbour along the picturesque estuary of the river Bramhaputra as it meandered into a little stream. The fishermen were at work with their nets as I wandered away taking in the beauty of nature. The one horn rhino, the elephants gave such a pleasant sight.
Kaziranga gives the glimpse of the insight, so why miss the opportunity to look within ourself ?