Spotting a Tiger in the Wild Grasslands of Kaziranga
Stories of the rocky hills, the distinct culture, and the dramatic landscapes made me want to visit North-east India for a long time.
After many days of trying to find some time, I finally traveled all the way up to these enchanting regions of India.
On the first day, I visited the Brahmaputra Ghat in Gauhati where I sailed on the Alfresco cruise. The evening on the cruise was dreamy. The view of the sun slipping into the mountains while the cruise sailed into the little islands was simply glorious.
In Pursuit of Wildlife
Next day, I visited the Kaziranga National Park in Assam and stayed on till the next day. I spent my night at a petit cottage in the forests of Kaziranga.
Kaziranga National Park is known for the one-horned rhinoceros which is hardly found anywhere else in the world. I went on a jeep safari and spotted many of them from a distance. Some of us were lucky enough to see a rhino that terrified all of us by jumping out of the bushes, so close to the Jeep. The driver who had earlier experienced an attack swiftly drove past the animal.
The Great Indian Rhinoceros
Spotting A Tiger In The Wild
The next morning I was up and ready by 4 in the morning since I had something exciting waiting for us.
I was all packed and ready for an adventurous elephant safari. There were around 15 elephants carrying people into the wild lands of Kaziranga National Park. As the sun rose from behind the hills, the herd of elephants slowly dragged themselves into the forest roads and cut into the mushy grasslands and went through the large ponds. The wild bulls, the little birds, and the dears ran as they saw the herd approaching. This bird's eye view of the forest with all these animals was absolutely mind-blowing.
Although the safari was an amazing experience, I noticed something very heartbreaking. The elephants that took us into the wild were tied with many ropes all over its body and one rope even went around its tail.
The mahout had an iron rod with a hook-like edge which he used to guide the elephants. While most tourists enjoyed the safari into the wilderness, a few of us were taken aback. We couldn't really stop and get off because we were already in the wild.
The elephants took our group quite into the forests where we spotted many rhinos quite close to us. Unlike the Jeep Safari, the elephant safari gave us a closer view of the one-horned rhinos.
Watching the one-horned rhinos so close and out in the wild was exciting. While enjoying the view of all of this, we suddenly heard a roar from a bush right in front of the elephant. Suddenly, a tiger jumped out and swiftly ran from one bush to the other. Suddenly all the sleepy elephants were up and energetic, they began trumpeting and went closer to the bush, but the tiger disappeared into the wild grasslands.
To watch a tiger in the wild right in front of us was truly a lifetimes experience.
Orchids All Over The Place
After the two amazing Safaris, I visited the National Orchid Park located at Kaziranga National Park that exhibited many varieties of Orchids. The park also hosted a series of cultural art forms of North Eastern India. We went for the night show where an array of performances gave us a taste of the North Eastern cultures. One dance that I truly enjoyed was the Bamboo dance of the Karbi tribe.
What an evening well spent!
Silence By the River Chandubi
After experiencing all that Kaziranga had for us, I was back in Gauhati. The next day I visited the Chandubi lake.
The drive to the lake with friends was timeless, as we drove past many tea gardens and also went through the rural villages of North East India. In the Assam and Meghalaya border, we stopped at a little tea shop for a cup of LAL chai (red tea) where we were served some delicious Assamese tea. We were surprised when they charged us Rs. 3.75 for a cup.
The sleepy Chandubi lake seemed to be so detached from the rest of the world. The people living across the lake crossed the river on long rowing boats. Because of the rains we decided not to go rowing into the waters but we sat below a small structure right at the banks and watched the hills that sank into the river and the boats that went back and forth.
My journey to north East India came to an end as some friends came over and prepared for us some delicious pork dish with bamboo shoot, a delicacy in the North Eastern parts of India.