KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK

Tripoto
Photo of KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK by Amitabh Sarma

You might have been to other National Parks in the country and these are beautiful and complicated jungles – some more beautiful than the flatland flora of Kaziranga. But the entire tourism industry in these parks is centered on showing you the tiger. The embellished anecdotes, the excited walkie-talkie exchanges… they all build up to an unforgettable or unhappy climax, depending on your luck. But it’s different here.

Nobody speaks of tigers here. This is surprising at first since the park has the highest tiger density in the world. But for some reason – the height of the grasses, the limitations of the tourist trails or perhaps a localized laziness of the great beasts. Sightings though have increased lately. But there is an extremely healthy focus on everything else. Rhinoceroses, of course, and swamp deer (barasingha), and wild water buffalos. The rhinos generally mind their own business and munch absentmindedly on the grass, only moving off when you come in for a closer look. They are prone to doing funny and inexplicable things. Even showier are the birds, Kaziranga harbors several large, easily-visible species.Adjuntant storks, bar-headed geese and eagles of all varieties stand elegantly in shallow ponds, posture regally upon bare branches and circles above with languorous ease. You find committees of vultures feasting on carcasses, a few among them standing with bored or stated expressions. You might find an otter doing a very bad job of fishing, plunging in and out of the water until a tormented fish jumps out, only to land in the waiting beak of a fishing pond heron. Elsewhere, you hear bands of Alexandrian parakeets go pop-crackle-crunch on richly –endowed berry trees.

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