Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - A rhino here and a rhino there

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Our first rhino sighting even before we entered the park

Photo of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Pabitara, Assam, India by Gayatri Cherian

March 21st, 2017: After a freak accident that left me limping around and unable to undertake the long trip to Manas National Park that we had planned, we decided to take a short trip to Pobitora and spend a day there.

How far is it and how we got there: Pobitora is around 45-47 kms from Guwahati. We took the NH27 from Guwahati and then turned left to SH 3B. The drive on the highway was pleasant and quick, roads are excellent and so is the view; the only hitch is getting out of Guwahati and the traffic bottleneck in Khanapara. But the road off the highway to the Sanctuary is narrow and potholed and it slowed down our speed quite a bit. The ride took us around two hours total from Guwahati.

The view on the way

Photo of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - A rhino here and a rhino there by Gayatri Cherian

Best time to visit Pobitora: Like all the wildlife sanctuaries here, Pobitora is best visited from October to April. Once the rain starts, the floods happen and the park remains closed.

Charges: The entry fee to the park is around 100 rupees and you have to pay extra charges for cameras. The jeep safari is 850 per jeep which will carry only six people. The river cruise costs 3000 rupees.

Jeep Safari

Photo of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - A rhino here and a rhino there by Gayatri Cherian

Things we did there: Early in the morning is the best time to reach Pobitora as the elephant safaris are available until 9 a.m. in the morning only. If you do not want to miss them, you can either leave Guwahati early and reach there before 9 a.m., or you can stay at the beautiful lodges that the park has. We left Guwahati at around 11 a.m., as we were not planning to take the elephant safari.

Even before reaching the park, we spotted a rhino grazing from the road and we were so excited that we stopped the car and got down to take a better look and to get some pics. There are jeep safaris and river cruises. The jeep safari is for an hour and the river safari is around one and a half hours, both available till 4 p.m. The jeep safaris remain closed from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch break and unfortunately we reached around that time. But we did not mind hanging around on the Hadug Hanging Bridge watching the beautiful view around and sipping on some refreshing tea and local sweets from the small tea shop near the ticket counter. There is also a small children's park, so the kids could remain entertained while we waited.

Orchids in bloom

Photo of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - A rhino here and a rhino there by Gayatri Cherian

We booked two jeeps because we were eight people and with a ranger beside the driver in each jeep, we set off into the forest. The jeep safari gets exciting and a bit scary as it goes deep into the jungle and we had learnt from the ranger that there are jaguars too in the jungle, although only seen by the rangers at nighttime. It was a balmy day without any sun and quite chilly. We had many rhino sightings. Pobitora is the best place to see the rhino at close range as it has a rhino population of more than a 100. We loved watching the baby rhinos. We also saw wild boars and bison. Orchids had just started blossoming and the forest was filled with them; we later learnt that the forest has 108 types of orchids, although it being early spring, the orchids were not in bloom yet. The water bodies were home to a variety of birds. The ranger provided us with stories of the forest and anecdotes as we enjoyed the safari. We also got to see the apartments of the forest rangers deep inside the forest.

On our return, it was past lunchtime and although there are one or two places near the park to eat, we decided to wait until we reached the highway because you are spoilt for choice once you hit the highway. After a nice hot meal at Dichang on the highway, we were back home by 6 p.m. Although, I am not a wildlife kind of person, all in all it was quite a pleasurable day trip and if you are hard on time during your north-east trip, the best and easiest place to see Assam's famous rhino in the wild, at close range.

View from the Hadug Hanging Bridge

Photo of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - A rhino here and a rhino there by Gayatri Cherian
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