Among The One-Horned Rhinos

Posted On November 27, 2009 

Common Info:

Kaziranga National Park (area: 378 square kilometres) is a World Heritage Site located in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam in north-eastern India. The location on the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot, the park has high biodiversity. The kaziranga area has four main administrative ranges, namely, Burapahar, Baguri, Central and Eastern. Famous for its one-horned Rhinoceros, the park was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 and is also an Important Bird Area. The park was established in 1905 and has served as the subject of major books and documentaries. The park is reputed for its wildlife reservations in India. The wildlife wing of the forest department of the state government of Assam looks after the management of Kaziranga.

Kaziranga national park rhinoCountry Info:

India is world’s seventh largest country located in the southern Asia. It has borders with Pakistan in the north-west, China, Nepal and Bhutan in north, Myanmar, Bangladesh in the east. The peninsular south is flanked by the Bay of Bengal in the east, Arabian Sea in the west and Indian Ocean in the south. The country is the world’s second largest in terms of population. National capital is New Delhi.


Kaziranga stretches for a distance of 40 km from east to west and 13 km from north to south. The elevation of the park region ranges from 131 feet to 262 feet (the west being lower than the eastern part). The Brahmaputra River forms the eastern and northern boundaries of the park while Mora Diphlu marks its southern boundary. Other rivers that flow through the park are Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri. The park consists of fertile, alluvial soil formed by silt deposition by the Brahmaputra. There are elevated areas in the park called chapories (including many artificial ones) which act as shelter for animals during floods. The park is situated in the Indomalaya ecozone. Kaziranga experiences mainly three seasons: summer (March to May), monsoon (June to October) and winter (November to February). The annual rainfall is 2,220 mm. Heavy monsoons submerge the western part of the park causing the animals to migrate to higher regions like the Mikir Hills. The wild inmates also face food shortage during dry spells. The climate varies from hot and humid summer to warm days an d cold nights in winter.


Kaziranga consists of four main types of vegetation including alluvial inundated grasslands, tropical mixed deciduous forests, alluvial savanna woodlands and tropical semi-evergreen forests. Swamps, water bodies and sand make up a minute part of the landscape here. The higher areas are found to be covered with tall elephant grass while the lower regions have shorter grass. Tall grass types are elephant grass, sugarcanes, common reed and others. Kumbhi, Indian gooseberry, cotton are some of the trees found in the park. Aquatic flora types are found in the water bodies and along the river banks.


Besides the one-horned Rhinos and the tigers, kaziranga is known for elephants, panthers, wild Asiatic water buffaloes, eastern swamp deer, sambar, wild boar, hog deer and bears besides a rich avifauna diversity. Small mammal species like Indian Gray Mongoose, civets, pangolins, golden jackal, langur, baboon, flying squirrels, Gangetic Dolphins and sloth bear are also found here. The park has 35 different mammals out of which 15 are endangered. Two variants of the monstrous python like the Reticulated Python and the Rock Python as well as the King Kobra also inhabit the park. Other snake species like Indian Cobra, Common Krait, Russell’s Viper are also found here. Lizards and turtles and one type of tortoise, the Brown Tortoise are also found here. The park is also home to 42 different fish species including the Tetradon.

Kaziranga has the world’s largest concentration of the Great indian One-Horned Rhinoceros (the population of water buffalo and swamp deer here are also the largest in the world). It is also one of the few places outside Africa that is breeding ground of large cats like tigers, leopards besides fishing cats and leopard cats.

One-horned Rhino:

Kaziranga has played a big role in preserving the famous one-horned Rhino. Thanks to the extensive conservation efforts, the number of rhinos here has increased from a paltry 200 to over 1,500. Two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhinos live in the Kaziranga. Dense forest covers and large open water meadows serve as perfect habitat for these rhinos. However, influx of immigrant farmers, pollution threat from oil refineries and land encroachment by tea planters pose major threat to these animals’ habitats. pollution risks from the oil refineries located close by and land grabbing by tea planters.

Avifauna in Kaziranga:

Birdlife International has accorded Kaziranga with Important Bird Area status owing to its rich avifauna diversity. The park has a variety of migratory birds, birds of prey, water birds, scavengers and game birds.

Kaziranga national park assamSome of the important birds of found in this park include:
  • Baer’s Pochard duck
  • Black-necked stork
  • Asian Openbill stork
  • Lesser Adjutant (all these are migratory birds that arrive at the park during winter)
  • White-bellied heron
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • Black-bellied Tern (these are all water birds)
  • Pallas’ Fish Eagle
  • Lesser Kestrel
  • Grey-headed Fish Eagle (these are some of the birds of prey)
  • Scavenger birds like vultures including Indian Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture and Indian White-rumped Vulture. Kaziranga once had seven vulture species but slowly the vulture population has reached near extinction.
  • Bengal Florican
  • Pale-capped Pigeon
  • Swamp Francolin (these are game birds)
  • Hornbills
  • Babblers
  • Weavers
  • Grassbird
Activities at the park:
  • Wildlife safari on elephant back or jeep. There are also observation towers distributed at places like Sohola, Kathpara, Foliamari and Harimoti to view wildlife. Booking of elephant or jeep rides must be booked in advance. There are motorable trails inside the park under the Kohora, Bagori and Agaratoli ranges. Visitors can take their own vehicles only when accompanied by guides.
  • Bird watching
  • Visiting the interpretation centre at the park where visitors can get more information and knowledge about the park
  • Buying forest products and local handicrafts near the Mihimukh entrance of Kaziranga National Park.
  • Visiting the Karby Anglong hills. The amphitheatre built of the Ahom kings called ‘Rong Ghor’ in Shiv Sagar is also a nice place to visit.

Time to visit the park: The best time to visit the park is from November and March. The park remains closed from April to October due to the monsoons.

Kaziranga national park accommodationAccommodation at the park:
  • Bonoshree Tourist Lodge
  • Bonani Tourist Lodge
  • Prantik Tourist Lodge (all maintained by the state government of Assam)
  • Tourist lodges at Kohora
  • Three lodges inside the Kaziranga
  • Wild Grass Resort
  • Diphlu River Lodge.

How to reach Kaziranga: Kaziranga is well-connected by rail, road and airway. Furkating is the nearest railway station which is connected by trains from New Dehi and Kolkata. Jorhat is the nearest airport and is well connected to Kolkata, New Delhi and Guwahati. The park is also accessible from Tezpur and Guwahati airports. Besides, state and private buses from Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat and other places stop at Kaziranga at Kohora. There are also guided motorbike tours to tour Assam and other parts of the north-east India. The nearest town to Kaziranga is Bokakhat which is just 23 kilometres away.

Kaziranga in popular culture:

Kaziranga has been made famous in a variety of creatuive and literary works like:

  • Documentary called Kaziranga produced by a physician-turned-photographer and filmmaker Robin Banerjee
  • Children’s storybook called Kaziranga Trail
  • Bhupen Hazarika, the famous singer from Assam sang a song on Kaziranga
  • Queen of the Elephants, a book and a documentary by BBC conseravtionist and travel writer Mark Shand.

Permits inside the Kaziranga: For elephant ride, the fee is Rs 180 per person while for jeep ride the amount is Rs 850 per person. Carrying still camera would cost an extra Rs 50.

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