Trip Report North-East India
Destination Covers : Delhi – Kolkatta – Jorhat - Kaziranga
This trip started with meeting the group led by Dr. Fritz Jantschke at Kolkatta airport for Jorhat flight. My flight from Delhi landed late but still had enough time to meet the group and go through with them for security check up.
We were met on arrival in Jorhat by Apoorva, our local escort, who also was with the first group for North East prior to this one. A quick introduction and we were off to Kaziranga where we were booked in Wild Grass Wildlife Resort. A brief mention on this lodge – It came up many years ago under the able guidance of Manju Barua (fondly called Dada or Elder Brother). I have been lucky enough to be able to speak with him and also to meet him on many occasions. We reached lodge before the sunset and everyone from the group were quickly taken to their rooms. Re-assembled again in the dining hall for briefing about next day’s program.
Dinner and overnight at Wild Grass.
Destination Cover : Kaziranga
Decision had already been made previous night for going in for the 2nd ride on the Elephants (1st ride is at 05.30 A.M and lasts appx 1 hour). Reached our riding place and saw the elephants from the 1st ride coming back with their load of happy looking tourists.
Our turn and first encounter turned out to be a dead skin of a King Cobra. Further on in the swamp a pair of Lesser Adjutant Stork. Followed by 1st sighting of a big male Rhino. Everyone in the group was quite excited and I could hear many cameras clicking including mine. This male must have been involved in a fight for the female or a territory as he had a gash with blood still oozing out on the right side his head He was quite wary about us and had no intention of letting us any close to him. Our Mahout made a wise decision of keep a distance from him as Rhino’s are known to charge on slightest provocation.
Meanwhile, other Elephants with their load of tourist also converged at the same spot and this led to the Rhino turning away from all of us. Nothing mattered at that time as couple of other Rhino’s were spotted and everyone turned in their direction.
Other animals spotted during the course of ride were couple of Hog Deer. On the way back to the riding tower we encountered a herd of Asiatic Wild Buffaloes. These are most probably genetically the purest form of the domesticated buffaloes all over the world.
Returned back to the lodge for quick breakfast followed by another excursion in the Central Range of Kaziranga by jeep. Our convoy of 3 jeep had an armed guard in the first one mainly for our protection from any un-provoked charge of a Wild Elephant or of a Rhino. Driving down the forest track we soon reached a watch tower overlooking a large expanse of water body. A quick climb brought us on the top of tower and looking across we soon spotted a small herd of elephants along with lone rhino busy feeding on tender grass and shoots growing out from the water.
Later resumed our quest for seeing other animals. The lead jeep had stopped for taking pictures of Indian Roller sitting quite close to the track and all of a sudden heard angry growl of a tiger somewhere from our left Apparently tiger was disturbed by an approaching herd of elephants and was warning them not to come too close. We all stood on our toes thinking we will be able to see this magnificent animal but to no avail as the elephant grass was too high for effective viewing.
Resuming our drive we came upon another lake and spotted 3 Smooth Indian River Otters sitting on the opposite bank. Everyone was quite exited and soon picture taking session started.
While returning to the lodge we stopped at another watch tower overlooking a large water body.
Returned back to the lodge for overnight.