Manas National Park is situated by the side of Manas river. This river originates from Bhutan and merges in Brahmaputra. At the gate of Manas, one has to pay entry fee and show necessary documents for identification. In our case, this process was taken care by travel agency. One guard armed with a 0.303 rifle accompanied us.
A road runs through the reserve to Bhutan. From gate of Manas, Bhutan border is probably less than 40 km. Cars and jeeps regularly ply on the forest road. However, if you get a flat tyre, as our vehicle did, then you are in trouble.
We went all the way from gate of Manas to Matanguri, the last Indian habitation. Mathanguri is a very scenic spot. Bright sunlight, tall mountains, flowing river and all. One can spend whole day lazing by the river side.
Compared to her famous cousin Kaziranga, very few people outside Assam probably know of Manas. The park is a biosphere reserve, world heritage site according to UNESCO. Park is part of Chirang Ripu elephant reserve. It is home to many endangered species. Which include wild elephants, rhinos, wild buffalo, gaur bison, tiger, a variety of simians including , wild hog, hispid hare, civets, etc. According to many observers, Manas has seen bad days. During insurgency in Assam, many animals were killed / poached. Now it is believed animals are coming back and reserve is bouncing back.
Though forest in Manas is very dense, we found forest to be very quiet. We did not see langurs, monkeys and deers. From a very long distance, our guide pointed to a herd of wild buffalo by the side of river. I do not know if these animals had moved on that day to other part of the reserve. As we reached grassland area of the reserve, it was nearing dark, we saw two rhinos strolling.
In the same spot a forest guard told us in a nearby area a python (ajgar) had swallowed a monkey. So animals were there in some other part of the forest. Then our guid directed us towards a herd of elephants. We also saw a wild buffalo.
It was around 4.30 pm in the evening. Manas National Park was getting dark. We were moving on the trails around grasslands. Our guide pointed in one direction. We saw this herd of wild elephants grazing on the grassland. I recorded their movement using my camera.
By five in the evening, darkness descended on the park. It was also becoming very cold. We did not have permission to stay on the park beyond our time limit. We returned back to Birina Lodge.