Against the backdrop of the Eastern Himalayas lies a grass and jungle habitat of unparalleled beauty. Tigers, elephants, golden langurs and Bengal Floricans share this exquisite wilderness with other rare and endangered species. The name of the park is originated from the Manas River, which is named after the serpent goddess Manasa. The Manas river is a major tributary of Brahmaputra River, which passes through the heart of the national park presenting one of earth’s most timeless vistas. The Park has vast deciduous forests where the dense cover often cuts out the light. Manas National Park is the only Project Tiger in Assam. The Manas Reserve, located in the foothills of the Bhutan hills, far from human habitation, is a world in itself.
The Manas National Park was declared a sanctuary on October 1, 1928 , Tiger reserve was in 1973 and a World Heritage site in December 1985 by UNESCO. In 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to heavy poaching and terrorist activities. On 21st June 2011, it was removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger and was commended for its efforts in preservation.
The sanctuary has recorded 55 species of mammals, 380 species of birds, 50 of reptiles, and 3 species of amphibians. Out of these wildlife, 21 mammals are India’s Schedule I mammals and 31 of them are threatened. The fauna of the sanctuary include Asian Elephants, Indian Rhinoceros, Gaurs, Asian Water Buffaloes, Tigers, Asian golden cat, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, and Assamese Macaques among others. The park is well known for its rare and endangered wildlife which is not found anywhere else in the world like the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog. Manas have the largest population of endangered Bengal Florican.
Manas has over 540 species of plants, which include some rare orchids. The Elaichi phool is a gorgeous flower that can be dazzling in full bloom in the months between January and March. It also houses certain rare plant species as well.
A visit here feels a true outing into the lap of nature due to it’s distance
from any kind of proper civilization. It is located at around 40km from the first hint of civilization at Barpeta. The park actually continues across the international border into Bhutan, where it is known as the Royal Manas National Park.
Manas National Park can be referred as a ‘Four in one’ wildlife sanctuary, as it is an important project tiger reserve, an elephant reserve, a biosphere reserve in Assam and also an UNESCO world heritage site.