The Manas National Park, located in the Eastern Himalayas, is a unique habitat comprised of grasslands and jungles. It is home to rare and endangered species such as tigers, elephants, golden langurs, and Bengal Floricans. The park gets its name from the Manas River, which is named after the goddess Manasa and serves as a significant tributary of the Brahmaputra River. Running through the center of the national park, this river offers breathtaking views. The park boasts dense deciduous forests with thick foliage that often blocks natural light. As Assam’s only Project Tiger site, the Manas National Park holds a special distinction. Situated far away from human settlements in the foothills of Bhutan hills, it creates a self-contained world.
The Manas National Park was designated as a sanctuary on October 1, 1928, then proclaimed a Tiger reserve in 1973, and finally recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in December 1985. However, in 1992, UNESCO declared it as a world heritage site in danger due to extensive poaching and terrorist actions. Fortunately, on June 21, 2011, it was delisted as a World Heritage in Danger site and was praised for its preservation efforts.
The sanctuary has documented 55 kinds of mammals, 380 types of birds, 50 species of reptiles, and 3 types of amphibians. Among these animals, 21 mammals are classified as Schedule I mammals in India and 31 of them are at risk. The wildlife in the sanctuary includes Asian Elephants, Indian Rhinoceros, Gaurs, Asian Water Buffaloes, Tigers, Asian golden cat, Capped Langurs, Golden Langurs, and Assamese Macaques among others. The park is renowned for its unique and endangered wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, such as the Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur, and Pygmy Hog. Manas has the largest population of the endangered Bengal Florican.
Manas boasts an impressive collection of over 540 plant species, featuring rare orchids like the stunning Elaichi phool. These beautiful flowers reach their peak beauty between January and March, while also providing a habitat for other rare plant species.
A trip to this place feels like a genuine escape into nature because of how remote it is from any form of modern development. It is situated approximately 40km away from the nearest sign of civilization at Barpeta. The park extends beyond the border and into Bhutan, where it is referred to as the Royal Manas National Park.
Manas National Park is known as a ‘Four in one’ wildlife sanctuary. It serves as an important project tiger reserve, an elephant reserve, a biosphere reserve in Assam, and an UNESCO world heritage site.