Friday, September 20, 2013

Pabitora – the land of single horned rhinos


“On a hard jungle journey nothing is so important as having a team you can trust.”
Tahir Shah

Nothing can be truer even in the safe journey of a jungle safari in the wild life sanctuaries or reserve forests. Our trip to Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary got almost blotched up since group of upstarts thought forest is a place of frolic rather than savouring the beauty of the flora and fauna in silence. Luckily they left and peace was restored peace in the Prasanti Lodge of Assam Tourism Development Corporation.

Pabitora boasts of being the densest habitat of single horned rhinos, almost 90 in 38.81 sq km. You can find Leopard, fishing cat, barking deer, wild pigs, feral buffalos, 9 species of amphibians, 27 species of reptiles, and more than 300 species of migratory birds.
Haduk Hanging Bridge

 We undertook the Elephant ride which took roughly one and a half hour.We were lucky to see two rhinos locking horns to regain territory while the air was filled with revengeful squeaks and snorts. Soon, though, the weaker showed a clean pair of heels. We were guided towards the Haduk bill, a water-body where migratory birds flock in winter. Here there was a constant sound of their chirps which was silenced by a greater sound of their flapping of feathers when they rise up en-mass following some unseen command.  Green jeeps came there some time ago carrying in its wake a cloud of dust and some tourists clad in bright clothes. Probably this group is also one of those first timers who hardly know the basic rule that bright clothes should be avoided in the forest. Boating can be arranged here. The jeepwallas went off as hastily as they came crossing the Haduk Hanging Bridge. 

We returned to our lodge and went to see the adjacent museum which tells about the history of the sanctuary and some details of the plant and animal life. We were told that we can trek to Mayang Pahar (hills) or go to the Mayang Village to have first information of Black Magic, of which this place is famous. We decided the second. Many local pundits were engaged in clairvoyance or apparently shooing off chronic ailments of their customers in a jiffy. I didn’t try my luck. Probably, I wanted to keep the darkness in me in the dark, rather than to let a rustic conjurer throw some light on it.

Navigator: By Bus from Guwahati ( Guwahati – Marigaon Town Bus of ASTC) 50 Kms or by car.
Safari:    Elephant safari Rs 500/-;  Jeep- Rs 1300 ( for 6 persons including tax).
Best Season: November first to March end.
Place of stay: Prasanthi Lodge: For booking Manas Thakur ( Manager) -09854092192; Hiren Kumar Saikia (Tourist Information Officer)-09854945261.

Pics: Courtesy Hiren Kumar Saikia (TIO, Pobitora) / Concept : Joyjit Sinha Roy

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