I am in Tezpur and had come with plans to visit the Kaziranga National Park over the weekend, which lies 80Km from here. This is the home of the one horned Indian rhino and a UNESCO world heritage site. So, when I was told on Friday that the aprk had been suddenly closed, without notice for a few days, I was really upset!! And with a free weekend on my hands…. , I looked at all the other things to do around Tezpur. I spent Saturday afternoon seeing some sites around the town (more of that in the next) and decided to visit Nameri on Sunday morning.
Nameri is a reserve forest about 35 Km to the North of Tezpur, located along the foothills of the Himalayas. I got there around 6.30 am – combination of a late taxi and bad road- to be told that all the guides had already left with visitors in batches and I would have to wait till the afternoon. After my frantic pleading, the guy at the reception was kind enough to allow me to join another party – in fact that last of the morning.
The reserve area lies across a river (one of rhe smaller tributaries of the Brahmaputra) which has to be crossed by a country boat and then you trek through the jungle for a couple of hours – of course, we were far too late to really see any animals. The place is supposed to have tigers (8 at the last count, the guide told me), leopards, deer, wild boar, bison, plenty of elephants and buffalo etc… besides a large variety of birds. We saw 2 elephants with a baby and a herd of wild buffalo – but the sounds of the jungle were so intense. You only had to stand still to hear a whole orchestra of bird songs – and then there was this sudden intense bzzzzzzzzzz…. and sure enough we looked up to see thousands of honey bees around the only flowering tree that was around. Of course we probably did only about 4-5 Km of walking in the 2 hours – but is was perfect.
After crossing back over the river, I stopped for breakfast at the Ecoresort, a really nice resort with a typical Assamese ambience – and excellent local food too, I have been told.
So why the ‘almost’? The ‘party’ I joined was of 2 young couples – one definitely newly married – typically city bred kids who had never visited a games reserve before. And they were a happy bunch, with constant chatter, jokes and lots of photo ops…. the only problem being the inability to stay quiet – an essential for sighting animals. The guide could not get them to respect this need for silence!!!