Day 5 of my visit at Bodoland coincided with New Year Day where we had a scrumptious breakfast and headed over to Manas National Park. Manas National Park is one of the largest national parks in Bodoland, the territories of National Park shares border with Bhutan where it is named as Royal Manas National Park.
The name Manas National Park is named after the river Manas which is one of the major tributaries to River Brahmaputra. The park is of the area around 950kmsq and stretches the whole of Bodoland covering districts of Chirang, Baksa, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Udalguri and Bongaigaon. On 1st October 1928, the national park was declared as a sanctuary. In the year 1985, the park was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Manas National Park is an Elephant Reserve and Tiger Reserve region which is a project backed by the government, also found are various animal and plant species which is why you can explore the park and capture images of animals in wild. Manas National Park has 2 major biomes Grassland Biome and Forest Biome.
Here, we headed to Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp which was our place of stay. It was an overwhelming feeling as I spent the New Year in the middle of forest camp, away from the hustle of the cities.
Smiling Tusker Elephant Camp is situated in the lap of nature and is a perfect place for a getaway. The resort was started by a group of like-minded people who started this place to employ the domesticated elephants to be helpful for a tour of the national park. After the government banned the use of elephants for the logging industry, the elephants were left unemployed, also they have been domesticated hence cannot be left in wild thus, the group of people planned to open this elephant camp which employed these elephants. And with the government opening Manas National Park in the year 2003 they saw this as an opportunity and help this place to build a better life for these domesticated elephants.
Currently, Smiling Tusker upliftment is undertaken by NGO called Anajaree where they help with conservation and re-utilization of domesticated Asiatic Elephants. We toured the Manas National park sitting on an elephant and it was an exhilarating experience, Manas National park is around 2kms from the national park, exploring the national park with elephant and doing sightseeing witnessing other wild animals on the way.
Once we completed the tour of Manas National Park on an elephant, we visited a local village situated where we spoke with locals and learnt about their daily lifestyle. After the local visit to a village, we returned to the resort where we had a campfire dinner and took rest at Smiling Tusker Elephant Resort and Camp.