The world heritage site of Kaziranga National Park located in the North-eastern state of Assam has been reopened on October 21 after the government eased lockdown restrictions that were imposed to curb the spread of the virus.
However, the restrictions come with rules that were from November 01, only 37 tourists at a time will be allowed to visit and move around the park on the elephants and the tourists need to strictly adhere to Covid-19 safety protocols.
Mahouts who are elephant trainers and forest officials performed a small ceremony where the local priest smeared vermillion on the foreheads of the elephants which were welcoming their first group of riders after a long span.
“Elephant safari is one of the major attractions of the park. We started the safari from today [Sunday] but had to reduce the number of seats from 60 to 40 per day to maintain physical distance,” said Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) Director P. Sivakumar.
The first group of riders enjoyed the 1-hour ride through the forest on the back of an elephant where the forest is known for its endangered one-horned rhinoceros and also has a significant population of tigers, bison, swamp deer, and leopards.
The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) also carry Jeep Safaris and Assam Forest Officials said that the activity is mostly enjoyed by locals and nearby North-eastern states. They also said that the locals are also traveling to other popular wildlife reserves such as Manas National Park and the Nameri National park.