06 December 2011

NE India Trip - Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India
One of the highlights of my recent trip to India was a visit to Kaziranga National Park in the midst of the tea plantations of Assam on the banks of the Brahmaputra river. The park is home of the one horned rhinoceros as well as tigers, elephants, panthers, bears and thousands of birds.

I had done this trip as a kid and my children grew up hearing stories about riding elephants out into the morning fog in grass as high as the elephant's belly. Not much had changed (not even the dreadful bathrooms in the park - yikes folks) but this time I rode the elephants with my own daughter and my nephews Murray and Rydin while their parents slept late.

There were seven or eight elephants in our group and three of them were recent mothers. The baby elephants ambled along behind us eating the grass in their path as we moved along. The babies were so unbelievably adorable that I spent half my time looking behind me and taking pictures of them. The elephants walk right alongside the herds of deer, rhinos, buffalo and it felt like we were in a nature documentary. I couldn't believe how lucky I was to be able to experience this again. There was a sudden hush as our guide thought he spotted a tiger in the grass but couldn't be sure. I am claiming it as a sighting since the tigers are much are harder to find.

We followed up with a jeep safari and interrupted a confrontation between a male and female rhino on the trail. The park ranger was ready to fire a warning shot as they started charging towards our jeep. Big excitement!

We stayed at the Wild Grass hotel which was the most upscale hotel of our journey and for the first time on our trip ran into other tourists. There was a Canadian couple, a group of German tourists and many Indian visitors there to worship nature with us.