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Assam Festival

Magh Bihu an annual agrarian festival celebrated in Assam

The Magh Bihu is an annual agrarian festival celebrated in Assam and several other northeastern states of India. Also known as ‘Bhogali’ Bihu, it marks the end of the season of harvesting.

Nomenclature

Since this festival is observed in the Assamese lunar month of ‘Magh’, it is known as ‘Magh Bihu’. It is also called Bhogali Bihu’.

The term ‘Bhogali’ means to feast. This festival is known as ‘Maghar Domahi’ also.

Time

This festival signifies the end of the harvesting season. The celebrations are held in January.
Magh Bihu celebrations commence on the last day of the previous ‘Pooh ‘ month. Hence, it generally falls on the 29th day of Pooh.

During this festival, the masses gather around bonfires, prepare various dishes and merry.

Roots:

The roots of Magh Bihu can be traced to the Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman cultures. It has been also traced to the agrarian Magan festival of the Kachari community.

Rituals:

Besides the feasts and bonfires, this festival has socio-cultural and religious connotations. Several rituals are also performed.

Bhelaghar & Meji

The youth prepare ‘Bhelaghar’ and ‘meji’ during this festival. These makeshift structures are constructed from bamboo, thatch, and leaves. Nowadays, the Bhelaghar is designed to reflect the popular and relevant themes, and issues of the day.

The youth dine and merry inside the Bhelaghar during ‘uruka ‘ – the night before Magh Bihu.

These structures are burnt the next morning.

These pyres are a traditional practice to offer prayer to ‘Agni’ (Fire God) and ‘Surya ‘ (Sun God).
The womenfolk offer pithas and various delicacies prepared from beaten Bora rice, seasame, and molasses at the bonfire as a mark of reverence to ‘Agni ‘.

The day preceding uruka is known as ‘Goru Bihu. On this day, the cattle are bathed. Then, they are provided new ‘pagha’ (teathering rope).

Delicacies

The delicacies of Magh Bihu comprise hurum, laru, chira, pitha, and curd.

Traditional Games

During Magh Bihu, various traditional games are held. Mention may be made of bullfighting, and egg breaking among others.

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Assam Festival

Brahmaputra Beach Festival An Annual Event Held In Guwahati

The ‘Brahmaputra Beach Festival’ is held in Guwahati – the gateway to the Northeast region of India.

Venue & Time:

The ‘Brahmaputra Beach Festival,’ is an annual event. This socio-cultural, entertainment and adventure carnival is generally held on the ravine beaches of the Brahmaputra River in the month of January.

Inspiration:

The organisers of this Festival have been inspired from the various festivals organised in the south Indian states.

Characteristics:

The Festival is a confluence of the conventional with the modern. It further showcases the tradition and culture of the state of the Assamese.

Objective:

The prime objective of the festival is to promote indigenous crafts and culture. The festival also popularises traditional sports of Assam.

Organisers:

The organisers of the this Festival is ‘ABRRA’ (Assam Boat Racing and Rowing Association). Its collaborator is ‘ATDC’ (Assam Tourism Development Corporation).

Varied Events:

The festival includes various events like Beach cricket, Beach volleyball, water rafting, canoeing and wind surfing, ice skating, kayaking and Aero sports like ballooning, paragliding and hang gliding. Visitors and tourists can participate in these events and show their skills.

Aero Events:

The aero events of this Festival are ballooning, hang gliding and paragliding.

Traditional Assamese Games:

Visitors to the Festival can try their skills also in several Assamese traditional games like cock fighting, egg breaking, and elephant races.

Modern Games:

Besides, technically advanced and modern games are held for the enthusiastic visitors to the Festival.

Competitions For Children:

For children, the organizers of this Festival holds events like kite flying and on-the-spot drawing competition.

Exhibitions:

During the ‘Brahmaputra Beach Festival’, the traditional craft is also exhibited.

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Assam Festival

Porag festival celebrated by the Mishing community of Assam

Porag is an agricultural festival. It is celebrated by the Mishing community of Assam in India.

Duration:

Porag is an annual post-harvest celebration. It continues for five days.

Alternative Nomenclature:

Porag is also known as ‘Nara Singha Bihu’. The folk festival is marked by dances and songs.
On the other hand, the Mishings are also known as Mising. Earlier, the community was called ‘Miri’.

The Murong:

The community hall of the Mishings Is known as ‘Murong’. The Mishing youth, particularly the boys construct this structure. In the run-up to the Porag festival, the ‘Murongs’ are decked up.

The Murong is constructed with bamboo and locally available biodegradable natural items like straw among others. The tie-beams and posts are decorated accordingly.

Significance:

The Porag festival is celebrated to express gratitude to the Almighty.
During the festival, the youth and other members of the Mishing community.
Seek blessings from the Almighty and their forefathers. Besides appeasing the Almighty, the youth in their traditional colorful attires participate in a cultural programme involving songs and dances.

The Process:

Following a systematic and formal process known as ‘Daghik’, a new set of executive members are appointed for the smooth conduct of Porag. The designations are ‘Bar Puwary’ and ‘Migam Bora’ besides ‘Tiri Bora’, ‘Bora’, ‘ Tamuli’, and ‘Bar Barani’. In the days of yore, the ‘Miboo’ used to be the guardian of Porag festival

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

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Assam Festival

Metropolis Asia A Globally Acclaimed Winter Festival in Assam

‘Metropolis Asia’ is globally acclaimed winter festival.

Time & Duration

The urban cultural mega event of ‘Metropolis Asia’ is annual.
The annually organized music, craft and arts festival held in the month of January.
This festival is usually held for three days.

Founder

The founder of this festival is noted artist Ranjan Engti.

Tracing The Roots

The roots of this festival can be traced to 2011.

Venue:

The venue of ‘Metropolis Asia’ is generally the gateway to North East India and the metropolitan having the capital of Assam – Guwahati. However at times, the venue is shifted as it happened in 2018.

It was then decided to hold the three-day highly popular socio-cultural musical festival in Shillong – capital of the ‘Scotland of East’ – the scenic land. Shillong is situated in the north-eastern State of Meghalaya.

Objective

The prime objective of this festival is to create massive attitudinal changes among mankind especially those dwelling in the metropolises.

Conscious attempts are made in this direction via cultural shows that are quite popular among the youth of the north-eastern region of India. This aspect is equally highlighted in the fairs and campaigns besides various other attractive events organized throughout the three days of the festival.

Goals

This festival endeavors to achieve four major goals besides several other objectives.
Each edition of ‘Metropolis Asia’ comes up with new targets.

The Four Goals:

The four prime goals are as follows:

1. Environment and climate change
2. Exploration of greener processes
3. Initiation of attitudinal changes among mankind
4. Creation of hype for sustainability

Environment & Climate Change

This festival concentrates on creating awareness of environmental conservation.
The event further explores various burning issues connected with the change of climate.

Greener Strategies

The organizers of this festival underline the absolute need to adopt ‘Greener Strategies‘. This is more so the case in the production processes of the globally acclaimed festival.

Fostering Attitudinal Changes

Another major objective during this festival is to generate attitudinal changes among the masses.

This is attempted by engaging the participants as well as the gathering masses in various initiatives that are ‘GREEN’.

Creating Sustainability Hype

Specific models of ‘Greener Initiatives’ are highlighted during ‘Metropolis Asia’.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

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Tourism

Laokhowa & Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuaries in Assam

The Laokhowa and Burhachapori wildlife sanctuaries are centrally located PAs (Protected Areas).

Location:

Both the forest reserves are located in the north-eastern Indian State of Assam.

Surroundings:

The two centrally protected sanctuaries are naturally bordered by five PAs and NPs (National Parks).
For instance, towards the east is the Kaziranga National Park; on the west are the Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary and the Orang National Park.
On the northern side is the Pakke-Nameri National Parks while on the southern side are the equally rich reserve forest areas of Karbi Anglong to the south.

Connecting Corridor:

Migrating animals generally utilise the Laokhowa and Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuaries as natural connecting corridors.

Grasslands & Wetlands:

The Laokhowa Burhachapori characterized by grasslands, woodlands and numerous wetlands along with the Brahmaputra River Islands are home to numerous species of endangered mammals, reptiles and birds.

Khowa Wildlife Sanctuary:

The Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary is located on the south bank of river Brahmaputra in the north-eastern Indian State of Assam.

Area:

This protected wildlife reserve region stretches across approximately 70.13 sq km.

Ecosystem:

The sanctuary constitutes a vital section of the Laokhowa-Burachapori eco-system.

Buffer Region:

The Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary forms a declared buffer region of the Kazairanga Tiger Reserve.

Treasure Trove Of Flora & Fauna:

Both the declared protected areas enjoy a rich treasure trove of varied species of reptiles, flora and fauna including highly endangered ones.
The sanctuary is home to more than 225 species of avians, besides the great Indian one horned rhinoceros, royal Bengal tigers, elephants, and the Asiatic water buffaloes.
Environmentalists have also recorded the presence of quite a number of species of various other animals in the sanctuary.
Mention may be made of the leopard cat, barking deer, wild pig, fishing cat, and civet.

Breeding Ground:

Moreover, the Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary is also a breeding ground for more than 39 species of fishes, and 14 reptile species.

The alluvial grassland of Laokhowa-Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries also have among others the hog deer and barking deer as well as nocturnal species like the hare, slow loris, pangolins, and porcupine among others.

Above all, many endangered and rare species (with a number of them listed under the Schedule I species category within the Wildlife Protection Act-1972) are found in the two sanctuaries.

Among them are the civets, small cats, and otters, reptiles like the turtles, common and water monitors, and the pythons.

There are various species of turtles in the two sanctuaries. These are the Indian Roofed, Assam Roofed, Soft shelled, and the Peacock Softshelled Turtles. These two Protected Areas abound in butterflies like the Common Map, Birdwing, and the Crimson Rose.

The numerous perennial and natural wetlands serve as breeding grounds for quite a number of local fish species and also stork species like the Adjutant, Lesser Adjutant, White Stork, Black Stork, and the Black Necked Stork.
The Laokhowa-Burachapori wildlife sanctuaries are exotic to the Herons, Large Whistling Teal, numerous Raptors, grassland birds including the highly endangered Bengal Florican. Every winter, many species of migratory birds, including water fowls also visit the rich wetlands of both the ‘Protected Areas’.

Flocks of vultures do visit the sanctuaries to feast on the remains of deceased animals. One often comes across frolicking river dolphins on the surface of Brahmaputra waters. The river dolphins are highly endangered species.

The Brahmaputra River flows adjacent to the ‘Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary’.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

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Assam Tourism

Kakoijana Reserve Forest Home for Endangered Golden Langur in Assam

Kakoijana Reserve Forest: The Kakoijana RF (Reserve Forest) is known for the endangered golden langur. This widely extensive ‘Protected Area’ is situated near Abhayapuri in Bongaigaon District of the north-eastern Indian State of Assam.

The ‘Protected Area’ comes under the Aie Valley Division.

Area:

The forest in upper Assam stretches across 17.24 sq km.
Of late, there have been demands from the local public as well as environmentalists and NGOs (non-government organisations) to convert and upgrade the Kakoijana RF as a wildlife sanctuary.

Petition Filed:

A petition was also filed in the Gauhati High Court demanding that the Government of Assam should declare the ‘Kakoijana Reserved Forest’ as a wildlife sanctuary.

Kakoijana Reserve Forest

Golden Langurs:

The Kakoijana RF (Reserved Forest) consists of approximately 60 numbers of the endangered ‘Golden Langurs’ besides several endangered species registered in Schedule I.
The ‘Golden langur’ is listed in the category of “rare species” in the Red Data Book of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
Many researchers have carried out studies on primate species in this Reserved Forest.

Other Endangered Species:

The Reserved Forest is home to some of the highly endangered and rarest avian species including the Binturong, Pangolin, Jungle Fowl, and Hornbill, besides leopard, python, porcupine.
The ‘Protected Area’ is also known for the Lesser Adjutant, Stork, Monitor Lizard, Flying Squirrel, Barking Deer, Mongoose, Jungle Cat, Civets, and wild cat.

Tracing The Tracks:

The authorities concerned demarcated the forest area and declared it as ‘Kakoijana Reserved Forest’ in 1966.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

Categories
Assam Tourism

Kaziranga National Park a World Heritage Site in Assam

The Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site. The authorities concerned declared the vast bio-diverse area as a ‘National Park’ in 1974.

Nomenclature:

The nomenclature of ‘Kaziranga’ has been adopted from the name of a Karbi ruler. According to Karbi mythology, she ruled in this area during the ancient times.

Location:

This famous Park lies between latitude 26 degree 30N to 26 degree 45N and longitude 93 degree 08 E to 93 degree36 E. The Kaziranga National Park stretches across two districts in the north-eastern Indian State of Assam. A section of this protected area is in Bokakhat Sub-division of Golaghat District whereas the other part falls in Kaliabor subdivision of Nagaon District.

Boundaries:

Towards the northern side of this forest reserve flows the Brahmaputra River while the undulating hills of Karbi Anglong District form its southern boundary

Weather:

During winter, the Kaziranga National Park experiences maximum temperature of 26 degree Celsius and minimum temperature of 10 degree Celsius. On the other hand, during summer, the maximum temperature rises to 37 degree Celsius while the minimum temperature drops to 22 degree Celsius.

Speciality:

Kaziranga National Park Rhino and her calf cross a road

The national park is known as the natural habitat of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. In fact, the world’s largest population of one-horned rhinoceroses resides within the park. This protected park is spread across approximately 430 sq km is home to two-third of the global rhino population.

Varied Species Of Animals:

Besides, the natural park has varied species of other animals including mammals like bears, elephants, panthers and tigers. Moreover, environmentalists and foresters have recorded the presence of large numbers of wild Asiatic water buffaloes, and elephants. Moreover, the park is home to the Indian Muntjac, and also the hog and swamp deer. Sambars and gaurs are two other species of animals that inhabit the park. A Tiger Reserve has been also identified inside the ‘Protected Area’. The Brahmaputra River flowing beside the park further attracts the highly endangered Ganges Dolphin.

Swamp Deer Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga: An Avian Paradise

The ‘Protected Area’ of Kaziranga National Park is an ‘Avian (birds) paradise’. Avians of many species dwell here. The ‘Birdlife International for conservation of avifaunal species’ has already demarcated a wide stretch of this park as an ‘Important Bird Area’. The park has more than 300 species of avian species.

Picturesque Landscape:

The sanctuary is blessed with Besides the picturesque landscape the park is endowed with varied wildlife species. It is also a treasure trove of flora and fauna. Hemmed by the lovely table-top tea bushes of a number of tea estates, the National Highway-37 unequally parts a significant part of the idyllic landscape of the park. Often, rhinos, deer, and wild elephants stray into the highway. The lovely landscape of Kaziranga comprises shallow pools and marshes, as well as rugged reeds, tall elephant grass, and also forest areas.

Tourist Destination:

The Kaziranga National Park attracts tourists both from within the country and abroad. The park remains open for visitors for six months, from November to April. The bird-watching points within. Kaziranga National Park attracts tourists.

Safaris:

The prime attractions for tourists include the safaris — on elephants and in open-source jeeps. During the safaris, the tourists are taken around selected areas of the park.

Boat Cruises:

One can further opt for boat cruises on the Brahmaputra along the park. Besides being exhilarating, the cruises offer a quick glance on the evergreen environ of the park.

THE ‘Kohora Chowk’:

The ‘Kohora Chowk’ is an important bird-watching point. Tourists invariably visit this spot.

Tracing The Tracks:

Up to the early part of 19th Century, the forested region presently identified as the ‘Kaziranga National Park’ was naturally open to the vagaries of nature.

Monsoon, Erosion & Poaching In Kaziranga

Large portions of the forest are eroded by the annual floods especially during the monsoon season when the State experiences torrential rainfall. The monsoon rain lashes the region from the later part of March onwards. The rain continues sporadically till August. To flee from the rising water of the Brahmaputra and it’s tributaries, the hapless animals migrate to the safer highlands in Karbi Anglong. At times, deer and other small animals die while crossing the highway due to rash driving by unscrupulous drivers. This is despite the Forest department’s signboards and vigil to check such drivers. Nowadays, the Government has has undertaken various measures to arrest such erosion and also reclaim such eroded portions.

One-horned Rhinoceros Kaziranga

Poaching:

Poachers were quite active in the region till the early part of the 2000. The poachers primarily target the endangered one-horned rhinoceros (for the horn), and the elephants (for the tusk). Bear and other mammals like tigers, reptiles, and even rare birds used to fall prey to the sinister designs of poachers.

Countering Poachers:

To counter the poachers, the Government of Assam has involved the local people as sentinels of the park. This strategy has worked tremendously. Moreover, the authorities concerned have modernised the Forest guards, who maintain strict vigil round the clock. The guards are equipped with thee latest forms of weapons

Forest Ranges:

The Kazaringa National Park has two important forest ranges. These are the Bagori and Burapahar Ranges. Both the ranges of this ‘Protected Area’ are located within the district of Nagaon.

Online Safari Bookings For Kaziranga

Kaziranga Safari

The Kaziranga National Park offers both jeep and elephant safaris to the tourists for exploring and sighting of the varied wild life. Both the (jeep and elephant) safaris allow the tourists not only to enjoy the picturesque environ of the park but also witness the animals and birds in their natural habitat. The Kaziranga Forest department administers and manages the process by strictly following the set guidelines.

Online Booking For Safaris:

One can easily opt for online booking for safaris (both jeep and elephant) in the Kaziranga National Park. Similarly, the tourists should check the official website of the park and book accommodation in lodges. Of course, there are private accommodation facilities quite near the park. Mentionably, one can go for online jeep-safari booking in all the four tourism zones in the Kaziranga National Park.

Tourism Zones:

The four tourism zones are Kohora, Bagori, Burapahar, and Agartoli. However, the Kaziranga National Park authority allows elephant-safari booking only for the two zones of Bagori and Kohora. All the four zones in Kaziranga National Park have beautiful landscape. Moreover, each of them is endowed with varieties species of flora and fauna.

Advance Booking:

While planning your trip to the park, remember to book your online safari seat(s) well in advance. In this way, the tourists can counter last-minute rush for such bookings.

The Charges:

You will have to pay the full amount. The safari-booking charges include the entry-permit fee, the safari- vehicle fare, and also the guide fee.

Safari Routes:

The safaris proceed via safe picturesque routes that are already charted out within the national park.

Allowed Passengers:

In a single ride, a jeep (offered by the forest department of Kaziranga National Park) used for safari can accommodate the maximum number of six people. It includes the driver and the guide as well. However, only four persons are allowed in an elephant safari.

Safari Timings:

The timings of safari routes in Kaziranga have been carefully decided upon so that the tourists can spot the wild animals (grazing or frolicking or resting) in their natural surroundings.

Kaziranga: Videography, Photography & Entry Rules

One can go for videography only with prior permission of the Kaziranga National Park authority. However, tourists can click photographs of the sylvan surroundings.

Prime Attractions:

The prime attractions of Kaziranga National Park are the highly endangered one-horned Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant, tigers, swamp deer and the water buffalo.
Besides, each of the four zones of the Park also preserves various other wild lives. Tourists enjoy spotting the wild animals as well as the mesmerizing beauty of Mother Nature while proceeding in the jeep and elephant safaris. One of the best wildlife destinations in India, the trip to the Kaziranga National Park remains etched in the memory of tourists.

Permit Probabilities:

The entry permit for the jeep safari is depends upon the availability of the vehicles. On the other hand, the permit for elephant-safari ride is based on the basis of per seat.

Safari-Booking Procedure:

The Park authority issues permits for the safaris on a first-come-first service basis but subject to availability. Tourists will have to follow a procedure while making online safari booking in the Kaziranga National Park. They must share the following details with the Park authority: The full name, age, and gender as well as the other details enumerated on their respective identity cards. Besides, they need to mention their preferred trip date and also opt for either of the fixed safari timings (Morning/Afternoon). They will also have to state the specific ID card tourist number as mentioned in any of these documents, namely Aaadhar No., Voter ID, Driving License among others.

Mandatory Rules For Foreign Tourists:

For making online safari booking in Kaziranga, the foreign tourists must provide all the details recorded in their passports.

Kaziranga: Basic Facts About Online Safari Booking

  • You must know the following basic facts before opting for the online safari booking in the Kaziranga National Park:
  • The Park management governs the rules and procedures of online safari booking;
  • You will have to pay the entire fees to make advance online safari booking; You cannot cancel or transfer the entry permit for safari ride once it is issued by the Forest department of the National Park; You must keep with you the same ID card which you had submitted while making your online safari booking; The tourist must pay the charged amount in advance for booking the safaris.
  • After the Park management confirms the ‘Safari Permit’, one cannot claim refund against the e-permits.
  • This is because the e-permits are non -refundable.
  • The Park authority allows only those registered vehicles and guides that are allowed for the safari rides.
  • The Park management allot the vehicles and guides randomly; and tourists cannot change them.
  • Safari permit to the tourists is issued on a first-come-first basis depending upon the availability of the safari.
  • The Kaziranga Forest department has full right to decide closure of the park owing to unavoidable reasons. Hence, the Park may be closed at times of exigency without prior notice to the visitors;
  • If the Park authority decides to revise the safari fees even after one makes the online safari booking, then you will have to pay the difference amount while entering the park.
  • You must report at the safari-boarding spot 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
  • The Park conducts only two shifts of Safari rides, i.e., in the morning and evening.
  • Tourists cannot enter the Park after sunset since it is prohibited by law.
  • It is not legitimate to get down from the vehicles during their safari ride.
  • The tourists cannot take their pets into the Kaziranga National Park.
  • Last but not the least, tourists must co-operate with the officials of Kaziranga Forest department to maintain law and order.

Formalities Prior To Entering The National Park:

Tourists must possess the entry permit before entering the Kaziranga National Park as it is a completely restricted and protected zone under TRA (Tiger Reserve Area). You must possess the official safari permit to enjoy both the kinds of safari ride namely, Jeep safari and Elephant safari. The safaris are conducted strictly following the rules and regulations of the Park Forest department. The duration of each safari ride is fixed. The safari charges include jeep/elephant safari fares, driver/Mahuout fees as well as the entry-permit charges.

How The Park Came Into Being:

There is an interesting story as to how the park came into c. The history of Kaziranga as a protected area traces back to 1904, when Mary Victoria Leiter, the wife of the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, visited the area.

It so happened that once while visiting the area she did not see even a single rhinoceros there. Then, Lady Curzon urged her husband to propose a means to protect these exotic pachyderms in their natural habitat.

Mary Victoria Leiter’s Contribution:

Mary Victoria Leiter was the wife of Lord Curzon — the Viceroy of India. She is credited with starting the movement for rhinoceros conservation.

Initially, the Kaziranga National Park was set up as a ‘Proposed Reserve Forest’.

PRE-INDEPENDENCE ERA: It is said that owing to her request, the region came into being as the ‘Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest’ in June 1905.
During those times, the park measured approximately 90 square miles (232 square km).

Of course since then, the park continued to expand. During the course of the following three years, the park area expanded to around 150 square miles (380 square km), stretching up to the Brahmaputra River.

Notably it was also during that time that the area was declared as a ‘reserve forest’.
In 1916, the authorities declared the protected region as the ‘Kaziranga Game Sanctuary’. They also allowed hunting within the park until 1938, when it was banned officially.

Post-Independence Era:

During the post-Independence era when in the 1950s the country became a ‘Democratic Republic’ (after the Constitution of India came into force), the government renamed the park area as the ‘Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary’.

This move was undertaken as the original name referring to it as a “game reserve” became a misnomer particularly because hunting was disallowed in that area.
In 1954, the Government of Assam passed the Assam (Rhinoceros) Bill. It imposed heavy penalties for poaching of rhinoceros.
Fourteen years later in 1968, the State government passed the ‘Assam National Park Act’, thereby upgrading Kaziranga as a designated national park. However, the announcement was published in the Gazette six years later, i.e, in 1974.

Unesco Heritage Site:

Finally in 1985, the UNESCO (United Nations Education Scientific & Cultural Organisation) included Kaziranga in its list of ‘World Heritage Site’.
Now, the local residents along with the conservationists including the Forest personnel staunchly protect the entire park area.

Measurement:

The park measures around 25 miles (40 km) from its eastern edge to the west, and 8 miles (13 km) from it’s northern side to the south. Overall, the park stretches across an area of 146 square miles (378 sq km).

Topography:

The topography if Kaziranga park is generally flat. There is not much difference in it’s elevation.
The Brahmaputra flows along both the eastern and northern edges whereas the southern edge has the Mora Diphlu River.
As the park is surrounded by rivers, there are quite a number of sandbars. The rich silty soil is heavy in nature.

Monsoon Landscape:

Many temporary ponds and lakes form a part of the landscape features especially during the monsoon season when heavy rains lash the State. These wet months usually commence around the middle part of April and continue till around the fag end of August and early part of September.

‘SAPORIES’: During these six months, the wild animals seek refuge in what is known in Assamese as the “sapories”. Such riverine islands are the naturally formed raised areas inside the park. They offer safety for animals during this flooding season.

Vegetation:

Leaving aside the sandbars and lowlands, the entire Brahmaputra Valley abounds in subtropical, tropical forests marked by moist broadleaf forests and also savanna shrub lands and grasslands.
These are besides the semi-evergreen forests that are found in the areas of higher elevation.

THE ‘BigGoFpq OF KAZIRANGA:

The park is internationally prominent for the ‘Big Five’ — the Rhinoceros (2,613 nos), Tiger (116 nos), Elephant (1,165 nos), Asiatic Wild Buffalo and the Eastern Swamp Deer (1,148 nos).

The Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros:

The Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve is globally known especially as a natural habitat of the Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros.
In fact, the largest population of this pachyderm — the largest of the rhino species — is concentrated within this park.

‘RED DATA BOOK’: This rhino species is included in the list of highly endangered animals of rhe ‘Red Data Book’ of IUCN.

Sentinels:

Strong involvement in the conservation efforts and vigil of local communities have gone a long way in checking rhino poaching, which was a major issue prior to 2016.
Incidentally, during the annual monsoon-time, rhinos and many other wild animals die in the floods that inundate the park.
All in all, concerted moves of the government, sincere efforts of the Forest personnel added to the dedication of local residents have safeguarded the park. Such joint actions have also played a pivotal role in maintaining the growing population of rhinoceros within the protected area of rhis park.

14th Rhino Census Operation:

To smoothly carry out the three-day 14th census of the one-horned rhinos, the authorities closed the Kaziranga National Park for tourists from March 26 (Saturday) to March 28 (Monday), 2022.

Though morning elephant safari rides were suspended from March 26 to 28, jeep safaris rides continued in a phased manner so as not to hamper the rhino census.
The census was conducted in 48 compartments within the the national park premises.

A total of 63 specialists carried out the census in the park.

The other members who took part in the rhino-counting operation included a team of officials of the State Forest department, and volunteers.

Since Kaziranga is in news due to the incessant killing of rhinos in recent years, census is important to know the actual figure of rhinos in the park.

To conduct the 2022 rhino census, the entire park was divided into 74 compartments. Of them, the census was completed in 36 compartments on the first day while the rest was done the next day.

Talking Heads:

Making public the findings of Census-2022 on March 29 (Tuesday), a forest official in Kaziranga said, “This is a delightful moment for all of us as the number has gone up by 200. We believe that the news about rise in population of the rhinos will attract more tourists to Kaziranga,” added the Forest official.

The Director of Kaziranga National Park, Jatindra Sarma said in a statement that a total of 64 enumerators including 12 independent observers and 49 media observers were part of the exercise in 26 compartments selected randomly for the sample survey.

“As many as 50 elephants and 252 frontline staff were engaged to cover the 84 compartments spread over Kaziranga National Park, its additions and civil areas.
“GPS binoculars were also given to the enumerators while drones were used for the first time for sample recheck,” stated Sarma in the statement.

The last rhino census in 2018 found an increase of a dozen individuals over the 2015 figure.

“A total of 150 people including support staff members were engaged in the exercise which is being carried out in all the additions of the park,” said Divisional Forest Officer of Kaziranga National Park, Rohini Ballav Saikia.
Saikia also informed that they focused on extensive use of GPS to find out which tracks are frequently used by rhinos for their movement.

2022 Rhino Census Data:

The number of one-horned rhinos at Kaziranga National Park in Assam has increased by 200 in the last four years.
The 2022 census shows that there are a total of 2,613 rhinos within the protected area.
The 2018 rhino census registered 2,413 pachyderms in the national wildlife park.
According to the 2022 census that concluded on March 29, altogether 903 female adult rhinos were found. The census further recorded 146 calves in the park.
The 14th Rhino Census-2022 was carried out between March 25 and 28 across the 900-odd sq km wildlife park.
The census indicated 1,670 adults (above six years), 365 sub-adults (3 to 6 years), 279 juveniles (1 to 3 years) and 146 calves (0 to 1 year).
The adult rhinos included 750 males, 903 females, and 17 “un-sexed,” which means their gender could not be ascertained during the census.

A Success Story:

Internationally, this estimate is a major improvement in comparison to the previous decades when the rhinoceros in general was hunted and also poached to such an extent that experts and environmentalists estimated only 200 existed in the earlier part of the 20th Century.

Following stringent protection rules and conservation efforts on a mission mode by Nepal and also India, approximately 3,700 rhinos existed in the wilderness as of 2021.

This effort has been deemed the greatest success of any conservation effort across Asia. Conservation has been a major success story in Kaziranga, and this is particularly so with respect to all the wildlife species including the Royal Bengal tiger and also the Great One-horned Indian Rhinoceros.

Bengal Tiger:

The Bengal tiger is a subspecies of the Continental Tiger.
It is a big cat that generally found in the Asian mainland. Tigers, and particularly the species of Bengal tiger, is listed as endangered, and their populations have been generally decreasing over the past decades.
According to the WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) records in 2021, there were an estimated 3,500 continental tigers in the wilderness.
However, poaching as well as loss of habitat led to a drastic slide of this wildcat species.
Nevertheless, conservation areas including those in Kaziranga have played a significant role in the upkeep of this species.
Incidentally, the Government of Assam declared the Kaziranga National Park as a ‘Tiger Reservation area’ in 2006.
During this time, the region registered the highest concentration of Bengal tigers anywhere in the world.
Official estimates pegged it at 1 per 5 sq km, and a population of 118.

Swamp Deer & Asiatic Water Buffaloes:

Further, the Kaziranga National Park has the largest populations of the eastern swamp deer — besides other deer species — as well as the Asiatic water buffalo in the world.

Elephants:

Moreover, herds of wild Indian elephants also are frequent visitors to the park.
Of course, you can book safaris on domesticated pachyderms sponsored by the Kaziranga park authorities.

Other Animals:

Among other animals and herbivores found in the protected area are the sloth bear, varieties of boar, and also jungle cats including leopard cat, fishing cats, leopards, the golden jackal, Bengal fox, and of course, the Bengal tiger.

Researchers and environmentalists have also tracked various other animal species in Kaziranga. These include the civets and various species of mongoose — both are varieties of the highly poached Indian and Chinese pangolin.

Primates:

Foresters have further identified nine types of primates in the park.
These include the Assamese macaque, golden langur and the capped langur.

Other Rare Species:

Among the other rare species found in Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve are the endangered hispid hare, and the Ganges dolphin. This dolphin lives in freshwater river. It is found in South Asia. This species is also listed as endangered.

There are also a wide diversity of avian species besides amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates within the protected area.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

Categories
Festival

Raslila Dance the Intimate Connection with Lord Sri Krishna

Raslila is a form of dance intimately connected with Lord Sri Krishna also known as Bhagavan Sri Krsna.

WHO IS LORD SRI KRISHNA:

Lord Sri Krishna is the eighth reincarnation or avatar of God Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is worshiped as a supreme deity in Hinduism.

WHEN WAS LORD SRI KRISHNA BORN:

Lord Sri Krishna was born The deity was born right at midnight on the eighth day of the ‘Bhadrapada’ month (also known as ‘Ashtami’).
This is determined according to the Hindu lunar calendar. The Hindus celebrated this holy occasion as ‘Janmashtami’.

WHERE WAS LORD SRI KRISHNA BORN:

According to Hindu belief, Lord Sri Krishna was born in a dungeon at the Gokul township at Vrindaban in Mathura. It is in present day Uttar Pradesh in India. Gokul is 9.3 miles (15 kilometres) south-east to Mathura. As per the ‘Bhagavata Purana’, Lord Sri Krishna spent his childhood in this Indian town of Gokul.

SIGNIFICANCE OF LORD SRI KRISHNA’S BIRTH:

According to Hinduism, the birth of Lord Sri Krishna in Vrindaban near the present day Mathura (in northern India) at around 3,228 BCE) has a major significance. It marks the commencement of the ‘Kal yuga’ (the present age) and also the end (passing) of the ‘Dvapara’ age in Hinduism.

WHERE IS VRINDABAN LOCATED:

Vrindaban is located between Agra and Delhi. It is situated at around 10 kilometres from Mathura, the actual birthplace of the ancient Hindu deity, Lord Krishna.

ETYMOLOGY OF ‘RASLILA’:

The Sanskrit word “rasa” refers to ‘aesthetics’ , ’emotion, ‘juice’, ‘nectar’, or ‘sweet taste’. ‘Lila’ means the ‘sweet act’ (of Krishna). It is often freely rendered as “the dance of love”. ‘Lila’ can variously connote ‘dance’, ‘play’ or ‘act’. Roughly translated, ‘Raslila’ can be termed as the “Dance of Divine Love”. The concept of ‘Raslila’ is elaborately described in Hindu scriptures.

TRACING THE ROOTS:

‘Raslila’ as a dance form has it’s roots in ancient Hindu literature like the Bhagavata Purana and scriptures such as the ‘Bhagavata Purana’. Raslila or the dance of ‘Ras’is also known as ‘Krishna Tandava’. Raslila is closely linked with Lord Sri Krishna.

RASLILA DESCRIPTION:

While performing ‘Raslila’, Lord Sri Krishna dances with Radha and her close friends (sakhis) known as ‘Gopis’.

RASLILA & MANIPURI CLASSICAL DANCE:

The Raslila of Brindavan or ‘Natwari Nritya’ later evolved into the Kathak. Kathak is one of the eight principal forms of Indian classical dance. Similarly, the Manipuri classical dance also has connections with Raslila’. This rich classical dance form was revived by prominent Kathak dancer, in the 1960s. It is evolved from the ‘Raslila of Braj.

WHEN IS RASLILA PERFORMED:

Raslila is performed in a particular night. During this occasion in Vrindavana (on a full moon night), Lord Sri Krishna plays his musical instrument – the flute in a forest. On hearing the music of His flute, the Gopis sneak away from their homes and proceed to that forest. Then, they dance with Krishna throughout the night. Thereafter, Lord Sri Krishna used his supernatural powers to stretch that mythical night to the length of a ‘kalpa’.

WHAT IS A ‘KALPA’:

According to the Hindu unit of time, a ‘kalpa’ lasts approximately 4.32 billion years.

IMPORTANCE OF RASLILA:

In the traditions of Krishna ‘Bhakti’, the raslila is believed to be a splendidly beautiful depiction of soulful love. According to these traditions, in the material world, romantic love between mankind is a reflection of the soul’s original love of Lord Krishna. It is the spiritual ecstatic love of Lord Sri Krishna, God in the spiritual world.

BHAGAVATA PURANA & RASLILA:

According to the Bhagavata Purana, when any living being (particularly human beings) hears or describes the Rasa lila faithfully, she or he attains the pure loving devotion known as “Suddha-bhakti”.

RASLILA & ‘SUDHABHAKTI’:

There us a close connection between Raslila and ‘Sudhabhakti’. It is akin to a child willingly playing with its reflection in a mirror, just as Lord Sri Krishna sported with the Gopis. This is believed to be exactly the same as the many shadows of Lord Sri Krishna’s own form.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

Categories
Assam Festival

The Dehing Patkai Festival of Assam

The Dehing Patkai Festival is ideal for tourists.

TIME OF FESTIVAL:

This annual fest having avenues for adventure, feast and fun are held from January 16 to 19.

VENUE:

The Festival is organized at Lekhapani in the Tinsukia District of the northeastern state of Assam.

NOMENCLATURE:

The Festival is christened after the majestic and lofty Patkai range of the Himalayas and also the unpredictable Dihing River.

SPONSORS:

The Festival is sponsored by the Government of Assam.

HISTORY:

The Dihing Patkai Festival began in December 2002. It was inaugurated by the chief guest — the then President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

EVENTS:

The festival features fairs of the indigenous Assamese communities, adventure sports, tea heritage tours
wildlife pleasure trip, and golfing, besides a lot of other exotic and equally exciting packages.

A chief attraction of the Dihing Patkai Festival is a trip to the Cemeteries of World War-II. Tourists also queue up to proceed on a trip to the historically famous Stillwell Road. Once upon a time, this Road built by the Britishers was the passage to Myanmar — the golden land of Asia.

Tourists can opt for elephant safaris into the serene wildness along the foothills of the Patkai range and the banks of the swift-flowing Dihing River. Many visitors also enjoy the Crafts Fair and the Food Festival. You can also groove to the music in the cultural functions held during each of the days of the Dehing Patkai Festival.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.

Categories
Assam Tourism

Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary located in Jorhat, Assam, India

The Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary was earlier known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary and also as Hollongapar Reserved Forest.

Nomenclature & Significance Of Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary:

The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary derives its name from the Hollong tree and Hoolock gibbons.
The Sanctuary is a natural treasure house of the Hollong tree (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus) in its upper canopy.
The sanctuary is also home to the Hoolock gibbons – the only gibbons of India.
Since ages, the area has been covered by sporadic evergreen trees as well a Bojal bamboos (Pseudodactylum sp.).

The Central & Lower Canopies:

The central canopy of Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary houses the Nahar (Mesua ferrea) tree. The lower canopy of the Sanctuary has a carpet of evergreen herbs and shrubs.

Location:

The forests of Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary are located in Jorhat a district in the north-eastern Indian State of Assam.

Nearest City:

The city nearest to the Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is Jorhat. The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is bordered by tea gardens and small villages.

Coordinates: The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is located at 26.716667°N and 94.383333°E.

Area:

The surveyed area of Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is 2,098.62 ha (8.1 sq mi).

Rainfall:

The ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ receives 249 cm (98 in) of rainfall on an average annually.

Altitude & Topography:

Located at an altitude between 330 and 390 ft (100 and 120 m), the topography of the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ gradually slopes downwards from the southeast direction towards northwest.

The Three Distinct Habitat Zones Of ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’

Over the ages, river Bhogdoi has formed a waterlogged region along the border of the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.
This waterlogged portion in the sanctuary primarily houses semi-hydrophytic plants. This particular aspect has led to the formation of three distinctly identifiable micro-ecosystems or habitat zones within the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’. These are the the flood-prone zone, the down-slope zone, and the up-slope zone.

‘Reserve Forest’ Status:

The Government demarcated this isolated forest area in 1881.
That very year, the authorities concerned declared the portion as protected; and named it as the ‘Hollongapar Reserve Forest’.
During those times, the reserve forest stretched up to the foothills of Patkai mountain range.

The ‘Artificial Regeneration’ Move:

During the early 1900s, the authorities launched a concerted drive for artificial regeneration of the reserve forest.
This drive on a mission mode delivered results and the reserve forest regenerated into a well-stocked forest. Consequently, there was significant development in the rich biodiversity of Gibbon Reserve Forest.

Artificial Regeneration:

Artificial regeneration was introduced .
This concerted attempt was aimed at developing an even-aged well-stocked forest across the Gibbon Reserve Forest way back in 1924.

Latest Status:

These artificial plantations juxtaposed with the naturally generated vegetation slowly but surely germinated a new and richly endowed ser of flora in the forest.
Now, the Gibbon Reserve Forest is endowed with rich and varied biodiversity.
During the 1900s, additional areas were added to the Gibbon Reserve Forest.

Reconstitution Of The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’:

The Reserve Forest (RF) was reconstituted and renamed as the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ in 1997.
By 1997, the aggregate area of the Gibbon Reserve Forest came around to 2,098.62 ha (8.1 sq mi).

Looming Threats To Hollongapar Forests

The habitat of ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ faces threats owing to three specific aspects.
These aspects are habitat fragmentation, illegal encroachments and logging.
Unfortunately, since 1881, the widely extensive area of the forest got fragmented.
What is more, trees were felled by unscrupulous people and the surrounding areas were encroached upon.

Tracing The Tracks Of Hollongapar Forests

It was during a primate aurvey in the later part of 1980s that environmentalists and foresters recognised the Hollongapar forests as a promising wildlife sanctuary.
Taking forward the findings to their logical conclusions, the authorities declared the area as protected.

‘Reserve Forest’ Status:

On August 27,1881, the protected forest area attained the status of a ‘Reserve Forest’ (RF).
During those days, the area of ‘Hollongapar Reserve Forest’ encompassed 206 ha or (0.80 sq mi).
The researchers considered the reserve forest as an “integral part” of forests at the foothills of the Patkai mountain range.

At that time, the Hollongapar Reserve Forest served as a vital link to a large forest tract stretching up to the northeastern Indian State of Nagaland.

Hollongapar Bibbon Wildlife

Shrinking Area:

Though on August 27,1881, the protected area of Hollongapar Reserve Forest was 206 ha (0.80 sq mi), the area shrank in 1896 as certain sections were de-reserved.
Nowadays, the sanctuary is surrounded by small villages, and tea gardens.

Fragmentation:

The forest got fragmented while the reserve became isolated from the foothills primarily owing to two reasons: emergence of tea gardens and new villages around the Hollongapar Reserve Forest.

The tea gardens began to emerge between 1880 and 1920, while the villages were established during the 1960s.

The government set up the villages for rehabilitation of people who had lost their lands to floods in the perennially erosion-threatened Majuli and adjoining areas.

As on date, the sanctuary is fragmented into five clearly demarcated segments.

The ‘Gibbon Sanctuary, Melen’

On July 30, 1997, the Government of Assam issued a notification (FRS 37/97/31) and constituted the sanctuary as the ‘Gibbon Sanctuary, Meleng’
This sanctuary was located within Jorhat (civil) district of upper Assam.
The name – Gibbon Sanctuary, Meleng’ – has been derived from the gibbons (genus Hoolock), that is the only species of apes found in India.
This move assumes significance since this forest is the sole sanctuary in India named after a primate.
The distinction of ‘Gibbon Sanctuary, Meleng’ lies in the fact that these forests are home to a dense population of the gibbons (genus Hoolock).

The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’:

On May 25, 2004, the Government of Assam renamed it as the “Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary” through notification no. FRP 37/97/20.

Surrounding Region:

The region surrounding ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ constitutes the dispersal track of elephants. This range of the endangered Asiatic elephants stretches up to the Dissoi Reserve Forest, Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest, and the Tiru Hill Reserve Forest.

The Asiatic Elephant:

The Asiatic elephant is also known as the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).
This pachyderm is the only living species of the genus ‘Elephas’ is generally found across Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent (from India in the west, Borneo in the east, Nepal in the north, and Sumatra in the south.
The average lifespan of an Asiatic elephant is 48 years (Adult, In captivity, European population)
Included in the ‘Order’: ‘Proboscidea’, the mass of an adult Asiatic elephant ranges from 2,700 kg to 4,000 kg (Adult). It’s average height (at shoulder) varies from 2.4 m to 2.8 m.

The Surrounding Villages:

The villages neighboring ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ are Kaliagaon, Afolamukh, Velleoguri, Pukhurai, Katonibari,
Fesual B (the eastern part), Fesual A (the western part), Rampur, Lakhipur, and Madhupur.

The Elephant Range & Tea Estates:

The distance between the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ and the nearest forests along the Assam-Nagaland border including the Dissoi Valley Reserve Forest is spanned by three tea gardens.
These extensive tea gardens are managed by the tea estates of, Hollonguri, Kothalguri, and Dissoi.
The tea gardens include Katonibari, Murmurai, Chenijan, Koliapani, Meleng, Kakojan, Dihavelleoguri, Dihingapar, Kothalguri, Dissoi and Hoolonguri.

Classification, Biota & Habitat Of ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’

The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ is classified as “Assam plains alluvial semi-evergreen forests” along with some patches of wet evergreen forest.

Flora & Fauna:

The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ possesses quite a rich and varied treasure trove of biodiversity besides being the sole home to the only apes in India – the western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and also the only nocturnal primate found in the northeast Indian States, the Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis).

Other Primates:

Among the other primates identified in the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ are the capped langur (Trachypithecus pileatus), stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides), eastern Assamese macaque (Macaca assamensis assamensis), northern pig-tailed macaque (Macaca leonina), and the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta).
Environmentalists, foresters, and researchers carrying out field studies and animal censuses inside the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ have also tracked other small and large animals including elephants, those from the cat family like jungle cats (Felis chaus), and Indian leopards (Panthera pardus).
The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ also has, among others, the wild boar (Sus scrofa) as well as four types of squirrels, and three types of civet.

Birds & Snakes:

The ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ is home to approximately 219 bird species and also several types of snake.

Butterflies:

Environmentalists have further recorded 211 species of butterflies in the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.

Extirpation:

There are unfortunately reports that the tiger (Panthera tigris) is now extirpated in the ‘Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.
The term ‘Extirpation’ (also known as ‘local extinction’) refers to the typical scenario when the population of a species ceases to exist across a particular geographical location.

Hoolock Gibbons:

The hoolock gibbons are three primate species of the genus ‘Hoolock hoolock’ in the gibbon family, Hylobatidae.
The hoolock gibbons are native to Northeast India, Myanmar, Southwest China, and eastern Bangladesh. Wikipedia
The scientific name of hoolock gibbon is ‘Hoolock’. Falling in the genus of ‘Hoolock hoolock’, it’s order is ‘Primates’.
The family of this species is ‘Hylobatidae’ and ‘Phylum’ is Chordata.
The ‘Kingdom’ of ‘hoolock gibbons’ is ‘Animalia’; and it’s Infraorder is ‘Simiiformes’.

Bengal Slow Loris:

The endangered ‘Bengal slow loris’ remains restricted to just some isolated populations.
This being of the ‘N. bengalensis’ species in the ‘Strepsirrhini’ Suborder’ and ‘Lorisidae’ family is facing serious threat.
It is almost becoming locally extinct in certain areas of the north-eastern Indian States of Assam and Meghalaya.
Similarly grave is their situation In Arunachal Pradesh, where the population of ‘Bengal slow loris’ is fast declining.

Flora Of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’

Generally, evergreen vegetation is found inside the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’. The evergreen vegetation is found in multiple layers that spread like a canopy

Lower Canopy:

Varieties of evergreen herbs and shrubs make up the ground layers and the lower canopy of the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.
The common evergreen herbs and shrubs found in the sanctuary include bamboo (Pseudostachyum polymorphum p.), Dolu bamboo (Teinosstachyum dullooa), Houka bet (Calamus spp.), Kaupat (Phrynium imbricatum), Tora (Alpinia allughas), and Sorat (Laported cremulata).

Central Canopy:

The central canopy of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ is dominated by the Nahor (Mesua ferrea) with its spreading crown that casts a handsomely heavy shade over an extensive area.
The other species that make up the central canopy of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ include the Dhuna (Conarium resiniferum), Bandordima (Dysoxylum procerum), Bhomora (Terminalia belerica), Bonbogri (Pterospermum lanceafolium), Ful Gomari (Gmelina sp.), Morhal (Vatica lanceafolia), Sassi (Aqualari agolacha), Selleng (Sapium baccatum), and Otenga (Dillenia indica).

Upper Canopy:

The upper canopy of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ is mostly comprised of Dipterocarpus macrocarpus with straight trunks that rises from 39 ft to 98 ft (12 m to 30 m).
Among the other species found in the upper canopy of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ are Amari (Amoora wallichi), Sam (Artocarps chaplasha), Bhelu (Tetramels mudiflora), Sopas (Mcheliai spp.), Hingori (Castanopsis spp.) and Udal (Sterculia villosa).

Conservation Vis-A-Viz Tea Gardens:

A geographic barrier for migrating animals has been formed by the numerous tea gardens that surround the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.
This barrier has isolated the sanctuary.
What is more, the rising populations of workers in these tea gardens has also posed a threat to the habitat of ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’.
This is particularly so as most of them depend on the forest for their traditional medicines, food and firewood.
Moreover, they cut significant quantities of grass and and leaves from the forests to feed their cattle.
Another disturbing factor is that pesticides and herbicides from several neighbouring tea gardens get washed through the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ especially during the rainy season.

Frequent Poaching:

The elephants habitually use the tea gardens in the he ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ as a migration route to Nagaland, and this aspect frequently exposes them to the poachers.

Railway Track & Gibbons:

The railway tracks passing through the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ have divided the park.
As a result, the railway lines have stranded single groups of gibbons into smaller fragments.

Habitat Degradation & Illegal Logging:

The quality of habitat in the ‘Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary’ has been degraded because of encroachments.
On the other hand, illegal logging has also taken a toll on the sanctuary.

The writer — Nilutpal Gogoi is an entrepreneur, senior journalist, writer, translator (from Assamese to English & vice versa), avid traveller, British English Accent & grammar trainer, educationist, and martial arts (Taekwondo) practitioner.