The last leg of the trip was a visit to Kaziranga national park, home of the famous one horned rhinoceros.
Kaziranga is about 250 km away from Shillong but it took pretty much the entire day on the road to get there. The road was terrible and it was dark by the time we reached. Thank God we had a local driver or who knows how long it would have taken us to reach.
We stayed at a hotel called Prayag Emerald. It is on the cheaper side but good value for money. There was a slight problem with the bookings but it got sorted on the way here and we didn’t any problems once we reached. The rooms were pretty basic. But the best part was the big open lawn area with a lot of trees everywhere. Since it was winter they set up a bonfire in the evening. We were the only big group there and had the fire all to ourselves. The entire night was spent there drinking, talking and what not even though we had an early morning safari to get to.
Kaziranga offers jeep safaris and elephant safaris. We could only get the jeep safari as the elephant ones were fully booked. The park is home to ‘The Big 5’. The Asian elephant, one horned rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, Asiatic wild buffalo and swamp deer (Barasingha).
The safari was a tourist trap!! Fun to go on but quite pointless. Since the route remains unchanged and there are so many trips in one day, the animals tend to avoid the area. All we saw were a few rhinos far away and one elephant. I was quite content with that since I’m not a huge fan of wildlife safaris. Avid wildlife buffs will be disappointed by this. Personal safaris are not allowed in the park so I’m not sure how people can go deeper into the reserve if they are interested.
That was it, the rest of the day was spent resting. The next day we left early in the morning for Guwahati as we had a train back to Kolkata in the afternoon. The train however was 8 hours late. We managed to get a room in the hotel we stayed at before till the train arrived.
After finally getting into the train, we had a 17 hour 2nd class journey to look forward to. It wasn’t all that bad. We reached Kolkata the next afternoon, 12 hours later than scheduled.