The best time to visit Kaziranga

The answer to the question of “What is the best time to visit Kaziranga” would elicit different answers for different interest groups. The flood alluvial plain forests of Kaziranga is a dynamic entity, displaying varying characteristics based on seasonal variations. For the students and researchers of ecosystems, the monsoon might unveil the answers to many of their questions. The same would apply for ornithologists and birders wanting to study the breeding behaviors and habitats of birds. However, from the perspective of a tourist, the period from November to April is definitely the preferred time to visit this place.
Recently the park authorities have decided to extend the tourist season from October to May. This decision has sparked off many debates – both for and against. Quite a few stakeholders – in the form of hoteliers and tourist guides have welcomed this decision, saying this would benefit the local economy. However, those from the opposite camp argue that animal sightings in October are very poor due to the dense undergrowth. Moreover, it is impossible for the park authorities to repair the entire tourist route, damaged during floods, by September. They also point out that the authorities have not started the elephant safari in October, which justifies their stand. So it is not fair for anyone to come all the way and getting to visit a small area of the park on a jeep. That would definitely not be fair either for the visitors or for the reputation of the park.
On the contrary, there isn’t too much of a debate as far as the month of May is concerned. Since there are no elephant safaris in May, jeeps are the only option available for entering the park. Being in the northeastern part of India, the monsoon arrives early in Kaziranga. This might hamper the Jeep Safari during the month, but the situation is not that alarming.
We believe the park authorities can end this debate by publishing the situation that exists in October in the public domain. This would enable the visitors to take an informed opinion on their own. Additionally, boat safaris are available right from October to May.
Though Kaziranga is off-limits for visitors from June to September, it offers some very exciting propositions during the monsoons. The floods which occur during this period triggers an animal migration to the Karbi Hills towards the south of the park. This phenomenon offers immense opportunities for observing animal behavior from very close quarters. Moreover, a lot of animal rescue and rehabilitation works surface during this season. The entire local community joins in the effort of the authorities and becomes an integral part of these rescue operations. Consequently, there is an immense scope for Volunteer Tourism to flourish during this period.
Additionally, myriad shades of green envelop the entire Kaziranga landscape during this time. Being also a breeding period for birds, the monsoon is a perfect time here for bird watching. This is also the time when hundreds of species of butterflies unveil a multicolored panorama in the entire Kaziranga landscape. This splendid act of nature entices the butterfly lovers to throng the area with their macro lenses and camouflaged clothing’s. Besides, various species of snakes, spiders, frogs, and insects are out in their full splendor during the monsoon.
Monsoon is also the time when community fishing in Assam reaches its crescendo. Being on the banks of the Brahmaputra, the floods brings with it an abundance of fish into the area. This presents a golden opportunity for the serious anglers. 

To summarize, the best time to visit Kaziranga is throughout the year.

Bhaskar J Barua

Wildlife Photographer and Conservationist, Agoratoli Resort
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