Dibru-Saikhowa National Park located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam is spread across an area of 765 sq kms, including a core area of 340 sq kms and a buffer zone of 425 sq kms. Situated on the south bank of river Brahmaputra the Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1997 and an Important Bird Area in 2004.
The Park is bounded by the Mighty Brahmaputra and Lohit rivers in the north, and Dibru river in the south. It is the largest Salix swamp forest in North-eastern India with a tropical monsoon climate. Summers are hot and wet while winters are cool and dry. It mainly consists of moist mixed semi-evergreen forests, moist-mixed deciduous forests, canebrakes and grasslands.
Compared to Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa is less explored and therefore untouched by the commercial buzz. Guijan ghat and Saikhowa ghat are the two entry points to the Park. There are no roads so elephant and jeep safari are out of question.
Activities available :
Boat rides and nature trails are the most popular activities here. To take a tour of the park boat rides are the only option, but at places you can explore the trails accompanied by an experienced guide. There’s a huge land mass in the middle of the river which has a gigantic tree with roots and branches spiraling all around. This tree is said to be 120 years old and another major attraction of the park. As your boat meanders along you can view different species of birds, mammals and sometimes river dolphins too.
Dibru-Saikhowa is a birdwatcher’s paradise as it is home to many unique species of birds. Bird photographers therefore has a lot of scope here to feed their lenses and ever curious mind. Some species of birds that has recorded over time are Jerdon’s babbler, black-breasted parrotbill, Bengal florican, white bellied heron, black-necked stork, Sarus crane, grey-headed fish eagle, white-winged duck, Indian spot-billed duck, common shelduck etc.
Camping and campfire are part of the activities if you stay in the houseboats or eco- lodge. Warming up to the campfire on cold winter nights while enjoying a sumptuous ethnic Assamese meal is an experience you will cherish lifelong. Cultural programs like Bihu dance, husori are sometimes organized too.
While in Assam do not miss the opportunity to visit the tea gardens and Tinsukia and Dibrugarh have plenty of these. Offshore you can visit the tea plantations and explore the nature trails. Take a tour around the factory and see for yourself how your favorite Assam tea is processed and take back a few samples as souvenir.
How to get there :
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is only 12 kms away from Tinsukia town. If you are traveling from any part of the country then Dibrugarh Mohanbari Airport is the nearest airport. Cabs are available at the airport which can take you to Tinsukia town or directly to Dibru-Saikhowa. Alternatively you can board a bus to Tinsukia town after you reach NH37 in a tempo. From the town you can take a cab to Dibru-Saikhowa.
If you are traveling by train then you can directly get off at Tinsukia Railway Station and book a cab from there.
Where to stay :
Eco camps, homestays and hotels are available to make your stay comfortable while visiting Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. Each of these offer different level of comfort and your choice depends on the type of experience you need.
There are a few house boats available for lodging. These boats take you on a day tour over the Brahmaputra to the forest area. On their return these boats are anchored offshore at Guijan ghat and you can stay overnight too. These are like a package tour with complimentary meals available, and you can enjoy a campfire too. Houseboats give you the most charming experience as you wake up to the view of the calm and serene river with birds chirping.
Offshore at Guijan ghat a few eco camps and homestays are said to be available for lodging. You can opt to stay there to get the thrill of camping.
While there a quite a few good hotels and resorts available in and around Tinsukia town for lodging. These provide far better facilities and are comfortable too.
A few good hotels highly recommended are:
- Padmini Resort: Nestled amidst the lush green tea gardens, Padmini Resort is eco-friendly and provides modern luxury comfort. It is spread across a 10 acre plot with landscaped garden, private villa, swimming pool with a bar and a restaurant.
- Wathai Heritage Bungalow: This is a boutique plantation bungalow at Limbuguri Tea Estate in Tinsukia and around Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. Only 3 rooms are available at this heritage bungalow.
- Hotel Royal Highness: Located at GNB Road, Tinsukia this is a luxurious 3 star hotel approved by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India.
- Aroma Residency: This is a boutique hotel located at Rongagora Road, Tinsukia.
Best time to visit :
The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park remains open throughout the year but the best time to visit is from November to March. The season is now, so plan your vacation soon to enjoy the tranquil of Dibru-Saikhowa National Park far from the madding crowd.