Orang National Park – Assam has always been the mines of sanctuaries and national parks. Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park also known as the mini Kaziranga of Assam is one of the famous national parks in Assam and India.
Orang National Park
Situated by the River of Brahmaputra, Orang has been declared as the 4th Tiger Reserve and 49th in the country the State Government on May 2016. But before you reach out this place to watch Tigers closely, let us get some basic information about this famous National Park of Assam. Have a look.
Orang National Park is located on the bank of the Brahmaputra in Darrang, Sonitpur District of Assam. The place was not always a forest area; rather the local tribes of Sonitpur named ‘Orang’, lived in this region, during the British era.
However, once a rare, incurable disease was spread among the people of this tribe in this area and to avoid that the tribe people fled the place. Gradually it became a forest, and by the end of 1919, it came to the notice of the British.
They turned it into Orang Game Reserve, and the nomenclature necessarily came from the lost tribe. The wildlife section of the State Forest Department took care of this Game Reserve to build a Tiger Reserve forest here.
However, after independence it was established as a Wildlife Sanctuary in the year of 1985 and finally on 1992, it was named after Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park.
Before we dig more about this National Park, it is important to know why this place is so important in Assam as a sanctuary.
Importance of Orang National Park
During the British era and the time after that, different forest areas of Assam and other borderline States of India were threatened by the illegal poaching and hunting. To stop such mass murder of animals, various national parks was established, and Orang National Park was one of them.
It is a habitat of tigers and one-horned rhino. To stop the poaching of tigers and one-horned rhinos, several measures have been taken by Orang National Park; International Rhino Foundation is one of them.
Also, to increase the numbers of Rhino, Government has taken up the project ‘Rhino Vision India’ (RVI) which will enhance the numbers of Rhinos to 300 by 2020. Also, many measures have been taken instead of tigers as well.
Geography of the Park
The Orang National Park is situated in a very diverse geographical area, covering more than 78.81 square kilometres. Four rivers namely Belsiri River, Pachnoi River, Dhansiri River and Brahmaputra River border this whole area.
Geographically, the whole area can be called the alluvial flood plains. The whole area can be categorised into different groups such as Eastern Himalayan Moist Deciduous Forest, Eastern Wet Alluvial Grassland, Savannah Grassland, Moist Sandy area, Dry sandy area, etc.
Also, small islands are present in the south and east of the Orang national park. The average annual rainfall is more than 3,000 mm. The temperature of the region varies from 5°C to 35°C along with 60% to 90% of humidity.
Flora and Fauna
Orang National Park consists of significant numbers of mammals, among which one-horned rhino is one of the dominant faunas (recent count of Rhinos is 68).
Apart from that, it is a key habitat of Tigers (Panthera Tigris). Pygmy Hog, Wild Buffalo, Asiatic Elephant, Leopards, Hog Deer, Jungle Cat, Gigantic Dolphin, Otter, etc. are other dominant faunas in Orang.
Mammals are not the only dominant fauna of this region; rather 222 species of bird demand a major attraction of this place. Spot Billed Pelican, White Pelican, Black-necked Stork, Rudy Shelduck, Mallard, Kingfisher, Eagle, Woodpecker, Bengal Florican are some of the most dominant bird species here.
Bengal Florican is a threatened bird species, and Orang has the 2nd highest concentration of Florican. Also, during winter, Orang hosts a large population of migrant birds as well.
Among reptiles Indian Rock Python, King Kobra, Monitor Lizard is famous. Also, Orang is a key habitat for turtles; more than seven species of turtles live here.
Also, more than 55 different species of fish live in the Rivers of the Orang.
Based on the alluvial flood plain, the Orang Park is mainly comprised of grasslands and swamps. Different aquatic and non-aquatic plants can be found in here. Among them, hyacinths, Imperata cylindrica, Bombax Ceiba are some of the natural floras.
How to reach Orang National Park
Orang National Park of Assam is situated closely to Tezpur (50 km away) and Guwahati (128 km away). These two cities are again well-connected to other major cities in India.
By Air– The nearest airport to Orang Park is Salonibari Village in Tezpur which is just 55 km away from the Park.
By Rail– Nearest Railway station is Salonibari and Rangapara.
By Road– Anyone can drive to Orang via NH52 from Tezpur or Guwahati which are well connected to other major cities in India.
Entry Time and Tickets
The entry fee of Orang National Park is very nominal; Rs20 for Indians and foreigners, it is Rs250.
Timing– 7.30 am to 9.30 am and 2 pm to 3 pm.
But before you reach to Orang, it is absolutely necessary to obtain a permit from the Divisional Forest Officer of Mangadoi.
Many cheap hotels can be found in Tezpur for a relaxing stay. However, if you want to stay in the National Park, Tourist Lodge maintained by the Forest Department is available there. However, it needs prior booking.
A beautiful, secluded place with wilderness, Orang National Park is one of the most important national parks in India that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. From one-horned Rhino to fierce Bengal Tigers, Orang is home to hundreds of species of animals. Not only that, but you can also visit the village life near the Park that shows a different world of the living. In a nutshell, Orang can be easily summarised as the mini structure of the Kaziranga with different taste and flavours. Happy Travelling!
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