Dibru Saikhowa: Assam’s Secret Birding Paradise

Dibru Saikhowa: Assam’s Secret Birding Paradise
Brahmaputra River flows to the north of Dibru Saikhowa National Park, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Lying not far from Assam’s border with Arunachal Pradesh is the industrial town of Tinsukia. But did you know it is also the gateway to one of Assam’s most beautiful national parks, Dibru Saikhowa?

OT Staff
June 12 , 2020
05 Min Read

As the fire raged at the Baghjan oil well in upper Assam, the media has been flooded with concerns about the safety of a nearby national park, Dibru Saikhowa. Happy to let big brother Kaziranga hog the touristy limelight, this little-known picturesque national park had so far remained a secret haven for birders and photographers till the fire catapulted it to common knowledge.

Only 12km away by road from the industrial town of Tinsukia, it is part of a large river island, hemmed by the Brahmaputra, Lohit and Dibru rivers. According to the Assam Forest Department, the habitat, which underwent a radical transformation after the great earthquake in 1950, has developed into a unique space with a fantastic diversity of flora and fauna. The national park (1999), with a core area of 340 sq km, is also a biosphere reserve (1997) and Important Bird Area (2004). Apart from its various forest types, the national park is known for its Salix trees and orchids. This is also where you will find the Kekjori, a tree whose branches grow over a large area. Local people treat this as a sacred tree and do not cut its branches.

 
 
 
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It is said that the park has more than 382 species of birds, including Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Crested Grebe, Large Cormorant, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, White Winged Wood Duck, Baer's Pochard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Pale Capped Pigeon, Great Pied Hornbill, Marsh Babbler, Jerdon's Babbler, Black Breasted Parrot bill, etc.

 
 
 
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But the park’s animal diversity does not rest on birds alone. It has over 36 species of mammals, including Bengal tiger, elephant, leopard, jungle cat, slow loris, Assamese macaque, Hoolock gibbon, sambar, barking deer, water buffalo, etc. It is also home to a large herd of feral horses. While you ride a boat through the sanctuary, there are chances of spotting Gangetic dolphins.

Having manged to evade the touristy hordes, the national park has developed into an interesting eco-tourism zone. So once travelling stabilises, may be you can pay a visit to this little-known national park.

 
 
 
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Information: Tinsukia is the nearest accessible large town. The nearest airport is at Dibrugarh 40km away by road. Guwahati is 500km by road from Tinsukia. The best time to visit is between November and April. Apart from boat safaris inside the forest, be ready to walk through muddy swamps. You can also combine a visit to the national park with a visit to a nearby tea garden.


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