A tiny red and green signboard at the side of the road to Bhalukpong, will lead you to this national park. Located around 38 km north of Tezpur, Nameri National Park is every wildlife enthusiast’s dream. The best part about being here is that your vehicle might be the only one as far as the eye can see. Divided by the Brahmaputra tributary of Jia Bhoroli, Nameri is a tiger reserve as well as home to many wild elephants. A seemingly unending kuchcha road, complete with bumps and potholes, will lead you deep inside the jungle, which might be troublesome if you are a first time visitor, as it is very easy to lose your way. You could base yourself in the tourist lodge, which offers comfortable cottages, or in the ecocamp. Either way, you will be putting up well within the territory that tigers usually frequent, deep inside the jungle and far away from civilisation. In the absolute dark, the silence can be deafening, with only the leaves rustling, which if you have unusual luck could be a Royal Bengal tiger! But the tigers are not the only animals to look out for. Nameri has the highest rate of human-elephant conflict. Even as you sit around the bonfire at night, it is quite usual to hear firecrackers from the nearby hamlet. This is an often-used trick to chase away herds of hungry elephants that trample through the paddy fields in search of food.

Archyushman Dubey
Ruddy Shelduck, Nameri National Park
Ruddy Shelduck, Nameri National Park

It is usually believed that a trip to Nameri is incomplete without trying the river rafting here. Beginners can easily surf the docile rapids. There are no safaris available in this national park, and it can only be explored on foot. As the locals will tell you, there are chang ghars or stilt houses in the small hamlet nearby. If you are a true blue adventure enthusiast, then you could just grab a torch and head out in search of one of these stilt houses through the pitch dark forested area nearby at night. You could also wake up really early in the morning and embark on a nature trail. Prior permission is required for this trail. If you are keen on birdwatching, this trail is a treat waiting to be savoured. One of the most exciting parts of this trail comes even before you reach the jungle. You will be required to cross the Jia Bhoroli in a small dinghy. This boat trip is equal parts thrilling and tranquil. Seeing the sun rise over the horizon, while sitting in a dinghy is easily unprecedented for most. The Forest Department office is visible from the shore. You will be escorted by two armed guards from the office, who are also expert guides and are well versed with the name of plants and birds. Nameri has a way of unravelling its treasures to anyone who cares to visit. No account does justice to this national park waiting to be explored.

Archyushman Dubey
An elephant foraging in Nameri NP
An elephant foraging in Nameri NP

Tip Carry binoculars. Do not wear bright colours, especially red. Wear proper shoes or boots as there is an abundance of leeches

Park Entry Indians 50; Foreigners 500; Ferry 20 Timings 6.00am-2.00pm Photography 50 Videography 500 Nature Trail Indians 70; Foreigners 520; Guard 100 Rafting Indians 1,700 (2 pax); Foreigners 2,100 (2 pax)

WHERE TO STAY AND EAT

Eco Camp (Tel: 03714-292644, Cell: 09854019932; Tariff: 1,800), on the west side of the river, offers well-appointed tents, with attached bathrooms, and bamboo huts in a beautiful setting. Meals are served in a common dining hall.

There is also Assam Tourism’s well-located Prashanti Lodge (Cell: 09435405806; Tariff: 1,385-2,070), about 30 km further up at Bhalukpong. They also organize rafting trips.

When to go November-March, as the weather remains very pleasant Location 38 km north of Tezpur, en route to Bhalukpong Air Nearest airport: Guwahati Rail Nearest rail: Tezpur

THE INFORMATION

Tourist/ Wildlife Offices

ASSAM

Directorate of Tourism

Assam Tourism

Station Road, Guwahati

Tel: 0361-2547102, 2544475

W assamtourism.gov.in

Tourist Information Office

B-1, Baba Kharak Singh Marg

New Delhi

Tel: 011-23345894

Nameri National Park

Range Officer

Potasali Village, Nameri NP

District Sonitpur

Cell: 08474067329

Tourist Information Office

Tezpur

Tel: 03712-221016, Cell: 09854334080

STD code 03712

Majuli

Tourist Information Office

MG Road, Jorhat

Tel: 0376-2321579

SDO (Civil Admin)

Garhmur, Majuli

Tel: 03775-274424

STD code 03775

MEGHALAYA

Directorate of Tourism

3rd Secretariate, Nokrek Building

Lower Lachumere, Shillong

Tel: 0364-2226054, 2502166

Cell: 09863021744

W megtourism.gov.in