Travelling in the North-East in the summer of 2006
Guwahati >> Eaglenest >> Tawang >> Nameri >> Kaziranga >> Shillong >> Cherrapunjee
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I spent a day in Tezpur to take a short leisurely break before heading further to Kaziranga. Tezpur is not much of a city, with one main road around which most of the commerce happens. But to my surprise there were quite a few hotels and yet, rooms were short in supply.
The next morning when I was in the bus stop waiting for a bus to Kaziranga, I realized I had chosen a bad time to wander in Assam. Assembly elections were about to happen the next day, and buses were in short supply. Luckily a bus arrived after an hour of waiting, and I found a seat available. Tezpur to Kaziranga is 1.5 to 2 hour journey and goes through smooth, traffic free highway connecting Tezpur with Dibrugarh. It is a wooded region and occasionally you can see rhinos from a distance, grazing in the grasslands next to the forest.
The bus dropped me at Kohora village outside the park where all tourist facilities exist. I walked a little ahead from the bus stop on the main road and found a few budget hotels there, but all of them seemed to have been closed for some reason. After a quick chai in a small shop, I headed to government tourist complex almost half a kilometer off the main road. When I inquired, it turned out that there was no accommodation available in all the three government run hotels. There was no hotels nearby and just when I was wondering what else to do, fortunately found accommodation in nearby Kaziranga Wildlife Club. It turned out, some people who arrived after me had a tough time later in the day. There are no hotels nearby and there is a short supply of places to stay in Kaziranga, especially in the peak season.
Later in the afternoon, after checking out on options to spend time in Kaziranga, I decided to take an elephant ride into the park next morning. Booking an elephant ride is a painful, two step process. First you register your name in the office at any time of the day. At this time, it doesn’t guarantee you a ride and nor will they tell you if they can give you a seat. The same evening at 7pm, you need to head to an assembly point where everyone who has registered will arrive, and they read out the names of the registered people one after other. Only if you are present there and pay the fee when your name is called, you will get to take the elephant ride the next morning. Trust our officers to come up with interesting ways to make things complicated!
I spent most of my evening walking around the place, and in the evening, managed to get my elephant ride booked for tomorrow.