This was my third attempt – Third attempt in trying to spot a one-horned Rhino in the wild. I had been to Chitwan National Park (Nepal) a long time ago, but my luck had it so bad that I had not seen a single Rhino. Last year during December when I was selected as one of the Bodoland Ambassadors for 2019, I was super excited. I was not only excited for exploring the untouched Bodoland, but I was also excited as a part of the itinerary was to visit Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
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Introduction to Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary or in short just Pobitora is a wildlife sanctuary in Assam. The sanctuary was declared as a reserve forest in the year 1971 and a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1987.
The size of the sanctuary is about 38 square kilometres and has a terrain of grassland. This makes it easy to spot the wildlife. The sanctuary is known as ‘Mini-Kaziranga‘.
Known for its highest concentration of one-horned Indian Rhinos, the sanctuary hosts around 102 Rhinos (according to the survey done in 2018). And because of this ratio of the size and the number of Rhinos, it is close to impossible to miss spotting a Rhino.
The sanctuary also has a great variety of bird species and is hence known as ‘Bharatpur of the East‘.
Location & Getting there
The wildlife sanctuary is located on the banks of River Brahmaputra in Morigaon district of the state Assam in India. The sanctuary is around 48 kilometres from Assam’s capital city Guwahati. By Road, the sanctuary is an hour or two hours long drive from Guwahati. Pobitora is often an enroute to the famous national park of Assam, which is the Kaziranga National Park.
Wildlife in Pobitora
As mentioned earlier, the sanctuary is home to the one-horned Indian Rhinoceros. The sanctuary successfully runs a Rhino breeding program under the Indian Government. The program is known as “Indian Rhino Vision 2020” and more details about the program can be found on Rhinos.org website.
A must thing to do while in Pobitora is to spot the wild Rhinos.
It is also a home to more than 400 species of birds, including the residents and the migratory birds. It is believed that during winters, more than 2000 migratory birds visit the sanctuary. Hence this sanctuary makes a bird lover’s and the photographer’s dream destination.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit the sanctuary is during winters. It is pleasant during that time of the year and one can view the diverse bird species. The winter months are from November to February.
Note: Avoid the monsoon season as the area of the sanctuary is prone to floods, and the floods in turn damages the conditions of the roads.
Permission & Jeep Safari details
Separate permissions have to be taken to visit Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. These permits can be bought at the entrance of the sanctuary. And the permits cost INR 50 per person for Indian nationals and INR 500 per person for foreign nationals.
The jeep safari runs everyday and the duration of the safari is 1 to 2 hours. The first safari starts at 7 in the morning and has the last safari scheduled at 3 in the afternoon. Below are the details of the jeep safari:
- Timings: 7 AM to 3 PM, with a break between 12 PM and 1 PM.
- Cost: INR 1300 for one jeep that accommodates 6 people; the cost also includes the guide and the driver.
- Additional cost: There is an additional cost of INR 50 for each camera and the camera needs to be declared at the time of booking the safari.
- Booking: At the entrance.
Note: There are elephant safaris as well, but I do not support the elephant safaris and hence I have not detailed the information about the elephant safaris. The details can be obtained at the entrance.
Safety for Travelers
Being a solo female traveler, safety is my biggest concern during my travels. Like any other travel I have done, I was worried about traveling in Assam as well. But I was taken in for a surprise. Having traveled in Bodoland and other parts of Assam for 10 days, I realised that I did not have to be worried about the safety in this part of India. People are more welcoming and the places in spite of being remote are really safe. And yes, it is absolutely safe to travel to and in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
Beware of the Rhinos during the night times as sometimes they tend to wander outside of the sanctuary.
I absolutely loved this wildlife sanctuary. I saw at least 4 to 5 Rhinos during my one hour jeep safari and they were really close encounters. For a wildlife enthusiast, I totally recommend visiting Pobitora wildlife sanctuary. And I promise you will not regret!
If you are a wildlife lover or a bird watcher, then this place must surely be in your list of places to visit.