Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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The Endangered species of River Dolphins at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India. Image Rajib Saikia

The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is situated in the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river across the two districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh in Upper Assam. The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park consists of semi wet evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forest, bamboo, cane brakes and grasslands and is just the place for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers with its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse flora and fauna. Originally created for the conservation of White Winged Wood Duck habitat, the area near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park was declared as Dibru Reserve Forest in 1890. The additional area was added to the Dibru Reserve Forest in 1920 and 1933. In 1929, Saikhowa Reserve Forest was declared. This was declared a wildlife Sanctuary in 1986 by the government of Assam by uniting two Reserve forest, viz. Dibru and Saikhowa including some other areas. In 1997, Dibru-Saikhowa Biosphere Reserve was declared with and area of 765 sq km that included the 340 sq km of Sanctuary area as the core. Dibru-Saikhowa wildlife Sanctuary was declared as a National park in 1999. Total area of the park is about 340 sq km. ​

The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is located in the Tinsukia district of Upper Assam. Dibru Saikhowa National Park is a biosphere reserve and is among the top 19 biodiversity hot-spots in the World! Situated on the plains of the Brahmaputra river, the Dibru Saikhowa National Park consists of evergreen and deciduous forests along with abundant growth of bamboo and cane trees and grasslands. The rich biodiversity hotspot of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is a nature lovers paradise and has the vast potential for development of tourism infrastructure. The vast and diverse flora and fauna at Dibru Saikhowa is a result of the confluence of eight different rivers here that bring along fertile soil rich in nutrients for the flood habitats. Dibru Saikhowa National Park is often said to be the second largest river island national park in the world. The starting point of the river Brahmaputra near the park is a confluence of three rivers namely Dibang, Siang and Lohit that flow in from Arunachal Pradesh. The Kekjori tree which is present in the premises of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is often termed as the largest immortal tree species in the World.

​Dibru Saikhowa National Park is one among the five (5) National Parks of Assam viz. Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri National Park, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park and Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Originally this was declared as the Dibru Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary in 1986 and later in 1999 this was declared as the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The total area of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is around 350 sq. km. and was originally created to help assist in conserving the habitat of the rare White Winged Wood Duck.

​Geography and Climate of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

​The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is located in the Tinsukia district of Upper Assam. The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is at an elevation of 118 m from the mean sea level and is located in between the Brahmaputra and Dibru rivers of Assam. The Dibru Saikhowa National Park was set up to protect the grasslands and swamp habitat on the floodplains of the Brahmaputra river. The Dibru Saikhowa National Park is divided into nine distinct areas of wetland and normally has a tropical monsoon climate characterized by hot and wet summers and cold and dry winters.

The winter season at Dibru Saikhowa National Park extends from November to April and is characterized by a cool climate here when the rivers dry up. This is the best time to visit the Park if you are interested in trekking and birdwatching. Thousands of migratory birds flock to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park during this time and the park gets filled with color and chirping of birds across the water reserves here. The Maguri Beel near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is the place to be in winters if you are interested in birdwatching. Various species of birds like the Ruddy Shelduck, Cormorants, Drongos, Kingfishers, Hornbills, Mynasa, Bar Headed Geese, Purple Swamphens, etc. can be spotted here during winters.

The summer season extends from May to August when the climate goes to become slightly hot and humid here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

The monsoons at Dibru Saikhowa National Park range from June through September month and the pleasant rains bring a respite to the humid months of June. This is when the park gets flooded with water from the Dibru and Brahmaputra rivers. The climate ranges from around 25 to 33 degrees and this season opens a new form of tourism at Dibru Saikhowa National Park when the orchids of Assam start blooming. As the park gets filled with water it becomes easier for the house boats to maneuver across the islands here and an amazing wildlife journey starts here when you board your houseboats to sight the beautiful flowering orchids and meander along the  river course to see the bright colored plants. The monsoons also gives you an opportunity to visit the Churkey Sapori island which is famous for the Feral horses of Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

​Flora of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

​The Dibru Saikhowa National Park being a top biodiversity hotspot has a wide variety of fauna species. Characterized by deciduous and evergreen forests with growth of bamboo and cane trees in abundant at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Some of the dominant flora found at Dibru Saikhowa National Park are Dillenia indica, Bischofia javanica, Bombax ceiba, Lagerstroemia parviflora, Terminalia myriocarpa, Mesua ferrea, Dalbergia sissoo, and Ficus.

​Fauna of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

​Animals – Although the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park was primarily meant for the conservation of White winged wood duck in its natural habitat, it is also the famous for its bright colored wild horses known as Feral Horses. Some rare and endangered animals of this sanctuary are Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, sloth bear, dhole, small Indian civet, Malayan giant squirrel, Chinese pangolin, Gangetic dolphin, slow loris, pig tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, capped langur, Hoolock gibbon, Asian elephant, wild boar, Sambar deer, hog deer, barking deer, Asiatic water buffalo, etc.

​Birds – The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is a bird watcher’s paradise with over 300 species of birds. Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, Crested Serpent Eagle,Spot Billed Pelican, White Winged Duck, Baer’s Pochard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Bengal Florican, Pale Capped Pigeon, Great Pied Hornbill, March Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black Breasted Parrotbill and many other birds can be spotted at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

​Reptiles – two species of monitor lizard, eight turtle species and eight snake species have been recorded at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

​House Boat Services at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

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The Royal Princess House Boat Service at Dibru Saikhowa ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India

​The House Boat services at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is one of a kind in India where one gets to experience the varied wildlife of the National Park aboard a River Cruise. There are many options of House Boat services available at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park with the most prominent being the Om House Boat. These Houseboats, each allows a day long or a night long package safari of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The luxurious rooms of these Houseboats makes you feel a unique experience sighting the majestic wildlife of Assam. In house activities ensure the young ones are not left bored away from home. Activities like beach volleyball and camp fire are available on the House Boats of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. These Houseboats offer lip smacking traditional cuisine and ensure that your visit to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is a memorable one to cherish for a lifetime!

The Om House Boat services at the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is perhaps the only service in India that allows the visitors to admire the grandeur of the flora and fauna of the National Park aboard a river cruise. Visitors can wish to chose to take a day safari (recommended) as well as a night safari on this cruise to sight the exotic Fauna and Avi-Fauna species at Dibru-Saikhowa. In addition to the Om House Boat, there are also other House Boat services at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. For individuals and families with a small group can also hire smaller boats at Dibru Saikhowa to take a tour of the National Park. For visitors choosing to halt at Dibru Saikhowa National Park there are a few eco resorts at the vicinity of the National Park. Along with Om House Boat Service at Dibru Saikhowa National Park there are many other luxury boats that offer you a cruise experience here. The Royal Princess House Boat service at Dibru Saikhowa National Park is another luxury House Boat service here. Accompanied with luxury rooms this Boat also takes you on an amazing river cruise experience to sight the varied flora and fauna of Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Other Houseboat Services are Traveller’s Hut House Boat Service and Nakshatra House Boat Service. For smaller groups of travellers there are many smaller boats on hire too. They small boats also take you on a ride across the National Park at cheaper rates but they do not have the option of lodging and fooding facilities. You can hire these boats to take a tour of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park only during the day and not for the night Safari.

​Location and How to reach the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park ~

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is located at about 12 km north of Tinsukia town of Assam at the Guijan Ghat. The nearest Airport to reach the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is at Dibrugarh (2 hours drive) while the nearest accessible railway station is at Tinsukia (45 minutes). We arrange for your transportation from the Airport/Railway station to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park along with an experienced local who guides you along the way.

Places of interest at Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

1| Maguri Beel near Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

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The beautiful evening view of the Maguri Beel ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India

Across Assam one can find many waterbodies in the form of lakes which are locally called as ‘Beel’. Often dotted with sandy islands and mudflats these ‘Beels’ contain mixed grass that harbour many species of grassland birds. The open waters of these ‘Beels’ or lakes also contain large concentration of waterfowls. The Maguri Beel is a part of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and Biosphere Reserve but is located just outside the core area of the National Park.

Maguri Beel is located on the south bank of the Dibru River. The Dibru river is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra river. The Maguri Beel is not a protected area so the local villagers use it for fishing regularly. Being very rich in aquatic life, the Maguri Beel is very rich in Biodiversity and a variety of waterfowls and grassland birds are to be found here. With the absence of many other mammal species and sparse human population around the Maguri Beel, this place attracts birds in huge numbers. Large flocks of birds can be spotted feeding at the Maguri Beel. The major population being of the Ruddy Shelducks. Other species of bird found at Maguri Beel are Egrets, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Baikal Teal, Falcated Duck., Ferruginous Duck,  Pied Harrier, Swamp Francolin, Jerdon’s Babbler, Marsh Babbler, Swamp Prinia, Grassland Warblers, Baer’s Pochard, Black Breasted Parrotbill, Great Cormorant, Indian Shag, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Bar headed Goose, Common Teal, Garganey, Eurasian Wigeon, Black Kite, Cotton Teal, Griffon Vulture, Swamp Francolin, Red Wattled Lapwing, Spotted Dove, Barn Swallow, White Wagtail, etc.

For complete list of Birds at Maguri Beel: Click Here

2| Kekjori Tree at Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

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Our visitor from Slovakia exploring the area of the Kekjori Tree ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India

The Kekjori tree located inside the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is a place that has been attracting a lot of tourists to this National Park for over many years now. This Kekjori tree is over a hundred years old and it grows very far and wide covering a large span of area at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park to a tune of few acres. This tree is located in the heart of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and has huge branches spread far and wide and has been in the folklore of the village around the National Park for many generations. The local villagers say that this tree has been standing here since the time of their forefathers and has been growing strong over many years. The villagers believe that this tree is sacred and do not cut the tree branches as it is believed to bring a bad omen. This tradition has helped preserve the roots of tree here. Many visitors from across the World come to Dibru Saikhowa National Park to get a glimpse of this unique tree. This flow of tourists here has given a boost to the local villagers who have got a source of revenue generation in the form of tourism here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. This Kekjuri tree is a must visit place on your Itinerary here.

In order to reach here, you will need to hire a private boat that will assist you to cross the River Dibru and it takes around 15 minutes time. Various options of boat facilities are available here from small boats to big boats on hire. After crossing the river Dibru you will need to trek for a time of 30 minutes to reach the Kekjuri tree at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Prior permission is needed from the forest office and upon payment of the park entrance fees you can visit this tree accompanied with a forest guard. On the way to the Kekjuri tree you will cross the Saal Beel. This Saal Beel is a small lake that is home to many species of migratory and resident birds here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Spend a little time here to sight these majestic avifaunal species mostly the Ruddy Shelducks. This place has also been famous for the presence of the Saal fish of Assam.

3| Churkey Sapori at Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

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Feral Horses at Dibru Saikhowa National Park at Tinsukia ~ Tinsukia ~ Assam ~ India. Image – Rajib Saikia

This river island at Dibru Saikhowa National Park is famous for its population of the ‘Feral Horses’. These horses were originally domesticated horses and were left here during the World War II by the forces and since then they have been able to survive on their own in the wild here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Their ability to survive in these conditions of the wild after being domesticated has generated curiosity among the visitors here. The present feral horses here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park are unique third and fourth generation of the original feral horses. As per the recent count there are around 50 feral horses present here. Across the World these feral horses are renowned as Misakai Horse in Japan, Brumby horses in Australia and the Mustangs of United States of America. Although these are not originally wild horses, they have now adapted well to the wild surroundings of Dibru Saikhowa National Park. They are generally spotted in herds here and during the monsoons they have been spotted on groups of almost 20 horses together. The best time to sight these Feral horses of Dibru Saikhowa National Park is during the monsoon season when the rivers are filled with water and the house boats here are able to meander easily across the islands – a unique experience of all visitors to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park where they are set to experience wildlife wilderness onboard a River Cruise.

4| Laika Forest Village ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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Traditional Bamboo Cottages of the Laika Village ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India

There are many descendants of the local tribes of Assam who are now residents of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and stay inside the premises of the National Park at the Laika and Dodhia villages here. These two forest villages are home to the Mishing tribes, the Muttock tribes, the Moran tribes and the Sonowal Kachari tribes of Assam. Plan your visit to these villages if you are interested in living their way of life that is characterized by leading of a rural village life filled with traditional customs and practices. Their age old traditions and way of living is a prime attraction to many visitors here at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

5| Boating on River Dibru and River Dolphin sighting ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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River dolphins in Dibru River at the Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Tinsukia ~ Assam ~ India

While at the top biodiversity hotspot of Dibru Saikhowa National Park ensure not to miss out on sighting the River Dolphin species. These shy creatures are now on an endangered list as rapid killing of them for food has significantly reduced their population number to a huge extent. Protected in the waters of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park, these River Dolphins are amazing creatures and their quick movements on the river waters make them hard to sight. But with close observation at these specific dolphin viewing points at the National Park, one is sure to spot these majestic and friendly creatures. A pair of binoculars along with keen eyes is a special skill needed to sight the river dolphins at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. During this time you can also take the tour of the boat on the river Dibru along with the National Park to sight varied species of flora and fauna.

6| Sighting Hoolock Gibbons at Barekuri ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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Hoolock Gibbons species

Barekuri village near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park is located in a calm and serene environment that offers an ideal retreat to nature lovers as it offers a green and colorful natural landscape view filled with varied flora and fauna. This village is gradually gaining importance on the tourist track map due to its population of the Hoolock Gibbons and Slow Loris. These Hoolock Gibbons are classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List. Although this area is not marked as a protected zone but the people of the village have started to live in existence with these monkeys with the area being surrounded by them. Their unique cries makes them an interesting creature to film on camera. Unlike the other monkeys who roam around in flocks, the Hoolock Gibbons prefer to be left alone and they have very long legs and arms.

Stay Options at Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~

1| Banashree Eco Resort ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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The Cottages of the Banashree Eco Resort at Dibru Saikhowa ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India

For visitors choosing to halt at Dibru Saikhowa National Park there are a few eco resorts at the vicinity of the National Park. The most prominent being the Banashree Eco Resort at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. Among the first Eco resorts of Assam, the Banashree Eco Resort provides its visitors a unique ecotourism experience. The founders of this resort are among the pioneers of tourism in Assam and also have camping properties at Roing in Arunachal Pradesh.

Located on a sprawling area, the Banashree Eco Resort at Dibru Saikhowa National Park overlooks the waters of the River Dibru at its front and the vast green cover of tea gardens at its back. The Banashree Eco Resort is very close to the area of the Dibru Saikhowa National Park and is only divided by the River Dibru that can be crossed by means of a country boat to reach the park. The Banashree Eco Resort has 8 traditional cottages that welcomes all the visitors to Dibru Saikhowa National Park. These cottages are elegantly designed with bamboo and concrete structure that provides a natural environment for your stay here at Dibru Saikhowa National Park. The promoters of the Banashree Eco Resort Mr. Abedin has been a pioneer in promoting tourism across the State of Assam and is an avid birdwatcher who has guided many groups from the country and abroad on various bird watching expeditions. At the Banashree Eco Resort you are always greeted with a warm smile by the staff of the Resort or either of the owners of the Resort.

The Banashree Eco Resort is a perfect holiday destination for any wildlife enthusiast or a nature lover who wants to spend time away from a busy life and wants to rejuvenate amidst the calm and peace of a natural environment that gives you time to indulge in your passion of wildlife photography, birding, trekking or simple admiing hte bounites of mothe rnarure. The Banashree Eco Resort has an in house kitchen that serves delicious food to all its visitors. Traditional cuisine of Assam cooked with delicious natural herbs on fire is a prime USP of the Banashree ECO resort at Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

2|The Dibru Saikhowa Eco Camp ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park

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Welcome to the Dibru Saikhowa Eco Camp at Dibru Saikhowa ~ Dibru Saikhowa National Park ~ Assam ~ India