The last leg of the trip was a visit to Kaziranga national park, home of the famous one horned rhinoceros.
Kaziranga is about 250 km away from Shillong but it took pretty much the entire day on the road to get there. The road was terrible and it was dark by the time we reached. Thank God we had a local driver or who knows how long it would have taken us to reach.
We stayed at a hotel called Prayag Emerald. It is on the cheaper side but good value for money. There was a slight problem with our bookings. It was sorted out on the way there and we didn’t any problems once we reached. The rooms were pretty basic. But the best part was the big open lawn area with a lot of trees everywhere. They set up a bonfire in the evening as it was winter. We were the only big group there and the fire was all ours. We spent the entire night drinking, talking and what not even though we had an early morning safari to get to.
Kaziranga offers jeep safaris and elephant safaris. The elephant ones were fully booked. We got the jeep safari. The park is home to ‘The Big 5’. The Asian elephant, one horned rhinoceros, the Bengal tiger, Asiatic wild buffalo and swamp deer (Barasingha).
The safari was a tourist trap!! Fun to go on but quite pointless. Since the route remains unchanged and there are so many trips in one day, the animals tend to avoid the area. All we saw were a few rhinos far away and one elephant. I was quite content with that since I’m not a huge fan of wildlife safaris. However, it will disappoint avid wildlife buffs as the park does not allow personal safaris.
That was it. We spent the rest of the day resting. The next day we left early in the morning for Guwahati as we had a train back to Kolkata in the afternoon. The train however was 8 hours late. Till the train arrived, we managed to get a room in the hotel we had stayed at before.
We had a 17 hour 2nd class journey to look forward to after finally getting into the train. It wasn’t all that bad. We reached Kolkata the next afternoon, 12 hours later than scheduled.