A hidden gem of Assam, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the closest wilderness areas to Guwahati city. The Sanctuary is relatively unexplored, compared to some of the well-known wildlife destinations of the state.
I happened to discover Pobitora during my Guwahati trip. It wasn’t part of our itinerary unless a local shop owner from Guwahati enlightened us about this sanctuary during a casual chat.
Nestled on the bank of the river Brahmaputra in Morigaon district, Pobitora is a quick drive from Guwahati. It was originally maintained as a grazing reserve for the Nagaon district.
Recognizing a sizable presence of one-horned rhinos in this area, Pobitora was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1987. The sanctuary is spread over 38.8 sq km and shares its boundary with 27 neighbouring villages.
A Quick Glance Through
- How To Reach
- Things To See and Do
- Best Time To Visit
- Where To Stay
- Permit and Safari Booking
- Nearby Places To Visit
How To Reach Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Pobitora is roughly 48 km away from Guwahati. The roads leading to the sanctuary are mostly in good condition, so it doesn’t take more than 1.5 hours to reach there.
The nearest railhead is located in Jagiroad, which has direct train connectivity from Kolkata, Guwahati, Dibrugarh and other major cities of Assam. Guwahati railway station is the second nearest railhead.
Guwahati International Airport serves as the nearest airport to the sanctuary. It has direct flights from many prominent cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.
Things To See and Do
The Sanctuary can be visited as a day-long trip from Guwahati. If you are wondering what you can do there? Scroll down to know what all awaits you at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
1. Plentiful Wildlife
One-horned rhinoceros are the prime attraction of this sanctuary. The last rhino census carried out in Pobitora in 2018 mentions, the sanctuary has an estimated 102 rhinos including calves and adults. So, there are 2 or more rhinos in every sq km forest area. You can have almost guaranteed rhino sighting in the sanctuary.
It has also been identified as one of the protected areas under the program Indian Rhino Vision (IRV 2020). This program is a joint effort by the Government of Assam and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in partnership with some of the renowned international NGOs.
To realize the vision of this program, the sanctuary is successfully driving the rhino breeding initiative. Some of the rhinos were also translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park as part of IRV 2020.
The grassland vegetation of the sanctuary provides an excellent habitat to the one-horned rhinoceros. Water buffalos are the second most widely sighted animal in the sanctuary after rhinos. You may also spot golden jackal and wild boar but they are mainly found near the hilly terrains.
Jeep safari and elephant safari are the two major activities for tourists at the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Elephant ride is for an hour and jeep safari usually lasts between 1.5-2 hours traversing different parts of the forest.
2. Bird Watching
The marshy lands of the sanctuary serve as wintering ground for numerous migratory birds. They start to arrive here towards the end of October and the migratory season lasts till March.
Pobitora attracts a lot of birdwatchers and ornithologists from all around the world during the season. Many species of resident birds are also found in the sanctuary. Explore to spot birds like lesser whistling teal, black-necked stork, red-wattled lapwing and little egret.
3. Haduk Hanging Bridge
Right opposite the entrance of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary lies the Haduk Hanging Bridge. It looks like a miniature of the famous Howrah Bridge of Kolkata. The quaint charm of the bridge draws many tourists.
With the backdrop of lush green forest and a small but tranquil lake, it is popular as a photography and selfie spot. 🙂
4. Garanga Beel
A beel in the Assamese language refers to a lake or pond. The scenic Haduk Hanging Bridge is built on the Garanga Beel.
You can see many waterfowls such as ducks and geese swimming in this serene lake. It is rich in fish and aquatic vegetation, which attracts birds like pond herons and egrets.
Check this post, if you want to know which are the 20 stunning and major lakes in India?
Best Time to Visit
The sanctuary remains open throughout the year except monsoon. It closes before the onset of monsoon, typically at the end of May every year and opens in November.
November to March months are considered the best time for birdwatching in Pobitora because of the arrival of migratory birds.
Where To Stay
There are quite a few eco-resorts near Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. They offer affordable accommodation with basic amenities. Plan and book well in advance, particularly during the birdwatching season.
Another option is to book your stay at Guwahati, which is not very far from the sanctuary. From luxury to budget hotels, Guwahati city has plenty of options to choose from.
Permit and Safari Booking
The forest entry permits and safari jeeps are booked separately at Pobitora. You need to buy a forest entry permit at the main entrance by paying a nominal charge of Rs 50 per person.
One Jeep can accommodate a maximum of 6 people and costs Rs. 1300. It costs Rs 500 per person for elephant safari.
While the jeep safari can be booked throughout the day from 6:30 am to 3 pm, elephant rides can be taken only during morning hours.
Walk across the Haduk Hanging Bridge to reach the elephant safari point. All the elephant rides start from this spot.
Nearby Places To Visit
Where should you head next? This depends on your interests and the things you want to do. Head to Kaziranga National Park, if the wildlife explorer in you is still unsatiated. It is 3.5 hours journey by cab from Pobitora to Kaziranga.
Check this post to find out, what awaits you there and the 5 remarkable facts, Kaziranga National Park is famous for. It takes almost 3.5 hours to reach Kaziranga from Pobitora by cab.
Almost 120 km from Pobitora is the beautiful city of Shillong. Visit there to soak in the beautiful vistas of the surroundings.
Check this post to know, which are the most enchanting tourist places in Shillong? It takes a little over 3 hours to reach Shillong from Pobitora.
You can make a quick excursion to Mayong village, which lies only a few kilometers away from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.
It is known as the land of black magic and sorcery, where magic is the way of life for its inhabitants.
The mystical Mayong grabbed the attention of the world when a documentary ‘Mayong: Myth/Reality’ was selected for screening in an International Film Festival held in the USA.
Over To You Now…
Owing to its proximity to Guwahati, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has become a popular wildlife destination.
Have you visited this magical land of the one-horned rhinos? Tell us in the comment section below.
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