Orang National Park, Assam

As an effective measure to conserve nature and promotion of tourism governments of various states have declared several places as wildlife sanctuaries, reserved forests and national parks. The Assam state Government had taken praise worthy steps in preservation of nature that made the state being proud of having numerous sanctuaries and reserved forests than any other place in India. Orang National Park, one of the famous wild life sanctuary shares its location in two states, Darrang and Sonitpur districts in Assam. Unlike other National parks, this park has great historical and geographical significance. It situates in the northern side of River Brahmaputra that makes the land fertile and abode to wide species of plants, animals and birds.

Geographically the park is classified as alluvial flood plains, other than lying in the northern banks of River Brahmaputra it is encompassed in the borders by the Pachnoi River, Belsiri River and Dhansiri rivers that joins in the Brahmaputra River. It has islands in the east and southern side. This geographical structure made this park favorite Indo – Burma biodiversity spot for tourists. At monsoon these flood plains have overlapping streams that had created twelve wetlands in addition to the 26 man made water bodies. Rainy seasons prevail in this region giving high rainfall during the monsoon. The native villagers live around this park.

Till the 19th century the place was owned by native local tribes. As an aftermath of an incurable epidemic the tribe groups left the region. During the reign of British rule the British Government had declared this region as Orang game Reserve in the year 1915. Post independence Orang was managed by the Department of Forest, Assam as Game reserve for the project Tiger aimed at the preservation tigers. In the year 1985 Orang was officially declared as wild life sanctuary and was renamed as Rajiv Gandhi Park in 1992. The renaming of the park invited wide oppression stating that it would politicize the administration of the park to a particular political party. In 1999 it was finally declared as Orang National park.

The park is a natural habitat for rare and endangered species. The indigenous one horned Indian Rhinoceros is the major attraction in this region now as the fruit of the joint effort by international Rhino foundation, WWF and Government of Assam to protect the rhinoceros species.  Apart from rhinoceros Orang is a natural breeding place for other species.

It includes the endangered species of Bengal tiger and pygmy hog. According to the official census, there are 68 Indian rhinoceros and 75 pygmy hog. The pygmy hog is the rarest category of wild pig that is enlisted as endangered species C2 a (ii) in IUCN listing. Asiatic elephant, wild boar, hog deer, Indian pangolin, Indian fox, Bengal porcupine, otter, leopard cat, small Indian civet cat, fishing cat and jungle cat are the other dominant species found here. Among these species the Royal Bengal tiger enlisted as endangered species by IUCN red list is about 19 numbers found in Orang.

There are several fish species in the river and the Gangetic Dolphin is the rarest fish species found here. The Ava fauna found here are Bengal Florican, great white pelican, black necked stork, Lesser adjutant stork, spot billed pelican and several other water bird species, migratory bird species and scavenger bird species also adds the beauty of the park.

Other than the identified species there are reptiles and amphibians are also having a major population in the park.

Orang is also known as mini Kaziranga due to the richness in flora and fauna that is equalent to Kaziranga National park. The access to the park is available through air, rail and road transport. The nearest airport is Saloni airport 10 km form Tezpur and 87 kms from Guwahati, railway station is in Rangapara. There is well connected road transport form Guwahati, Tezpur, Sonitpur, that is near by the Orang NH 52 near Orang Town.

The visitors are allowed during 7.30 to 9.30 am and 2.00 to 3.00 pm and April to October is the prime time to visit this place. Visitors are subject to the authorization from Divisional Forest Officer, Mangaldoi.