The largest protected area in India, Namdapha National Park is located in the north-eastern state of India, Arunachal Pradesh and has been blessed with a rich biodiversity. Placed close to the Indo-Myanmar-China tri-junction, it spreads in an area of 1985 square km. As the national park is placed under the Palearctic as well as Indo Malayan bio-geographic region, it boasts of being home to vast variety of animals and birds.
The national park gained popularity at the time of the Second World War, mainly due to its rich biodiversity. Finally in 1972, Namdapha was founded as a wildlife sanctuary. Furthermore, in the year 1983, it was declared a National Park and Tiger Reserve. A number of refugee immigrants call this park their home. Today, the park is one of the main attractions of Arunachal Pradesh.
The existence of different kinds of vegetation make the park ideal location for a number of rare animals species such as clouded leopard, snow leopards, tigers, Himalayan bear, and common leopards. Some of the large predators of this jungle are Asiatic black bears, wolves and dholes. Red panda, marbled cat, some mongoose, common palm civet, masked palm civet red fox, small Indian civet, Oriental small-clawed otter are all small carnivores. The park also houses a number of herbivores too such as common goral, bharal, forest musk deer, hog deer, sambar, elephant wild boar and so on. One can also spot as many as 7 kinds of non-human primates, including Assamese Macaques, Stump-tailed macaque, Capped Langurs, and Hoolock Gibbons. These animals make wildlife safari in Namdapha, a memorable experience.
Namdapha also boasts of housing as many as 425 species of birds wherein a number of bird are still being discovered in the higher areas of the park. The park has 5 Hornbill species, rare Snowy-throated Babbler, Green Cochoa, Rufous-throated Hill-partridge Rufous-necked Hornbill, White-cheeked hill partridge, White-winged Wood Duck and more.
A number of plants founded here are endemic, endangered and rare species. Vanda caerulea, Abies delavayi, Pinus merkusii, Amentotaxus, Cephalotaxus and Larix, fern Cyathea sp, Paphiopedilum fairrieanum can be found here.
Safari in Namdapha National Park
Jeep safari in Namdapha is not available as the area is mainly known as a paradise for bird watching with over 400 species being spotted here, including some rare ones. As the sound of the motor vehicles can disturb the avifauna species, jeep safaris are not allowed by the reserve management.
Permits– Two permits are required for visiting Namdapha Natioanl Park- one is Inner Line Permit for entry into Arunachal Pradesh state, and the other one is a tourist permit, which is given at the Field Director’s Office, Namdapha National Park for entering Namdapha.
Attractions of Namdapha
Miao Mini Zoo–Located opposite to the Miao museum, close to the office of the Field Director, Miao mini zoo houses a number of primates of Namdapha. You can spot animals like slow loris, Assamese macaques, pig-tailed macaque, and hoolock gibbons. Leopard cats, porcupines are the other small mammals, and Himalayn palm civet, the small carnivore. Barking deer, sambar, ghariyal and black bears are the other attractions.
Miao Museum– Taken care off by the Namdapha park authorities, Miao Museum is placed near to the Field Director’s Office. The prime highlight here are the rooms where animal specimens from Namdapha and the adjoining arrears are collected from decades. There are specimens of frog and snake, along with mammal pelts, skulls and bird skins. Another attraction here is a skeleton of huge python. There is another room where the tools, daily utility items and clothes of the local people are on display. The museum is open on all working days.
Raja Jheel – There is a path away from the road between Firm base and Hornbill, right before Rani Jeehl, that leads you to Raja Jheel in the buffer zone. Both the jheels are around an hour’s walk away. Though Raja Jheel is a forest swamp with overgrown vegetation, but several colorful bird species can be spotted here. The walk further from the jheel towards the mountains is a difficult one. There is a small stream 20 minutes’ walk away from Rani jheel. This spot is famous for camping in Namdapha.
Moti Jheel – 10 miles away from the forest department campsite is Moti jheel, a small natural pool, on the top of the Gibbon’s Land plateau. The walkway to the jheel is steep but has lush forest. This path is also perfect for bird watching. Visitors can plan this leisure walk.
Gandhigram: Locally known as Shidi, Gandhigram is the largest settlement near Namdapha. This is a well-planned hamlet has traditional Chang houses, erected in rows, along parallel streets.
Vijaynagar: Located at a distance of around 18 km from Gandhigram, Vijaynagar is the base where the Assam Rifles are stationed. An advanced landing ground (ALG) is also maintained by the Indian Air Force
Other Activities in Namdapha:
- River crossing
- Elephant ride
- Boat Ride
Best time to Visit- October to March is the best time for visiting the park.
How to reach Namdapha
By Air: The nearest airport is Mohanbari airport in Dibrugarh, which is around 160 km away from the national park. For better and regular connectivity, there is Guwahati airport.
By Rail: Tinsukia railway station in Assam is the nearest railhead.
By Road: The road journey between Dibrugarh and Miao is of around six hours. On the way, you pass places like Tinsukia, Digboi, Margherita, Ledo, Jagun, Namchik and Kharsang. Overnight buses are also offered from Guwahati by a number of private bus companies. These buses start their journey in the afternoon and arrive in Jagun, early next morning. From here Miao is 2 hours’ drive away. Hiring taxis is another option.