Lesser-known Forest of Assam: Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary


There are six National Parks and eighteen Sanctuaries in Assam. However the tourists generally visit Kaziranga and Manas. In this article, the author describes another lesser-known sanctuary in Sonitpur district bordering Arunachal Pradesh. Let us know about Sonai Rupai Sanctuary of Assam.

Whenever we discuss the forest and wildlife of Assam, we only talk about Kaziranga and Manas National Parks. But in Assam, there are six National Parks and eighteen Wildlife Sanctuaries. In this article, we will know about Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, a small and beautiful lesser-known sanctuary located at the border of Assam with Arunachal Pradesh in the district of Sonitpur.

Sonai Rupai Sanctuary is located along the foothills of the Himalayan Range. The total area of the sanctuary is 220 square kilometers. The forest has been notified as a sanctuary in 1998.



Animals and trees found in the sanctuary

The tourists can see one-horned rhinoceros in this sanctuary, although the number of this famous animal is very less in this sanctuary. This sanctuary is known for Indian elephant and Indian bison (gaur), which are found in groups. Different types of deer including hog deer and barking deer can be seen in this forest. Tigers, lesser cats and wild boars are also seen. Python, cobra and Russell's viper are the variety of snakes found here. Hornbill, pelican, wood duck and other varieties of birds seen in the foothills of the Himalayas as well as migratory birds are seen in this sanctuary.

Tourists enjoy the lush green grassland of the Sonai Rupai Sanctuary. The trees and plants seen in this sanctuary are very difficult to find in most of the forests of India. The forest is of tropical, semi-tropical, evergreen and moist deciduous type.

How to reach the sanctuary

Of late, it has become comparatively easier to reach the sanctuary. The nearest airport is at Tezpur located at a distance of only 52 kilometers from the sanctuary. The nearest railway station is at Rangapara at a distance of 60 kilometers from the sanctuary. Private road transport is available from Bhalukpong and Dhekiajuli (at a distance of 30 kilometers). The state capital of Guwahati is located at a distance of 190 kilometers. The journey from Guwahati by road has become more comfortable thanks to better roads.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the sanctuary is from November to March. During this period, generally there is no rainfall. The roads are more comfortable and the tourists can also watch different types of migratory birds. During winter, the tourists won't have to be concerned about snakes.



Where to stay ?

This is a major concern for the tourists who are interested to visit this beautiful sanctuary. The number of suitable accommodation is very few. The best accommodation is provided by the inspection bungalow of the Forest Department at Bura-Chapori. But this bungalow is required to be booked well in advance. In addition, there are some good hotels and guest houses at Tezpur. Some of these are Prashanti Tourist Lodge, Circuit House, Arunachal Guest House. Wild Mahseer Resort, Nameri Eco-camp and Tourist Lodge at Bhalukpong. It is better for the tourists to book a suitable accommodation well in advance.

Final few words

The nature-loving tourists who want to go beyond Kaziranga and Manas, can explore this small but beautiful sanctuary. The tourists can also visit various other spots in and around Tezpur like Agnigarh, Ketakeshwar Deul, Padam Pukhuri (Lotus Lake) and Bamuni Hills.


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