Itís a place where rivers meet and silence becomes eloquent to communicate with thousands of migratory and local birds, the river dolphins that pop out now and then and the long rows of salix trees that keep enticing backpackers with orchids of different hues adorning its top. Welcome to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and the eco-tourism camp at Rangagora that is flourishing on the varied assets of the park. This is the spot where words seem meagre to describe the mesmerizing beauty that unfolds with every step taken. Apart from achieving distinctions such as Important Birds Area and Biosphere Reserve, the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is endowed with unique features that have bolstered the community-oriented eco-tourism activities in the surrounding areas.
Our visit to this famed national park was an impromptu one as I was suddenly besieged with remorse for not having enough time to spend with my mother on account of my profession. It was for my mother that I decided to visit the national park so that she may have some carefree moments in life. What is so striking about Dibru-Saikhowa is that it is the confluence ground of eight rivers flowing from various directions. Many channels from these rivers again criss cross inside the dense forest adding to the beauty of the national park. Home to wild horses, this national park is easy to reach as road, air and rail connectivity is very good. It is located at a distance of 8 km from Tinisukia.
My trip to this place served as a retreat from the hectic and stressful life of a journo. It was early morning when my group comprising my mother and my aunt reached the camp of Wave Ecotourism set up on the bank of the Brahmaputra at Rangagora. The first thing that impressed me at the camp was the work culture, a rare trait in our people, but inculcated by these boys. These local boys, educated and unemployed, were doing various jobs at the camp right right from cooking to cleaning the lavatory. Niranta Gohain, a member of Wave Ecotourism and who conducted our tour, informed me that the ethnic people of the surrounding areas have become involved with eco-tourism activities and that they have realized that any kind of work that was righteous ensuring improvement of standard of living should be respected.
Our first introduction to life existing beyond the suffocating concrete structures was through the Maguri Motapung Beel, a bird loverís paradise. Sitting on a country boat we moved across the wetland, enjoying the soft caress of the wind and the sun. Life had just begun to stir with the beginning of a new day. The birds, however, all the time moved further back whenever we tried to approach a bit nearer. So to get a better view of the birds we had to use binoculars. After more than an hour on the boat we came back to the camp. Breakfast was ready with the smell of the ethnic wafting around and hitting our nostrils.
Our next destination was the villages surrounding the national park. Wave Eco-tourism stresses on the visitors that they get a feel of the local customs and beliefs. In one such village, we met the oldest patriarch of the Mottock community who at the time of our visit was going hale and hearty even at the age of 107. We could not but appreciate the villagers who had accepted the concept of eco-tourism and were protecting the valuable treasures of the national park. Many of the villagers who were once involved in illegal activities inside the national park are now convinced about the benefits of eco-tourism.
Lunch was served at the eco-camp that has several thatched cottages for accommodating tourists preferring for a night stay. Local dishes cooked over fire were served to us. After the sumptuous meal, we set out on machine boats on the Lohit river. We anchored near an area overlooking the salix trees. As the season was dry, many channels of the rivers flowing inside the national park had dried up except one or two. The experience of trekking inside a forest was first time in our life and it will remain embedded forever in our hearts.
The park was breathing and we could hear it. We had been maintaining silence all this while and as the trees whispered to the wind, and some species of birds that we did not know flew above our heads, we could not help but think about the divine power that had bestowed the earth with so much beauty. We would have liked to go on and on silently walking, but there was a world we had left behind us. So we again sat on the machine boat and moved towards the Dolphin Point on the Lohit river.
Here I must admit that though the entire tour had given us much then we had anticipated, we missed the view of the wild horses. Niranta consoled us that these famed wild horses are best to observe during the rainy season. They come near the Dibang river during the morning and evening hours for quenching their thirst. We were, however, lucky at the Dolphin Point as we had glimpses of these marvelous mammals popping out here and there. As the last rays of the sun touched the Lohit waters, we held our breath to take in this spectacular scenery that would never come back again, as no moments in nature are similar.
The best time to visit Dibru-Saikhowa is during April-September. This is the season of adventure as most parts of the national park remain under flood waters and rowing through the waters, and enjoying the flora and fauna of the national park is an adventurous occasion.