The Bansbari Lodge, Manas National Park
At the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Manas National Park, Assam Bengal Navigation now has its own jungle accommodation, The Bansbari Lodge.
Situated in prime position right at the entrance of the national park -- with tea gardens on one side, jungle and views of the Himalayan foothills on the other -- the lodge's 16 large twin-bedded rooms are simple but comfortably furnished.
There is a welcoming atmosphere to the lodge, which includes an attractive dining room and a lobby where you can relax on sofas, browsing through books from our library. In fine weather, tables and chairs are set outside for breakfast and the spacious grounds present a delightful garden in which to stroll.
Each bedroom has comfortable twin beds, a writing/dressing table, cane chairs to relax in, and good hanging cupboard space, while the bathrooms have excellent hot and cold showers with a basin and W.C.
Our policy at ABN is to provide employment as much as possible within the area and most of our furniture has been beautifully made by local craftsmen to our specification.
Although simpler in style than ABN's Brahmaputra river cruises, our renowned standards of service prevail at The Bansbari Lodge as well. Our smiling staff includes an excellent chef who produces delicious home-cooked meals, be they of local Assamese cuisine, north Indian, Chinese or Continental origin.
Manas National Park
Manas National Park is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas and a part of it extends to Bhutan. It was designated as a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973; a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985; and then, subsequently, a Biosphere Reserve in 1989 because of its beauty and importance to the environment.
It is indeed breathtakingly beautiful, situated between the Sankos river in the west, the Dhansiri river in the east. Bounded by Himalayan foothills, the dense jungle forest alternates with alluvial grasslands, low alluvial savannah woodland and Assam valley semi-evergreen forests, providing a rich wilderness for a great variety of wildlife, including many endangered species.
Three unique residents of Manas are the rare Pygmy Hog, the Hispid Hare and the Golden Langur, and the park is a haven for no less than 20 highly endangered species. The diverse animal population of Manas includes some fierce or potentially aggressive creatures such as Tigers, Elephants, Indian one-horned Rhinoceros, Golden Cat, Fishing Cat, Wild Buffaloes, Leopards, Clouded Leopards, Civet Cat, Wild Dog, Indian Fox, Gaur and Himalayan Black Bear, as well as more timid creatures such as many varieties of deer.
Due to its climatic conditions and topography, Manas is home to many bird species, both resident and migratory. Amongst these are the Bengal Florican, Giant Hornbill, Jungle Fowls, Bulbul, Brahminy Duck, Khaleej Pheasant, Egret, Pelican, Fishing Eagle, Serpent Eagle, Falcon, Scarlet Minivet, Bee-eater, Kingfisher, Magpie Robin, Pied Hornbill, Gray Hornbill, Merganser, Harrier, Osprey, Heron, Buzzard, Lapwing, Plover, Sandpiper, Snipe, River Tern, Woodpecker, Warbler, Chat, Thrush, Tit, etc.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO
JEEP JUNGLE SAFARIS
We offer game-viewing excursions on open jeep, booked in advance through us. Manas spans a huge and varied area and there is much to see. Currently, we offer 60 or 90 kilometre drives, with the longer one being of special interest to birdwatchers. ABN is continually endeavouring to open up new routes to combine with these, working in conjunction with the jungle authorities.
Some of the animals that come out on the banks of the river Manas, such as wild buffalo, deer and herds of elephants, can best be seen from the safety and serenity of a rubber boat which commences its ride from Mothanguri and ends about 35km away at Bispani, from where you will be picked up by pre-arranged transport. The boat men are very experienced.
The walk starts near the Mothanguri Forest Lodge and initally follows the bank of the Manas river, where there is the best chance of seeing several species of birds. Later the route turns from the river to follow an animal trail through dense jungle foliage underneath the high forest canopy where Capped Langur and even the rare Golden Langur may be seen. This walk is accompanied by forest guards and a naturalist.
A gentle walk on your own around the overgrown tea estate opposite the Lodge in the cool of the evening is also an enchanting experience.
VISITS TO BODO VILLAGES
The Bodo tribe, indigenous to Assam, have a rich culture of textile, handloom and music. We organize walks through the villages where you can see Bodo women weaving their traditional fabrics and observe village lifestyle at close quarters.
At The Bansbari Lodge, we arrange traditional dance performances of the local Bodo and tea tribes, where our guests greatly enjoy sitting round a camp fire watching age-old stories of rural life unfold through dance. These performances are a regular feature for residents, particularly for groups.
Best time to visit
The tourist season runs from October through to the end of April, and The Bansbari Lodge is open throughout this time.
The peak time to visit the park is between November and early March.
Days can be quite warm in October, March and April with cooler evenings. During these months, particularly in April, a few showers are to be expected.
From December to the end of February it can be quite cold, particularly at night when the temperature can drop to a single digit and jackets or pullovers are needed after sunset. During the day in these months the temperature hovers around a very pleasant 18C.
The Bansbari Lodge is 176 km from Guwahati and takes 4 hours by road. Guwahati is the nearest airport, well-served both by direct flights from Kolkata and Delhi and by international flights from Bangkok.
The nearest railhead is at Barpeta Road, 20 kms away. Taxis are available at Barpeta Road and from Guwahati and we can organize to pick up from either place with prior notice.