By: Rupak G. Duarah
In October this year, we went to Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary which is considered one of the oldest sanctuaries of Assam. It is located in the Karbi Anglong district beside National Highway 39. It is about 25 km away from Golaghat town.
Garampani is famous for its hot water spring. Such types of hot springs are also known as geothermal springs. It is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater onto the surface of the earth. Besides Garampani, some other famous hot springs of India are – Panamik (Ladakh), Chumathang (Ladakh), Kheerganga (Himachal Pradesh), Kasol (Himachal Pradesh), Manikaran (Himachal Pradesh), Vashist (Himachal Pradesh), Tattapani (Himachal Pradesh), Aravali Hot Water Springs (Maharastra), Akoli (Maharastra), Tatapani (Chhattisgarh), Gaurikund (Uttarakhand), Rishikund (Uttarakhand), Suryakund (Uttarakhand), Tapovan (Uttarakhand), Sahastradhara (Uttarakhand), Yumthang (Sikkim), Reshi Hot Springs (Sikkim), Atri (Orissa), Bakreshwar (West Bengal), Jakrem (Meghalaya), DhuniPani (Madhya Pradesh), etc. Garampani is the most famous hot water spring in North East India. There is also a waterfall in the Nambor River near the Garampani hot water spring which is located amid the forest.
The area of Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary is relatively small, only about 6.05 sq. km. But it is rich in rare and endangered flora and fauna. The climate of the sanctuary is moist tropical and the vegetation is tropical semi-evergreen. The sanctuary provides habitat to a wide variety of wild animals and birds. The common animals are – Tiger, Leopard, Asian Elephant, Hoolock Gibbon, Barking Deer, Jungle Cat, Capped Langur, Pig Tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Chinese Pangolin, Rhesus Macaque, Sambar, Leopard Cat, Mongoose, Indian Fox, etc. The common bird species are – Hornbill, Green Imperial Pigeon, Red Jungle Fowl, Myna, Black-hooded Oriole, Khaleej Pheasant, Dove, Eagle, Kingfisher, Owl, Barbet, Woodpecker, Bulbul, Minivet, parakeet, Drongo, etc.
The hot water spring of Garampani is covered with concrete boundary and it looks like a big pond. People may use the mild hot water of the pond for bathing. The common people believe if anyone bathes in the hot water of the spring, he or she may be relieved from some diseases such as smallpox, skin-related ailments, etc. The hanging bridge over the river Nambor, just near the hot water spring is another chief attraction to the visitors. Especially, children like to cross the river through the bridge which is amusing for them. The Department of Environment and Forest gives a new look to the area by establishing a children’s park beside the pond. The park is known as ‘Langkar-om Eco Tourism Park’. The local body of Karbi Anglong district looks after the park and their management system is really good and praiseworthy. The area is not only naturally beautiful but also neat and clean. Visitors require paying an entry fee to enter the Tourism Park cum hot water spring area. The place remains crowded during the peak season since it is considered one of the most attractive picnic spots in the district.
For more than a couple of hours, we were at the place and enjoyed ourselves a lot with our family members. We were planning to have lunch there but surprisingly there was no hotel or restaurant near the park. There was only a tea stall beside the road. We returned from Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary in the afternoon and decided to have lunch in the ‘Tikenda Dhaba’ at Rangajan. The Dhaba is famous for its unique and ethnic Assamese dishes. The rates of different dishes are also reasonable and affordable to everyone. Free dishes are provided to children who are below 6 years of age. We ordered plain rice with duck curry and had our lunch in a cozy and pleasant environment in the Dhaba.
We all enjoyed the trip fully and returned home with happy hearts and cheerful minds. No doubt, the trip to Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary was one of the best tours of our life. (The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)