Hotel Review: Wild Grass Lodge, Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

Wildgrass Lodge, Kaziranga, Assam, India

The Kaziranga National Park is one of the best forest reserves in the world – and you have to stay at the Wild Grass Lodge for a truly satisfying and wholesome experience.

The architecture and landscaping of the property makes you feel a part of the forest even though you are in the villages surrounding the reserve. There is an old world charm about the place, rare to find nowadays. And their pricing will pleasantly surprise you. Book direct as agents tend to overcharge under the guise of a complete package.

* Service: Terrific. I asked for the best guides as I wanted to do some serious photography, and they made sure I got someone who knew his job. They even got me a vehicle to myself. For those who have been to such places in the past, there is nothing worse than being guided by someone who does not know his job. The other staff does a commendable job of keeping the place clean.
* Rooms: With their wooden décor, it is nothing short of charming and romantic. Even if it is not plush. You have comfortable beds, lounge chairs and electric points for charging appliances. Lighting is deliberately kept dim. Bathrooms have running hot and cold water. All the sheets and towels are very clean too.
* Location: Does not get better unless they allow them inside the forest – but that is out of bounds.
* Amenities: Very good guides and jeep / elephant safaris. An all day restaurant serving local and Chinese cuisines.
* Liked Best: The location, architecture, interiors and landscaping.
* Liked Least: You cannot grudge such locations.
*Food Quality: Very good. But order well in time; they need an hour to prepare meals. And still be willing to be patient.

Charges: Rs. 1,850 for a double room including taxes; no meals included. But meals are very reasonably priced. Do check rates at the time of booking. (Beware when you book through agents – they somehow charge many times over)
Contact: Tel: +91.361.2630465, wildgrasskaziranga@gmail.com

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Seems good as described above. I along with family wish to visit the park in the month of December this year. I dont know if i get booking at that time or not. Is it good time to visit the Kajiranga. What else to see there.

  2. wildgrass is a wonderful experience…that can only be felt.there are more luxurious/costlier retreats now in kaziranga,but wildgrass is still the choice if you hav a taste…

  3. Wunderbare Tage verbracht… und auf besondere Weise in das Jahr 2011 gestartet!
    Weitere Besuche werden folgen – es gibt noch so viel zu erforschen und zu erleben.

  4. THIS MESSAGE WAS SENT BY HOTEL TO A GUEST MAKING A RESERVATION:

    You can call the phone numbers as given in signature below.there could be several reasons for this mobile connectivity and network is seriously disturbed in Kaziranga (and sometimes in Guwahati) mobile phones.

    the following may be relevant for your purpose.

    First our double room rent with breakfast for 2 is Rs 2300 plus Rs 65 CST (this is a net rate)

    About coming from Guwahati by road We would like to know whether you are Guwahati-based or are you coming into Guwahati by flight or train and plan to move to Kaziranga from there. Are you planning to come in to Kaziranga direct from Guwahati airport or train station or are you going to stay in Guwahati on day of arrival or for a short while before proceeding to Kaziranga.

    Guwahati airport is 255 km. After noon from Guwahati airport it takes 5 and half hours with stops to reach Kaziranga by car. Early morning from Kaziranga to Guwahati takes 5 hours. If you are Guwahati based you can come to Kaziranga by public transportand you can return from Kaziranga by public transport it costs Rs 260 per ticket. Once you firm up your dates we can help you in this matter. Also a car can be hired. We will recommend that you take the transport that starts early 7 am from Guwahati so that you arrive Kaziranga by a little after noon and you can have some jungle activity on day of arrival.

    There are daily flights to Guwahati from Delhi Kolkata etc.Most flights arrive Guwahati around noon so if you are flying into Guwahati airport you will not be able to visit the Park on that day. As mentioned it takes roughly 5 and half hours with stops to reach Kaziranga from Guwahati especially in the afternoon as the city traffic is congested.and certain stretches of the road is under expansion for 4 lane Highway. In the morning (if you start early from Kaziranga between 5 am and 6 am ) it takes (as already mentioned earlier) 4 and half to 5 hours. It is 255 km from airport to Kaziranga.It will cost Rs 3500 for a Tata Sumo (non AC). If you are hiring car go for Tata Sumo it is cheaper and you are seated high so you can view well . We have mentioned public buses that go from Guwahati city If we meet you at airport and take you to city and put you on the bus and then you are met in Kaziranga bus stop (it will be late) by our vehicle to take to the Lodge it will cost Rs 450/- plus bus ticket Rs 260 per person. We charge the Rs 450 for meeting assisting you and bringing you to town from the airport.and then meeting you in Kaziranga and bringing you to our hotel.
    As regards trains we meet and assist at the train station but train arrival timings are flexible and so for the onward journey to Kaziranga (by bus) has to remain flexible. The best station to arrive is Guwahati. Also Furkating is technically the nearest railhead. But we suggest that you drop off at Guwahati.

    Lunch or dinner : Rs 220 to Rs 280 range.(or order from our menu — resonably priced) We can give you a meal plan which will be far more reasonable than the menu and good value for money.

    We are assuming that you are an Indian this is relevant in the matter of forest fees (i.e. fees charge by Government Forest Department in elephant ride, entry fee and camera fee Forest fee for foreigners with work or res permit or similar papers Indian rates apply) . But foreigners without these papers and who are here in tourist visa it is unfortunate that rates are distinct and higher in the matter of forest fee. We charge for room etc same for all categories.

    We have as you already know what we call a half day game drive (described roughly below)
    Rates I quote is for Indians.
    (i) Entry fee: Rs 20 per person per day (. For child 5- 12 years Rs 10)
    HOWEVER THIS RATE MAY BE HIKED THIS SEASON i.e. in November by the Government (ii) Road toll per entry per vehicle: Rs 280 and this may increase to Rs 500 (iii) Vehicle hire half day : Eastern range : Rs 1400 Western Range : Rs 980/- and Central Range: Rs 850/- Half day Safari cost is (i) + (ii) + (iii) If vehicle hired for full day (for two safaris : Rs 2100/- plus Rs 280 road toll (per entry i.e.twice) = Rs 2660/- plus Rs 20 entry fee per pax (once) Elephant ride: (only 1 hour in the morning hours, this is conducted by the Forest Dept) For elephant ride Rs 350 plus entry fee (Rs 20), half rate applicable for child above 5 years Children young and light-weight enough to go on parents lap no charges. Transfer to riding point Rs 300/- in one Jeep. Entry fee is paid once. If you pay for elephant ride then subsequent visit in jeep safari on same day need not be paid. Forest fees (elephant ride, camera fee entry fee and road toll) may increase and this will be known in late October. .

    Madam you must understand that Kaziranga is a wetland grassland habitat so the game drive is on tracks and vehicles cannot go off these tracks. Secondly walks are not allowed as the Park has a huge large herbivore population like over 2000 rhinos, about 1000 swamp buffaloes and 900 plus elephants and it is dangerous sometimes. An elephant ride trip is conducted in the early hours 2 trips : 5 am and 6 am they are of 1 hour duration and a group of riding elephants go on an established route on the edge of the Park and close sighting of rhino, buffalo and swamp deer is possible. There are two places where this can be done. From this year they have introduced an afternoon elephant ride at 3 pm if you opt for that than you forego the afternoon game drive. . However note that these elephant rides take place at the very edge of the Park. More important and interesting is the entry by vehicles.( i.e. the game drives) Entry by vehicle is allowed in three ranges and one visit we term as half day game rides. In the Central Range entry is allowed after 7.45 am while in the other two ranges (Eastern and Western) entry is allowed at 7.30 am . You can enter the Park three times in a day (i) during elephant ride (ii) two half day game rides.

    We wish also to convey that Kaziranga has very tall grass so animal sighting is mainly near the edge of wetlands and in short grass areas. The grassland is maintained by not allowing trees to colonise in what is the successional cycle. Tree or wood land is not conducive for the grassland species that Kaziranga aims at conserving. This is done by patchwise annual burning of grass that burns all tree seedling etc. This operations occur from January onwards depending on how dry the conditions are. So large patches of grassland are burned and it is said sometimes that sighting is better. But this is not exactly true.

    I give below a description of the tourist routes in these ranges:

    Central Range . This drive covers central region of the park. Is an ideal introduction to the park and its ecology as the route passes through the entire spectrum of habitat types prevalent in the area. There is a possibility of sighting elephants as well as the other large herbivores (swamp buffaloes and the rhino) . Yarding place of Swamp Deer. The process of plant succession can be observed at various seral stages. Birding in a wide range of habitats. Birding look for Pallas Fish Eagle.Lesser Adjutant,Swamp Francolin,Spotbilled Pelican etc.Also other waterbirds such as Barheaded Goose, Grey headed Lapwing,Blacknecked Stork etc. Part of the game drive is also through woodlands (key species: khaleej pheasant,Himalayan Flameback,streak throated woodpecker several species of parakeet, Greenish and Inornate Warblers, Blue-bearded Bee-eater etc Good sunset pictures. Takes 15 minutes to reach the entry point. Entire circuit approximately 35 km when access is complete (what is meant by access complete is that Assam has a six month wet season and access is not possible through the tracks in monsoon. By October the dry period starts and by mid November (when you plan to come) 70% of the Park is accessible. (Just for your information 24th to 27th November 2011do not plan a visit as there is a Doctor’s Conference and most of the accomodation in Kaziranga including ours are booked) .

    Western Range of the Park. It takes 25 minutes by jeep to reach the entrance of this Range. The route traverses the southwest portion of the park. This range has maximum short grass areas and is the optimum habitat for Rhino and Water Buffalo. Representative perennial ox-bow lakes surrounded by marshy Haemarthia compressa stands can be seen. Part of the drive is also through Low Alluvial Savannah Woodland. Colonization of grassland by Lagerstroemia parviflora can be seen. A round of the entire circuit is around 20 km. High herbivore densities around these wetlands are characteristic of the habitat Birding mainly grassland and water birds as also raptors,swamp Francolin, Chestnut-capped Babbler,Blackfaced and Yellow Breasted Buntings (possibility) Finn’s Weaver is also possible among commoner Baya and Black-Throated . For rhinos Western Range and central Range will be fruitful to visit.

    Eastern (Agaratuli) Range. Situated towards the eastern part of the park. The area is excellent for birding. Includes nesting of the globally threatened Pallas’s Fish Eagle and a colony of Spot-billed Pelicans. Migrant waterfowl may be observed at Sohola Beel. Various woodland birds can be seen along the drive through very scenic Dillenia Swamp Forest.Elephants may be encountered, as well Water Buffalo and Swamp Deer. Takes 40 minutes to reach. Tourist route approximately 26 km. when access is complete. i.e when you can traverse the entire route .

    Three other places that can be visited
    Ghorakati Range of Kaziranga National Park. This area is part of the addition to Kaziranga National Park. Scrubland some forty years ago it was under afforestation management practice for fast growing tree plantation but the low lying areas (now grassland ) was found uneconomical for tree planting. Part of this Range has areas having ideal wet grassland habitat attributes for transient animals from Kaziranga National Park. In search for area and ecological integrity of Kaziranga NP this area as well as the hilly Kukrakata Reserve Forest has been annexed to Kaziranga. And only 2 years ago has been opened to visitors. Casual walk is allowed in Kukrakata hills which forms a firm bank for the Brahmaputra and game ride is allowed now in this range. In the wooded areas around Kukrata Hollock Gibbon can sometimes be sighted.

    Boat ride in north eastern point of the Park. Kaziranga after breakfast onward to eastern range area. From here take a boat that is machine run and noisy. It will be a three hour round trip. Though animal sighting is not good it orients the traveller to the northern banks of Kaziranga. The dynamics of erosion i.e. how the river throws up (after eroding the Park mainland) sand islands that get detached from the main Park and at times throws up sand bars that attach themselves to the Park’s mainland.. Brahmaputra river cuts a low channel and is highly braided with sand bars. Very good for birding especially shore-birds. It introduces one to the regimen of this well known river and helps to understand how very important it is for rejuvenating the wetland and grassland values of the Park. A picnic lunch and this can be followed by a game ride in Eastern Range (already described above) which is the area around which the boat ride will take place.

    Birding in tea gardens : Early morning birding in Tea Gardens: look for woodland birds difficult to spot elsewhere:4 species of laughing thrush (Whitecrested, Lesser and Greater Necklaced and Rufous-necked) Siberian Rubythroat, Blackbacked Forktail, Green Magpie, White-hooded Shrike Babbler, White-browed Scimitair Babbler etc

    You have talked of a two-three days visit. Below I am giving you a sketchy programme which you need not rigidly follow.

    Day 1; maybe arrive from Guwahati or nearby place and you will not be in time for doing a game drive In the evening we have a semi formal cultural programme
    evening semi-formal cultural programme.

    (a note on our evening cultural programmes ) We have a cultural performance every night. (though its authenticity may seem staged it relates to Gayan Bayan music [Gayan (singers) and Bayan (drum beaters)] This is the art form, which forms the basis of all musical programme of the Assamese village. The gayan and bayan is officially appointed in every village and the post is traditionally handed down. . The singing of hymns and performance of dance dramas during religious occasion in the community prayer hall is performed by the villagers along with their respective gayan and bayan . “Gayan and bayan music” is played on the khol (drum) and Taal (cymbals) and is steeped in the neo-Vaishnavite tradition cultured in Assam by Sankardeva, a medieval religious reformer and the fountainhead of the present traditional cultural practice in rural Assam. This art form comprises : drama: singing of hymns and recitals. This tradition is preserved in Assam by Vaishnavite institutions.(the Hindu monasteries known as satra) More accomplished and active satras are situated in Majuli island, Bardowa and Barpeta. As a rural institution Wild Grass helps groom children of the village to perform these dances and songs under an appointed bayan . Everyday in Wild Grass these practice sessions are held. For the guests the more skilled musicians among the staff of Wild Grass and from the village display the following programme:(i) dhemali =play: performed by Gayan and bayan is an overture to a drama (instruments khool(drums) and Taal (cymbals)] tukari (like the Bengali du tara – stringed instrument) and nagara (like a mini drum) (ii) ojha pali[instruments :sutoli (clay pipe) gogona (bamboo harp : akin to Jew’s harp)]The proficiency of these musicians are not of the classical standard. Other programmes performed proficiently will be Jhumur dance (Madol drum) by tea workers and the lively folk dance performance of Bihu

    Room tea with snacks and dinner for 2 persons Rs 2950

    Day 2: Elephant ride 1 hour 5 .30 to 6.30 am. The elephant driver (mahut) takes the elephant away from others to sight the Bengal florican. (you keep this option open) Return to lodge by 8 am. After breakfast proceed to the Western Range of the Park.It takes 25 minutes by jeep to reach the entrance of this Range. (already described above) After lunch onward to Central Range This drive covers central region of the park. and is an ideal introduction to the park (already described) and its ecology as the route passes through the entire spectrum of habitat types prevalent in the area Takes 15 minutes to reach the entry point.

    Rooms with breakfast for 2 = Rs 2300 Breakfast, Lunch evening tea with snacks and Dinner for 2 pax Rs 3800 /-

    Elephant ride Rs 325 x 2 adults (old rate) may increase to Rs 500 per person
    Rs 20 x 2 adults entry fee (old rate) may increase to Rs 50 per person
    2 game drive as described 2360 (old rate) may increase to Rs 3200
    camera fee extra

    Day 3 Boat ride picnic lunch and followed by game drive in Eastern Range.

    Rooms with breakfast for 2 = Rs 2300 Breakfast, Lunch evening tea with snacks and Dinner for 2 pax Rs 3800 /-
    Rs 20 x 2 adults entry fee (old rate) may increase to Rs 50 per person
    1 game drive as described and if boat ride 2900 (old rate) may increase to Rs 3500
    camera fee extra

    Day 4: depart breakfast complimentary

    Madam you need not follow the programme suggested and we encourage people to remain flexible. The above was given to give you an idea of the sort of activity available in the Park and the sort of cost involved. With children you will need to keep matters flexible.

    There are some activities like the birding in tea gardens which is not related to park Also the bathing of elephants can be viewed. the riding elephants (i.e. captive bred elephants) are bathed daily This is part of their upkeep and children would like to see this (takes place at around 3 to 4 pm. (to get to that point and back car cost will be Rs 250. Als picnic lunch can be had in nearby places of interest (walking distances).

    We usually allot a guide cum attendant who is proficient in field identification and who you pay according to your satisfaction.

    Please feel free to get any other information I am available at 88767747357
    with very best wishes

    manju barua

  5. Hi there, I have about 7 different phone numbers for Wild Grass Resort in Kaziranga and all of them do not work. Does anyone know how I can contact them to make a reservation??

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