Take a cruise through India’s Assam region to discover exotic wildlife
DAWN is breaking over the misty green expanse of India’s Kaziranga National Park and I’m about to experience a very different take on the concept of a “Bring Your Kids to Work Day”.
I’ve hitched a ride with Umali, a hardworking mum who’s brought her eight-month-old Dula (meaning “dear one” in the local Assamese language) along to work with her.
The “work” is rather fun, for we are off on safari – in this case, a gentle stroll across a vast, tree-dotted plain – our mission being to spot white rhino, wild deer, huge-horned buffalo, a plethora of vividly-coloured birds and even, if we are very fortunate, a tiger or a lurking leopard.
The very best way to view the wildlife of India is from the back of an elephant
But first things first; baby Dula wants his breakfast, and mum makes it clear that she wouldn’t mind a snack as well. Both being Indian elephants, they rather like to eat on the hoof, so we pause frequently and admire the view while they agitate the tall grass with their trunks and tear up great juicy chunks of it to munch on as they walk.
No doubt about it, the very best way to view the wildlife of India is from the back of an elephant.
These gentle giants are so much a part of life here in Assam, a state in the northeast of the country, that they stroll casually down the highways and even have their own special tariff on local ferries.
More crucially, they can get really close to the endangered white rhino, for whom they are such a companionable part of the scenery that even nursing mothers remain unfazed by their presence.
The sight of these antediluvian beasties tenderly minding their young is the undoubted highlight of my week-long cruise along Assam’s Brahmaputra River. And that’s really saying something, as a river trip through this wild and…