If you’re a wildlife enthusiast waiting for your next escapade, Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in Jorhat, Assam is a great place to visit this time of the year. It is believed that this is where you can spot Hoolock Gibbon, India’s only ape species.
While the population of this ape species are found across the northeast states of India such as Assam and Mizoram, a good number of them can be found in this protected space alone – which is why it’s the best place to see them.
These primates are tailless, with arms twice the length of their legs, in prominent white brows with a black body (for males) and grey-brown bodies (for females). They are mostly found swinging on the trees of the evergreen forest. Interestingly, the Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary gets its name from the dominant tree species of the area, the Hollong.
For a good look at the Hoolock Gibbons, an early morning walk through the park is highly recommended. They are the most active before 10am; and since vehicles are not allowed inside the park, the adventure here commands physical activity. Be prepared to walk long distances, however, you’ll be rewarded with the sightings of other primate species as well such as: capped langur, pig-tailed macaque, stump-tailed macaque, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque and the only nocturnal primate in the northeast, the Bengal slow loris.
Huge earthworm mounds and colourful butterflies are also an important part of the sanctuary. Other wildlife to watch out for are the Malayan giant squirrel, Abbott’s babbler, and the blue whistling thrush.
It’s better to take a guide with you inside the park; that way, if you don’t sight the primates on the regular trail, the guide will help navigate deeper into the evergreen forest.
You can couple your visit to Hoollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary with nearby attractions such as the Kaziranga National Park (about 3 hours away), to spot Indian rhinos, elephants and tiger or even the 100-year-old Tocklai Tea Research Centre where you can walk amidst the tea gardens and visit their museum.