Home to the endangered Great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Morigaon district of Assam. Boasting of the highest density of Indian rhinos, the sanctuary is 50 km east of Guwahati. Pobitora along with Kaziranga National Park and Manas Wildlife Sanctuary form the three most important reserves for the protection of Indian rhinos. The sanctuary stretches over 38 km and has a swampy marshland which is a perfect habitat for the rhinos, wild buffalos .and the wild boars. There are a few embankments through the parks and rough roads have been built for the jeeps to tread.
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Legend has it that the King of Mayong gave the name Pobitara to the forest after his lovely daughter who died in her youth. In 1971, the forest was declared a reserve forest to protect the famous rhinos. In 1987, Pobitora was declared a wildlife sanctuary. A census of rhinos counted in 2006 pegged their number at 81. Pobitora boasts of the highest density of rhinos and sightings of the beasts are assured during a visit to the sanctuary. High density of the animals has also resulted in translocation of some to Manas National Park.
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Animals like the Asiatic buffalos, leopards, wild bear, civet cat, etc. are found in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is also an ideal for bird watching. It consists of more than 2000 migratory birds. Several resident and migratory birds such as Indian pied horn bill, osprey, hill myna, kalij pheasant, etc. are found in the reserve. Due to its rich birdlife, the sanctuary is also called as the ‘Bharatpur of the East’. Various species of reptiles like Indian python, common monitor lizard, Indian tent turtle, Indian cobra are also found in the sanctuary.
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The nearest accommodation to Pobitora is at its own entrance on the west side of the sanctuary which is government owned. Other accommodations are available in the Mayang Village, nine km north of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Tourists prefer to stay at Guwahati, where a range of luxury and budget hotels are available. There are no eating options in the sanctuary. Fish is a major delicacy in Assam and one can find lip-smacking food at cheap rates in Paltan Bazar. The best time to visit the sanctuary is between November and March. Visiting the sanctuary during the monsoon season is not advisable.
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