Page 1


An unparalleled biological treasure in the Eastern Himalayas, Royal Manas National Park represents the largest example of tropical and sub- tropical ecosystems in Bhutan

The park is the fourth largest national park in Bhutan with an area of 1057 km2 and covers the three districts of Sarpang, Zhemgang and Pemagatsel

The park area begins from the plains of Manas River in Brahmaputra basin at 108 meters and extends up to 2600 meters above sea

The objective of the Golden Mahseer Project undertaken by Forest Department of Bhutan is to understand the migratory pattern of Golden Mahseer and how far they go upstream

Panbang- a tiny village in Bhutan is blessed with two mighty rivers of Bhutan, Mangde Chu and Drangme Chu

In the history of modern agriculture in Bhutan and JapanBhutan relationship, one man stands tall- Dasho Nishioka.

Besides introducing better varieties of fruits, crops and vegetables, his other concern was the development of skilled manpower and future leaders in agriculture for Bhutan

Dasho Nishioka witnessed the transformation of Bhutan into a

Magical, Exhilarating, Thrilling and Unique-

to the say the least sums our trip to Royal

Page 1 of 9

Manas National Park… Immersing ourselves in the sights, sounds, textures, smells, motions, feelings and subtle messages disseminated by nature. Stepping in the International Boundary of India and Bhutan- Mathanguri Situated on the banks of the Manas River in the midst of the dense Manas forest, the Mathanguri forest lodge is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. We arrived at Mathanguri in the evening after a 3 hours’ drive from Guwahati. A blissful view from Mathanguri (Indian side), the beautiful landscape of Royal Manas National Park can be witnessed. All you could believe right there is that the whole existence is joyful.

A Panoromic View of the Bhutan hills and the Manas River Adjacent to the Manas is the Bhutanese Counterpart, Royal Manas National Park .Without further delay, we headed towards Royal Manas National Park Camp taking the road backside of Mathanguri Lodge. Taking the rough road in the dark hours, we reached the river side. We crossed the fast flowing river in the Mechanized Boat. In The Heart of Nature: The Royal Manas National Park Royal Manas National Park is the fourth largest park in Bhutan covering an area of 1057 km2. It shares its border with India’s World Heritage site, Manas Tiger Reserve, and is also connected by corridors to Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary and Jigme Singye National Park. Manas Park covers three districts: Zhemgang, Sarpang and Pemagatshel.

Royal Manas National Park

Page 2 of 9

The Morning View from Royal Manas National Park Camp The spectacular view of the river flowing, the sound with a cuppa tea in our hand, burbling of the stream as it travelled along its bed, bubbling over rocks, the breathtaking view of the colourful player flags blowing in the wind- it was indeed the happiest morning. The location ensures you remain completely cut off from the rest of the world.

This unique landscape of RMNP forms an important natural conservatory of the country representing outstanding habitat diversity ranging from tropical monsoon forest and subtropical forest to warm broadleaved forest and the cool broad-leaved forest is famed for harboring one of the greatest populace felid diversity.

The view from Royal Manas National Park Camp

The Golden Mahseer Project A wonderful initiative by the Department of Royal Manas National Park – The objective of the Golden Mahseer Project is to see the migratory pattern of the Golden Mahseer; how far they can go upstream. Fishes are caught and pencil battery size chips are inserted and then are kept for 15 minutes in water until it is left unconscious and then its sense is back and released. At the Royal Manas National Park some receiver’s stations are kept; when the fish will move the station will receive the signal for the tagged fish. So for instant one fish that was caught right here in Manas will move up to 48 kms upstream. So from that they can know better about the fish movement with the rapid river. The project has been sponsored by WWF Bhutan with the support from Fish and Wildlife Foundation of USA. The Forest Department has been trained by researchers from USA for the surgery. The surgery does not affect the fish morphology or behavior. A very small fraction of the body is cut just to insert the pencil size battery. They also put some amnesia so there is no pain. Initially the validity of chip was for 3 years. Later on in 2016 new chip was made that last for 10 year provided that the receiver’s station is functioning well and the fish is alive. Basically the fish that has been tagged has different code number. So whenever the fish passes through the receiver’s station the code is been pick up by the signal. The station has plenty of data as the fish always move up and down. After every 5 seconds the signal can be received by the station.

Page 3 of 9

•First started in 2013, 13 receiver’s stations are available till date.

• Till now 104 chip has been inserted. By end of this year they expect to get the result as they have downloaded the data 3 months back and sent it to USA for analysis. Specialthang Nature Trail

ear the stream

It was a leisurely trek in the forest in the early hours of the day in Royal Manas National Park. We walked here like we were kissing the earth, opening all our senses , absorbing the atmosphere of the forest and relishing the feeling of belonging, being a part of this beautiful living and breathing world. Through the interactive nature walk of 8 km we experienced the thriving and threatened biodiversity of the region. And as early mornings are typically better for birdwatching- an excited stir goes up in the group as we spot different birds in our trail.

Royal Manas National Park’s Floral and Fauna Diversity Source: Bhutan for Life

Birds Spotted at Royal Manas National Park

Route towardsSpecialthang Nature Trail

Page 4 of 9 Tiger’s Pugmark seen during the nature trail

Balipara Foundation Team along with Forest Ranger and Guards of Royal Manas National Park

Streaked spider

Collard Falconet Sultan Tit

Pallas Fish Eagle


White-capped water Redstart Green-billed Malkoha

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Page 5 of 9

White-throated Bulbul

Black-hooded Oriole Blue-throated Barbet

Red-vented Bulbul

Great Cormorant

Common Margenser

Exploring Southern Bhutan- Panbang Nestled in an idyllic surrounding, in the sub- tropical belt of Bhutan, Panbang is almost adjacent to the Royal Manas National Park. Taking the route that snakes through two national Parks – the Manas National Park in the Indian side and Royal Manas National Park on the Bhutan side, Balipara Foundation team witnessed a tiny hamlet in Bhutan- Panbang. This tiny hamlet experiences a community livelihood amidst wildlife. Panbang ecolodges with magnificient landscapes. It’s a lovely village located in the sub- tropical belt of Bhutan nestled between Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan and Manas Tiger Reserve in India. The place is blessed with two mighty rivers of Bhutan, Mangde Chu and Drangme Chu. During the earlier phase of settlement, in the absence of permanent bridge, people traveling from Panbang where crossing Drangme Chu river on a boat like structure made by bamboo- locally known as Pan. People believe that the name of Panbang was thus coined.


Serkim Labha- the highest point on the road towards Panbang

An ecolodge in Panbang

The Galabi View Point

The Creation of Initiative by late Dasho

Sonamthang Village- An Keiji Nishioka

Sonamthang village used to be one of the forested areas in Bhutan. Later, with the arrival of late Dasho Keiji Nishioka to Panbang, the forest was cleared with bulldozers that were transported over the Drangmechhu in pans, or boats woven out of cane. This is how Sonamthang village came to exist.

Page 6 of 9

Dasho Nishioka called the people living around the area to come and clear the forests to turn it into a wetland. He cleared the forests and turned it into paddy fields as there was no wetland in Ngangla gewog at that time. Sonamthang has some 146 acres of wetland today.

At Panbang-a little girl studying

Dasho Keiji Nishioka- A Japanese who lived for Bhutan Dasho Keiji Nishioka, a Japanese agriculture expert who came to Bhutan in 1964 helped the country modernize its agriculture. Many Bhutanese farmers benefited from his new farming methods and the improved varieties of crops, fruits and vegetables. For his selfless service to Bhutan, the Fourth King His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck awarded him the Red Scarf with the title of Dasho from in 1980. His self-less service was again recognized when he was posthumously awarded the Druk Thugsay Medal, the highest civilian award, which translates as “the Heart-son of Bhutan”, during the Silver Jubilee Celebration of the Reign of the Fourth King. A larger than life figure, Dasho Keiji Nishioka was to Bhutanese farmers what Father William Mackey was to Bhutanese students. While working with Bhutanese farmers for 28 long years until his death, he weathered the vagaries of Himalayan climate; tolerated the incivility of a nascent Bhutanese bureaucracy mostly headed by Indian expatriates; toiled and sweated with the farmers; dug the foundations of modern agriculture; sowed the first seeds of agriculture revolution; ignited the first dynamo of farming technology; watered dry fields with modern irrigation; created vibrant communities out of malaria-infested sub-tropical lands; and many more. The Hanging Bridge at Panbang, Bhutan The bridge was constructed during the fifth five- year Plan but there was a desire to still name the bridge Nishoka. The rationale behind the decision was that Panbang wanted to acknowledge Dasho Nishoka’s hard work The Royal Government of Bhutan decided to preserve the bridge not only in the memory of the late Nishoka but also as a tourist attraction.

The Hanging Bridge at Panbang

A house stands a few metres from the bridge. It is also known as Nishioka house. The house was constructed during the four Plan by Dasho Nishioka but he himself did not live there. One of his Bhutanese assistants lived there instead. The two –storey Bhutanese house is abandoned and in a dilapidated condition. The flow planks have rotted and the roof is falling apart. Bushes have

Page 7 of 9

crept up its wall. Near the house, a grove of Agar woods stand straight and tall. Dasho Nishoka planted these trees. Today they fall under the care of the forest department.

Adventure: Panbang to Royal Manas National Park Camp A National Park situated in River bank of the Manas. Lusty green forest and clear frozen Himalayan water gives you many opportunities to leave an exciting time during a tour. The rafting from Panbang to Royal Manas National Park is a perfect route for bird watching and to sight other fauna. The spectacular view of the mountains surrounding Panbang is simply captivating. The Magnificient View while rafting from Panbang to Royal Manas National Park

The true servicemen- Boatman Rajkumar Choudhury who is serving RMNP for 30 years (L) and Boatman Ramkumar Choudhury who is serving RMNP for 12 years (R)

Looking ForwardBalipara Foundation looks forward to associating with Royal Manas National Park – the forest rangers, guards, the boatman’s, the Mahouts and the entire team.

1. Plant Identification and Documentation at Royal Manas National Park Identification of Plant Species at Royal Manas National Park and documenting the identified ones. 2. Certification Course at Naturenomics School

Page 8 of 9

Plant and Diversity Survey Methodologies training course for the Forest Guards of Royal Manas National Park at Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics School. This will be in collaboration with Bhutan Institute of Himalayan Studies and Royal Institute of Bhutan. 2. Elephant Friendly Village at Tanjima near Patshala, Barpeta District For the Asain Elephant Habitat Restoration project - Survey and Research from Balipara Team will be done. 3. Partnership of RJBI with River Guides of Panbang- promoting eco-tourism and to form an itinerary 4. Case Study on Three Generation Boatman at Royal Manas National Park- Recognition

Page 9 of 9

Royal manas national park is the fourth argest park in bhutan covering an area of 1057 km2  
Royal manas national park is the fourth argest park in bhutan covering an area of 1057 km2