The period between November and March is probably the best season to visit the park. The months of January and February are recommended. Namdapha has almost eight to nine months of heavy, incessant rain (Average rainfall of around 4000 mm) so always carry waterproof clothing as sporadic rainfall is common. Temperatures vary from 420C in summer to -30C in winter!
Decent accommodation is available at Miao, the entrance to the park, and also at Deban (28 km. east of Miao), which is inside the reserve. Miao is the preferred haunt of officials who visit the park while naturalists and wildlifers prefer the pristine settings of the botanically rich hill slopes and the banks of the Diyun river at Deban. Facilities to camp at Haldibari, Hornbill Camp, 27th Mile, Bulbulia and 40th Mile are also available but these require prior permission of the Field Director. Rest houses are available in Namchik, Miao and Deban. The forest rest houses and tourist bungalows are simple but comfortable. Besides the Inspection bungalow, some hotels are also available at Deban.
By Air: The nearest airport is Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (140 km.), which is well-connected to Calcutta.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Margherita, which is connected to Tinsukia (103 km. from Miao, 56 km. from Ledo) by local passenger trains.
By Road: The entry point of the park is Miao and good motorable roads connect it to Dibrugarh (140 km.), Tezu (182 km.), Sibsagar (199 km.) and Guwahati (561 km.). Buses are available from Tinsukia (103 km.) and Dibrugarh (140 km.).
The thick rainforests are home four large sized cats- the tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and the elusive 'grey ghost of the Himalayas' - the snow leopard. Around 96 mammal species are found here of which 29 species are listed on Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. Hoolock gibbons, India's only ape species are also found here while the calls of gibbon troops reverberate through the forest.
Other rare species found here include the Mishmi takin, binturong, hog-badger, Malayan sun bear, golden cat, marbled cat, Malayan sambar, Chinese pangolin, red panda, spotted lingsang and slow loris. Also found are the Asiatic elephant, black bear, Indian bison, gaur, sambar, serow, muntjac or barking deer, musk deer, mouse deer, wolf, leopard cat, bharal, Himalayan tahr, wild buffalo and a wide variety of arboreal mammals like the capped langur. Among the reptiles recorded here are monitor lizard, Indian and Malayan pythons and the king cobra.
A wide range of birds are found in Namdapha. Birds such as the Monal Pheasant, Peafowl, Fairy Bluebird, Assam Bamboo Partridge, Trogon, Brown Hornbill, Rufusnecked Hornbill, the rare and endangered Whitewinged Wood Duck that inhabits riverine habitats in the reserve. The endangered Western Tragopan can also be sighted here. The loud whoosh of wings as Great Hornbills fly in search of ripe fruit in the canopy of 30-metre-tall hardwoods are part of the Namdapha experience.
Namdapha is the north-eastern limit of the tiger's range and shares a border with the Myanmar and Malaysian forest belts. Much of this national park is inaccessible and is an amalgam of creepers, rock, scree and snow!
Photo: Sanctuary Asia/Dhritiman Mukhrejee.
Draped in moss, ferns and epiphytes, giant trees compete for sunlight while climbers form an aerial network up among the branches. 73 species of lichens, 59 bryophytes, 112 pteridophytes, five gymnosperms and 801 angiosperms have been recorded here. More than 150 timber species can be seen. The Pinus merkusii and Abier delavavi are endemic varieties. Blue Vanda, an extremely rare and endangered orchid is also found here as is Mishimi Teeta, a local plant used by tribal healers.
Photo: Sanctuary Asia/Anish Andheria.
The tribals use several plants found here for their daily needs: the leaves of Aesculus assamica are used to stun fish, stem ash of Polygonum strigosum is used as a substitute for salt, seeds of Coffea bengalensis serve as a substitute for coffee and the rhizome of Aconitum lethale is used as an arrow-poison. The Namdapha forests are critical to the hydrology of the Brahmaputra basin. Deep valleys and towering peaks mark Namdapha's terrain. The Namdapha river empties its waters into the Noa-Dehring, which then drains itself into the Brahmaputra basin. Three other major watercourses also feed this great river at different points – the Namchick, Kharsang and Deban rivers.
A pair of large forest-encased aquifers providing grazing pasture (five kilometres from Gibbons land) provides a delightful birdwatching spot.
A scenic trail leads to a popular camping site 'Firmbase' located on the Noadehing riverbank, 25 km. from the Deban forest lodge. Equipment and a guide, if necessary, are provided by the forest department.
Just across the Noadehing River, five kilometres from Deban, is Haldibari, which can be reached by boat.
Natural springs at Bulbulia attract wild animals. A camping site is available here and a night spent at the watchtower here is well worth the opportunity to sight animals that frequent the waterhole at night. Malayan giant squirrels and hoary-bellied Himalayan squirrels can be observed here feeding in the trees.
Gandhigram is situated in the southeast periphery of Nampadha, wedged between China and Myanmar, and is the home of the Lisu tribe. The village is at a distance of about 120 km. from Deban. The buffer area forests are accessible via a forest road and bridle path, which takes you to Raja and Rani jheels.
Do make your arrangements well ahead of your visit and obtain the necessary permits before entering the park. Processing can take up to 8/10 weeks. Overseas visitors should contact The Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreigners Wing), Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market, New Delhi – 110003 or The Deputy Commissioner, Changlang District, Miao sub-division, Arunachal Pradesh.
Carry waterproof and warm clothing. Be sure to carry effective 'leech-guard' for protection against leeches.
Traveller's cheques can be encashed at the State Bank of India branch at Miao.
Petrol is only available at Kharsang, 22 km. from Miao.
The Field Director, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, P.O. Miao, District Tirap, Arunachal Pradesh.
The Assistant Director (Tourism), O/o the D.I.P.R., Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh, Naharlagun. Tel.: 03781-44115.
The Govt. of India Tourist Office, Sector-C, Naharlagun, Arunachal Pradesh – 791110. Tel.: 03781-44328.
Namdapha gets its name from a river that flows through the area. Folklore has also attributed the name to the Dapha tribe.
In 1947, Mr. W. Maiklinjalm, Forest Advisor to the Governor of Assam put forth a proposal to protect this wilderness and declare it a national park. But this was ignored and during the Indo-China war, files that advised protection mysteriously disappeared. In 1969, some of these papers were recovered.
In 1972, the Namdapha Wildlife Sanctuary was declared and concerted efforts by wildlifers and conservationists helped to get the park notified in 1983 as a national park. It came under the mantle of Project Tiger in the same year.