Part#3 – Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Arriving in Assam – land of tea, tradition & one horned Rhino!

After the lovely dinner and cosy night stay at luxurious Gonpalok home stay at Dirang it was the time to bid goodbyes to Mountains and hit the plains.

As always, we left early morning and Simanta was waiting for us with the engine on of innova. He seemed happier, may be because we were going to be in his state of Assam.

Our personalised travel consultant took special efforts to accommodate our modified plan of going to Assam. Waving hands and exchanging smiles with the sweet caretaker, we left for the state of Assam. Assam is famous for Tea, rice, history and wildlife.

Hold on, if you have landed to this page directly, please click Part#1 and Part#2 to read the prequels. Do come back here.

Day#5 –

  • Dirang to Kaziranga national park
  • Travel time – 9 hours  
  • Road Condition – Worst (mostly under construction) that I have ever seen
  • Stay – Bonhabi Resort, Kaziranga

It was not the best days of the journey. Yes, we left early but the route that Simanta took was the worst road that I have ever seen in my lifetime. About 100 Kms was totally under construction and full of bumps. It seemed we are driving on a bullock cart both by speed and jerks. Dust clouds prevailed almost on the full stretch of 100kms of that road.

Dirang to kazi

We were stopped on the mid-way of those 100kms because some blasting was going on for road construction. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, waiting on a check post. There were a few more vehicles waiting behind us. We tried to kill time by clicking some infact many pictures, taking a walk around the area.

We could find a small café which served Maggie and eggs. Yes, throughout our journey Maggie, mawa, sleeping like pigs and leaving early morning have been constants. Finally, after slowest 5 hours of my life, the post officer let us move past the barrier. Simanta, loaded his Mawa and we were back to life. Before crossing Arunachal’s border and entering Assam, we stopped to buy some more liquor stock to be brought back with us to Maharashtra.

The roads in Assam were smooth and scenic, I am sure driving would have been a pleasure on them. All off a sudden I noticed, Simanta opened his door and peeped outside the door bending downwards for a second and was back again on the wheel. We understood, he did that to spit the mawa stuff. We realised he was in his own state and his confidence was touching sky.  

Usually, we visit 1 national park every year because being in the jungle brings you closest to mother earth. The birds, wilderness and flora are the real kings and we humans are just a small part of this majestic nature. I will share the link to National part stories at the end of this post. Do read ‘em all. This time we got a chance to meet 1 horn Rhino and its friends in one of the most famous national parks of India – Kaziranga National Park.

While entering the buffer area of Kaziranga, we were lucky to see hundreds of 1 horn rhinos grazing and swaying carefree on the grasslands on both sides on the road.

One Horned Rhino - Courtesy Outlook India
Image Courtesy : Outlook India

We finally reached our resort, Bonhabi around 5pm and we were tired for sure because of pointless waiting and bumpy road. The car was full of dust and dirt, from the inside and outside.

We went to our rooms; took shower and relaxed for an hour before we meet again to clink glasses, bawaa! it was mine and Trisha’s anniversary day. Cheers to two amazing and enthralling years of married life, we had no complaints by far. We reached the dining area to find probably the best food that we had during the journey. Full credit to our talented trip curator who ensured that we were served authentic assamese vegetarian food along with a cake specially ordered for our anniversary. She also tried to arrange local rice brew but maybe it was not our day. If you have tasted, let us know how it tastes in comment section. Seeing all the food we were damn excited, and it seemed that we were never tired of today’s journey. There was a wide variety of delicacies and we could not decide from what to start and where to end. Trying to list a few below: –

1) Local white or red rice (depending on season and region)

2) Bhoot Jhukoliya (Ghost Chillis – the hottest chilli in the world) – handle with extreme care

3) Aloo and Baingan Pitika (Steamed and salted Potato and Eggplant)

4) Dhekiya or Lye saag depending on season

5) Aloo, Aloo Potol, Cabbage, Beetroot or any other vegetable in season Bhaaji (Assorted Vegetables)

6) Yellow or Black Masoor Dal (Thick Lentil Soup)

7) Khoreo (Highly pungent and delicious ground mustard served with onion, garlic and other spices)

8) Pudina, Coconut, Sesame Chutney (Mint, Coconut or Sesame paste prepared with herbs and spices)

9) Salad made from young bamboo shoots

10) Paste made from raw mangoes or ground jackfruit seeds, etc

It was indeed a beautiful evening full of chats, variety of food and lots of love.     

Next morning, we again woke up early to see our pre-booked jungle safari waiting at the resort parking area. Open Maruti gypsy it was! Hopped in to start the jungle safari with a hope to sight rhinos, tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, swamp deer, birds and many more.

Day#6 –

  • Kaziranga national park
  • Safari time – 6 hours 
  • Road Condition – as in jungle
  • Stay – Bonhabi Resort, Kaziranga

Wikipedia: Situated on the banks of mighty Bhramaputra river, Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts of the state of Assam, India. The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site. The park is home to large breeding populations of tigers, elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Kaziranga is recognized as an important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species. When compared with other protected areas in India, Kaziranga has achieved notable success in wildlife conservation.IMG_20200213_103235IMG_20200213_093719

We left our resort at 8 am in the safari which was pre-booked by our trip curator. Agaratoli range was about 1-hour drive from our resort but we enjoyed the drive while we crossed tea plantations on both sides of the road and felt the wind pass through our hairs.

Over the last few years of travelling, I have realised the neither sea nor the mountains, but Jungle is my real calling. I love being in nature surrounded by greenery, blooms, birds, butterflies and animals other than humans. Oxygen loaded air unlike polluted one in cities. Blue skies, cool breeze rustling leaves and ant-hills of varied sizes.

We sighted no tigers, few elephants, some wild buffaloes, many birds, numerous dears and hell lot of ONE HORNED RHINOS. River Bramhaputra crosses the national park and the span of the river is massive. People in this region are used to floods every year.

It was a 6 hours safari for 4 of us which costed about INR. 3500/-.  

Our driver was our guide as well, and this was probably a mistake. I suggest hiring a trained forest guide who understands to calls (voices made by animals) precisely.

Back to Bonhabi resort by late afternoon we decided to take some rest and enjoyed the stay.  

Next morning, we were greeted by ever smiling Simanta again with a clean car, he got some time to relax and get the car cleaned yesterday. He took us to Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park which was in close vicinity to our resort. This park houses about 500+ variety of orchids from all-over north-east India and you are briefed by learned guides about the variety, identification and importance of orchids.

Additionally this place also has a Bamboo garden, cactus garden, photo gallery and handloom display and weaving centre. One can witness the dying art of weaving the cloths by hand and also buy some shawls, stoles or gamchas to carry back home.

Next up was a stage which showcases Assamese folk dances like bamboo dance and other forms and every evening they depict special show of 1 hour. Try to catch that and let us know how was it, in comment section below. We had a good time cheering and applauding local folk artists but its sad that only 4 of us were doing so in an audience of about 25 people. All an artist need is applause and cheers, and we must do it.    

The entry fee is only 120 Rs per person and this place has a lot to offer.  

Reached our resort and packed our luggage for our last leg of trip where in we were about to experience the rains, dense forests, transparent rivers and living root bridges.

Also, as a bonus you will get to see Mr. Simanta. So, stay tuned for the last part of this journey of life time. 

While leaving kaziranga chai lovers like us purchased kilos of Tea for ourselves, friends and family.

Here are the links which will take you to our earlier travelogues about jungle trips. Enjoy reading and do share if you like them.

  1. Barnawapara – A not so famous Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Bow Down to the King – Bandhavgarh
  3. Bastar – The land of whispering Mountains – Chhattisgarh
  4. YP Original || Rules of the Jungle by Abhimanyu

 

See you soon again!

Abhimanyu @ Yatripandit

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