Travelogue: North-East Indian States By Bhamy V. Shenoy
[Continued from yesterday]
While travelling to Tezpur from Shillong, en-route there is Maha Mrityunjay Temple at Nagaon which has the world’s largest 126 foot Shivalinga. Construction work started in 2003 and the temple was inaugurated last year. It was a big disappointment when we reached the temple to see a poorly maintained place. While there is nothing to praise of the architecture ( just gigantic size), but much to criticise of the failure to develop the surrounding areas. The worst part was the sad state of toilets. Even worse, it was not easy to locate them.
Without a doubt the biggest attraction of our tour was two days spent in Kaziranga. Kaziranga National Park is well-known for single horn rhinos.
Early in the morning at 5.30 we took elephant safari and were able to see several one-horned rhinos, wild elephants, birds, deer, etc. It was a delightful safari. The afternoon safari by jeep was a big disappointment. We did not spot any tiger or elephant or any special bird but saw some deer. We were waiting when the uncomfortable jeep ride would end. All we saw were some water bodies, and tall elephant grass. Even the forest we drove through was not dense to make any impression. Kaziranga has over 2,400 one-horned rhinoceros, approximately 2/3rd of their total world population. It has over 121 Bengal Tigers, Wild Water Buffaloes, Elephants (over 2,000) and swamp deer (860). This is a UNESCO world heritage site.
At Kaziranga we visited National Orchid and Biodiversity Park and Tata’s tea plantation. While the latter is not much to write about, former had many things to offer. Their orchid section with 500 varieties was delightful. Their music museum made us to admire the musical talents of the tribals.
There were several simple but technically superior musical instruments made mostly from bamboo. Museum guide played most of those instruments for us. We also visited Bamboo Park where there were 42 different type of bamboo varieties. Herbal garden with several plants was not that impressive. They looked like the usual type with no exotic varieties.
We were able to witness Assam’s most popular folk Bihu dance three times — while going on Brahmaputra cruise in Guwahati, in Orchid Park at Kaziranga and in the hotel we stayed at Kaziranga. Performed in a group, the Bihu dancers are usually young men and women, and the dancing style is characterised by brisk steps and rapid hand movements.
In Guwahati, we visited two temples — Umananda Shiva temple and Kamakhya. Umananda Temple is located on an island in Brahmaputra which can be reached by boat only. Kamakhya Temple is dedicated to the Mother Goddess Kamakhya and one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas.
Umananda Temple is located on beautiful Peacock Island. This was built in 1694 CE by a king belonging to Ahom dynasty. It was desecrated by Mughal army. The original temple was damaged by a devastating earthquake in 1894 and was reconstructed later. The surroundings of the temple and beauty of the island make it a haven for nature-lovers. Sad part of this temple is that there are no toilet facilities and there are no proper steps to climb the hill to reach the temple. Is this the way to promote tourism or to provide for minimum needs of pilgrims?
Kamakhya temple is one of the oldest and most revered centres of tantric practices. Structurally, the temple is dated to the 8th-9th century with many subsequent re-buildings. The main temple is surrounded in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas of Saktism, namely, Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamukhi, Matangi and Kamalatmika. Among these, Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples. Since it takes more than four hours to enter the garbgriha even after paying Rs. 500, all in our group decided to see the temple from outside itself.
Throughout the tour we came across several military posts, garrisons and camps. The presence of Indian Army was ubiquitous. We also saw several memorials for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect us. When we look at the harsh conditions specially under freezing weather and minimal modern amenities in the far away places, we start appreciating the patriotic spirit of soldiers. As a result we develop deep sense of admiration for our brothers and sisters who defend our borders.
After reading this article, one is likely to be interested to visit the North-East States. Certainly the trip is strenuous. Tourists have to spend every day five to six hours in a car and that too on rough roads. Also there are no proper toilet facilities just about in every place excepting in Don Bosco Museum.
There is no problem in getting good and hygienic food even in far away places like Tawang, Dirang and Bomdila. While I have tried to show the natural beauty of the place through photos, I strongly feel that even the best of the cameras cannot catch what our eyes can see and enjoy. It is simply breath-taking. Falls in various places are delightful to watch. If one is young, they should go to all the three States. Old should consider just Meghalaya and Assam to admire what nature has bestowed on us to enjoy.
Hey @Barmy Shenoy
You seem not to be impressed in the India’s Switzerland of the N>E! to quote you “It was a big disappointment when we reached the temple to see a poorly maintained place. While there is nothing to praise of the architecture ( just gigantic size), but much to criticise of the failure to develop the surrounding areas. The worst part was the sad state of toilets. Even worse, it was not easy to locate them.”
Why do you need toilets, when you can urinate and defecate willy -nilly just about anywhere? I not that happening in Mysore?
In Switzerland, this cannot happen!! BUT THEN , YOU HAVE NEVER VISITED SWITZERLAND, IT SEEMS!!
About the military garrison and soldiers etc..
Hey Barmy Shenoy, your PM Modi effectively masked the recent skirmishes between China and India, where China grabbed more territories. Reported in the West. I bet , you have no idea about this! That was in another similar place, Himachal Pradesh!
No use in military garrisons and soldiers, when India can surrender so quickly, giving away territories.
Finally, what is the purpose of these 3 articles? This NE patch, was well looked after by the British in their rule. Their beauty and the wild life were preserved then. That is not true now in India after 75 years of independence.
All I can see in this purposeless series of articles , just like what Mr Ganapahy did, and what you r colleague Mr Chnadra Prakash(?) of the Graharachara outfit did, is to regurgitate , parts of history with less than impressive narratives, under a misleading title series.
@Barmy Shenoy, you got the fee by the SOM, the real purpose of these 3 articles!!