The sun was bright in the sky and the rippling water reflected it beautifully. The old cottage stood behind me giving a bit of shade from the scorching day. The grass felt soft under my palms as my hands rested on the ground, and I looked out in the distance across the lake. On the other side the hill loomed with thick forest all over it. On top where it was a little less dense, I could spot a few animals standing and chewing on grass. I could barely make out their shapes from that distance. But I knew that they were bison, I had seen them through binocular earlier. A little diagonally from me, a patch of grassland cleared off of any trees sat next to the lake. A group of deer and wild boar roamed that land mingled into each other with a mix of harmony and indifference. There was also a lonely stork sitting at a little distance from the group. I couldn’t tell if it could fly, because it had barely moved from that spot in past one hour. But then again, so had I.complete article
Not all plans are meant to work out. Not all trips turn out the way you wished. Sometimes things work out for better and sometime it leads to some unknown disaster. But most of the time when your plans fail, you are left with disappointment, delight and confusion all at the same time. That is the summary of my seemingly well-planned Bhitarkanika trip. And here’s the full story…complete article
Kasol village had come and gone with little to no impression. The narrow streets crowded with tourists, cafes and souvenir shops lining the road, numerous hotels standing upright between the road and the river – it could have been any hill station. But we were heading towards a different destination. So we went ahead on the meandering road enjoying the tall pine trees and the soothing river down below.
Then came Manikaran. A small pilgrim village famous for its hot water springs. The water is used for pious bath and apparently for boiling rice for the temple as well. For a small patch, the river was lined with houses and hotels on both sides surrounding the Gurudwara. We passed by quickly and stopped a little ahead where the road goes lower and crosses the river by a bridge. The water was cold and the landscape was charming. But we had farther to go.complete article
Finally my north-east trip was over and it was time for me to head home, or in this case travel to Kolkata. The journey was quite straightforward and uneventful. But still in order to give closure to the whole series I decided to write this piece. Even though the journey took me little over two days, I will try to keep it short. So here it goes…complete article
I reached Kohima late at night, at least late as per Kohima winter standard. First view of the city for me was from across the valley while seating in the back seat of a car driving towards the city itself. The hills were illuminated by the lights from the streets and houses. Even through darkness of night I could make out the outlines of the hills as it waved over the community of lights making a sort of roofing on top of them. Looking at the vastness of it one could tell that this was not a hill station, but a city built on a hill. And that fit perfectly with the agenda I had in my mind.complete article
Last night had been cold and painful. A chilly wind blew relentlessly across the field outside and poured inside through the countless holes of my bamboo cottage. On top of that, my leg muscles screamed their presence with rigorous aching, an aftereffect from the cycling earlier that day. My stuff were scattered across the room, some on the other bed, some hanging and some inside the almirah. I knew I had to pack. But neither getting out of bed, nor engaging my legs into any activity sounded appealing at that time. So I gave in and let myself fall asleep under two warm blankets. This morning, however, was sort of a miracle. I woke up feeling neither cold nor pain. I was as fit as I ever could be and the thick fog outside meant that the temperature had increased significantly. I got up, got ready, packed up and walked into the foggy morning outside to start off my long journey for Kohima.complete article
The first time I was introduced to Majuli, it was through a picture I saw somewhere. There was a local man standing with his oar on a small boat and driving it through a pond full of pondweeds. The plants were glossy green, the water reflected sunlight and the picture seemed just perfect. What I immediately found interesting about this place was how beautiful it was despite its simplicity. Or rather it was beautiful because of its simplicity. It was a village in India, it could be any village in India – almost untouched by tourism it flaunted a rural lifestyle wrapped inside its scenic beauty. And that’s what I wanted to find when I planned my trip. Needless to say, I was more than satisfied.complete article