Home > Travelogue > Assam – Meghalaya trip Part 1

Assam – Meghalaya trip Part 1

The post is a travelogue – the first of its kind you can find on my blog. It’s a bit too late considering the fact that I would be posting this more than a month after my journey. The details are about my trip to North Eastern India – an obvious tourist destination when you are staying at West Bengal. So we planned to go to Assam and Meghalaya as soon as we are done with our exams, placements etc at the campus.

Planning:- We did some preliminary research on the internet and decided that a period of 6-7 days end to end would be enough for covering most of Assam and Meghalaya. As a part of booking we booked tickets from Howrah to Guwahati for 8th March – 3 45 pm and the return ticket from Guwahati for 14th March 12 45 pm. There were 5 of us – Pradeep, Rishikesh, Petchiappan, Ashwani Kumar and me. The number should have ideally been 8 as I knew from my previous trip to Darjeeling-Sikkim (Sumo sharing, reaching economies of scale etc etc).

We reached Guwahati in time at 9 00 the other morning. For the later part of the train journey we observed that there was no signal in our mobile phones but we assumed that we would get the signal as soon as we reach Guwahati. But it was not to be so and on reaching Guwahati we realized that only postpaid connections are allowed in Guwahati and as a result the prepaid connections won’t function even while roaming. We enquired at the Assam tourism office about the various trips available – some within Guwahati, some to Kaziranga, Shillong and also Arunachal Pradesh. Eventually, we decided to go on our own – directly to Kaziranga – a slight deviation from our initial plan to spend the day roaming around Guwahati.

We took a ‘Assam road transport’ bus to Kaziranga from the bus station just outside the railway station. It was a long journey – we started at about 2 30 and reached well after 8. The bus stopped on the way for dinner etc.  We were dropped in Kaziranga at a place called Kohora. There were a number of hotels and most of them empty. We knew that with some bargaining we could get a good deal. We were convinced that we would not be going anywhere the next day as we were very much tired already and there were enough days left for Meghalaya. Since we were ready to spend two nights at the hotel we could get a good deal. We booked the elephant ride at Rs 350 per head for the next morning through the hotel itself. Rs 50 extra for each camera too. We had to pay Rs 450 for the jeep that would take us to the national park and bring us back. There were three timings for the elephant ride – 5 00 am , 6 00 am and 7 00 am . We luckily got a slot for the 6 00 am ride.

The elephant ride was really interesting. Unlike other national parks were we have jeep rides and boat rides, the elephant ride takes us right into the forest/grassland and we see the animals from close quarters. The forest is supposed to contain rhinoceros, deer, wild buffalo, wild boars and of course tigers. Rhino so to say is the hero of the movie. Though, it is seen in other parts of the subcontinent also, the Indian Rhinoceros is seen in such good numbers only in Assam. Tiger of course, is supposed to have only a guest role. It hunts only after sunset and there is almost zero chance that you might see it during the early morning elephant ride.

Well, we enjoyed this a lot (though, I am sorry that the elephant with 5 people and all the chains and bondages would not be having as much fun). The rider of the elephant on which I was travelling (and of course the elephant too) had some extra fun in mind. They chased rhinos here and there. The rhinos of course grunted and complained and walked away. They were not enjoying this activity at all. I was a bit worried as I had read accounts of rhinos having chased these elephants and the passengers having been injured.

On the way back to the hotel, we asked the driver of the jeep to take us to various places. Kaziranga had pleasant surprises in store as other than the national park, it had most of what you would want to see in Assam. A tea garden followed by a rubber plantation and a coffee plantation. Then there was a heritage site where the Assam government had made an artificial village, an ethnic village which had models of the homes and tree houses where Khasis and Garos (tribes in Meghalaya). The driver agreed for a total of Rs 650, which was a 200 extra than what he would have taken for the journey back. As soon as we reached back we booked a jeep ride within the forest, again through the hotel – this time Rs 250 per head.

The forest officials came to the hotel to pick us up in an open jeep. They also had a gun in place for safety reasons. The jeep ride was of course interesting but the afternoon sun took a heavy toll on us. Other than the animals we saw in the morning, we could also see turtles. There were also strict instructions not to get down on the forest path (as was said in the movie KAAL) as the wild animals could spring surprises any time. We went shopping in the evening and bought some wooden models of the Rhino. We also bought the tea being sold outside the tea gardens. Here I would advise you not to buy orthodox tea or green tea as they can be had only w/o milk i.e. only the black version. The CTC and the CTC premium should be bought. To tell the truth, they are the same as the normal tea we get to buy in the market. But of course, they are much fresh and have a distinct flavor.

The hotel helped us book a ticket to Jorhabat. The bus and the route was obviously the same as what we would had encountered on our way from Guwahati to Kaziranga. Jorhabat is almost the same as Guwahati – just that you need not go all the way back to guwahati to catch a vehicle to Shillong. We started at 7 30 from Kaziranga and reached Jorhabat by about 12 45. By 1 00 we were off to Shillong in a Sumo. They stuffed about 10-11 of us into the vehicle. We were charged Rs 140 per head. The journey to Shillong was quite tiring. There were traffic jams on the way.

The rest of the trip would be documented in the next post……

Categories: Travelogue
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  1. April 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

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