28th February 2016, Sunday…Day (9) A Day In Guwahati, 113 km
This was Guwahati, Assam.
Sleeping inside the car was as normal as anywhere. New Rajasthan Bhojnalya kept open till late night and in spite of movement and noise of traffic had good sleep.
When I stepped out of my home (car) in the morning, Sun was up and everyone seems to be awake.
There was lot of noise and crowd around. But I wanted to be at a peaceful place early up. Saw a beautiful smooth road nearby, put the car on it and drove to a nice secluded place. Enjoyed morning walk through nearby woods, cleaned the mess out of the car and finalised plan for the day.
Came to know later that that was Guwahati-Shillong Highway.
During the walk I saw this little well near a dhaba. There was a man nearby. On asking, I was told that they use its water for daily routine and drinking. Could not understand fully though as the man was not very fluent at either Hindi or English.
Since it was my first time in Guwahati so everything was new to me. I just drove anywhere I felt like. It was good to see many people from Punjab. Most of them are engaged in transport business. On greeting in Punjabi, I was welcomed very warmly. They offered me tea, food and whatever help I needed. It felt very good.
Drove to Pandu Port Road, Nilachal Hill and then to MG road, saw many jetty stands and an amazing 35-feet high statue of Ahom general Lachit Borphukan and his army in the middle of Brahmaputra.
Spent most of the afternoon walking along the Brahmaputra riverbed and to Raj Bhawan and beyond. Found a nice restaurant on the bank of the river and had nice lunch. Utilized time to enquire lot of things and to charge camera and laptop battery.
In the evening drove down to jetty stand on MG Road, bought a ticket for Rs.150- and boarded a nice simple boat. Pretty soon old hindi romantic songs started playing and all the vacant space on the boat got filled. A little while later, the engine came to life and we were cruising on flowing waters of mighty Brahmaputra.
The scenes around were beautiful. Sun was setting fast and it felt as if everything was bathing with bright colorful hue. Far away, in the mesmerising reddish orange horizon, the huge bridge over mighty brahmaputra was looking like a fantasy.
Cool blowing breeze, excited tourists, romantic songs and fading sunlight made the cruise an absolute delight. Most of the tourists were with families and friends and for the first time in the trip I was missing my family.
After about half an hours cruise we reached Peacock Island, the smallest inhabited island in Brahmaputra. The island was named peacock by the British, due to its shape.
The island lies just opposite to the office of the Deputy Commissioner near Kachari ghat and can be accessed by ferries and steamers from Sukleswar ghat or Fancy bazar ghat. However, a much convenient and cheaper transport has been provided by Inland Water Transport from Uzan bazar ferry stand.
Ours was not the only boat, there were many others too. They were carrying loads of tourists. Evening cruise seems to be very popular here.
Majority of tourists were from West Bengal and Nepal and it was good see everyone enjoying and clicking pictures.
The island is also called Umananda Island as a temple dedicated to goddess Parvati wife of Shiva was built here in 17th century by an Ahom king. Uma is another name for Parvati and ananda means happiness.
After paying respects at the temple I walked up to the highest point on the island. Viewing Sunset from up there was another unique and lifetime experience.
Brahmaputra is a combination of two words, Brahma and Putra. For Hindus Brahma is a God, the creator of Universe and putra means son. So Brahmaputra means ‘Son of the Creator of Universe’.
While majority of rivers in India have female names, it’s rare to have a male name for a river. The river dominates life in Assam and most of Arunachal Pradesh in India.
Brahmaputra flows through China, India and Bangladesh, is one of the biggest rivers in Asia. It joins Ganges in Bangladesh to form the largest and most fertile delta in the World and drains itself into Bay of Bengal.
Situated on River Brahmaputra, Guwahati is a major riverine port and the largest city of Assam and Northeast India. Due to number of ancient Hindu temples the city is also called “The City of Temples”. It is also one of the fastest growing cities in India.
Dispur, the capital of Assam, is in the circuit city region located within Guwahati and is the seat of the Govt of Assam.
On a parallel cruising boat I noticed an excited young girl enjoying cruise with her mother. I marvelled at the amazing bond a daughter shares with her mother and vice versa, reminded me of the bond my daughter enjoys with her mother.
It was almost dark when I landed at the shore. Drove to Nehru park and then to food villa in Pan bazar. The place was reasonably priced and had verity of food, a good place to hangout, especially in the evening, good ambiance and cheerful crowd.
Nehru Park located at the centre of the city, dominated by colleges and institutions, is a beautiful park. Several statues in different dance postures denoting the different dance forms was a special attraction.
From Nehru Park, I drove to Nilachal Hill and to Kamakhya temple. Although the temple was closed yet had nice time walking through dimly lit premises. I had visited the temple in the afternoon as well but at that time it was too over crowded.
Kamakhya temple is dedicated to goddess Kamakhya and is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Situated on the Nilachal Hill, it is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to ten goddesses. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindus, especially to tantric worshipers.
After having nice time at the temple, I started looking for a place to park the car and sleep. While entering Guwahati I had noticed a Punjabi dhaba just before the bridge. So drove across the bridge over Brahmaputra and found the dhaba.
It was Amritsar Punjabi Dhaba, the owners were from Amritsar and lived just across the road. Had nice time talking to the dhaba owners followed by mouth licking dinner consisting of dal tadka, mix veg and tandoori chapati.
After dinner had nice walk on the highway. A while later felt sleepy, slipped inside the car and fell asleep. At around midnight, I heard the shutters of the dhaba go down, lights switched off and it became pitch dark. The owners left and so did all other vehicles parked nearby.
So I found myself alone on the road, me and my car were the only one’s out there on the highway. I felt a little scary initially but gradually overcame it by using an old method which I have employed a number of times in the past, self talk. So talked to myself till I felt comfortable and fell asleep…………….!!!