4th March 2016, Friday…Day (14) Majuli-Kaziranga, 162 km
Got up very early morning that day in Majuli. Unlike the previous two nights, I slept inside the car parked near a Petrol Station in Kamlabari. Stray dogs kept barking throughout the night, even then had nice sleep for more than six hours.
Petrol Stations play a very important role in the way I travel these days. The first thing that I look for when I sleep inside the car, is toilet and usually toilets at Petrol Stations are comparatively clean, have running water and normally open 24 hours a day.
So after routine morning rituals at the Petrol Station, I drove to the market and found a tea shop open. The man at the shop was frying fresh samosas for the day. Normally I avoid eating samosas, but that day I could not resist its aroma and had a plateful of hot samosas with two hot cups of tea.
From the tea shop I drove towards Kamlabari Jetty and found this board hung on a side displaying a map of the important tourist places in Majuli. There was a tourism reception centre as well. It was open but no one was present at the centre.
Another board displaying the unique features of Majuli was hung nearby.
From tourist reception centre on the Kamlabari Jetty road I turned right towards Auniati Satra driving on a beautiful typical Majuli road.
The farmers were working in the fields.
Soon I reached Auniati Satra, parked Lalpari at the gate and walked inside. Established around five hundred years ago, the Auniati Satra has been the epicenter of the Vaishnavism in Assam. The gurus and their disciples residing in the Satra, lead an udasin life (celibacy and purely devoted to the thinking of God).
To see what lay ahead, drove a little ahead from Auniati Satra on the same unpaved uneven potholed dirt trek.
Saw a woman boiling these flowers in water, she told me that it was for their cattle.
When I reached almost dead end on the road and driving became difficult, I turned back towards Kamlabari. The road and Lalpari looked fantastic in the shadows of huge bamboo trees.
A typical Majuli structure.
A well educated mishing girl weaving a handloom, a very common sight in Majuli.
The next place that I visited was Sri Uttar Kamlabari Satra, a centre for art, culture and classical studies. The finest boats on the island are made here.
The next satra in line was Garmur Satra. I was told, several forms of cultural activities are organized at the Garamur Satra, one of which is the Raslila festival. Both men and women take part in this grand occasion.
Since I am not a very religious man, so my visits to these satras were very brief. Drove back to Kamlabari and then towards Kamlabari Jetty. Although it felt that it was not enough yet it was time to say goodbye to Majuli for now.
The road to Kamlabari Jetty passed through barren flooded sandy fields having shrubs overgrown all around. No habitation for all of four kilometers till Jetty.
On the way had to cross a small secluded bamboo bridge built on a flood stream.
There was huge rush at the Jetty stand. A boat carrying passengers, bikes, cars and cargo from Nimatighat was about to dock. It was quite an interesting sight for me.
The entrance to Kamlabari jetty.
Had to place Lalpari in queue for boarding, a limited number of vehicles can be accommodated in each ferry.
A board depicting schedule of trip. I was lucky to get space for Lalpari in 12.30 pm ferry.
Another board displaying toll rates. Had to pay Rs.700- for Lalpari.
The ferry was full to the brim, no seat available inside the ferry.
It was overcast and drizzling, no problem for me though, opened the diggy of the car and sat inside to avoid being drenched.
We began in time at 12.30pm. The Brahmaputra River looked huge, deep and deep like a sea. The other side of the shore was not visible. Infact saw many islands enroute. A boat coming from the other side is seen in the picture.
A young boy was feeling suffocated inside the car in my neighborhood, to me his yearning eyes looked like searching for freedom.
Fishing nets were seen at many places on different islands in the river.
For about one hour’s cruising we arrived at Nimati Ghat, seen in the picture. A number of trucks and passenger cars are also visible in the picture.
A boat full of passengers and cargo was leaving from Nimati Ghat.
Soon we docked and for some time it was a total chaos. Since I was not in hurry, I waited for others to disembark. A tractor trolley is seen coming out of the boat at Nimati ghat.
Another view of Nimati Ghat, passengers have left, I was one of the last to leave.
Jorhat was around 20 kilometers from Nimati ghat, the drive was good and passed through beautiful green surroundings. Jorhat looked like a big city. There were a number boards displaying mouth licking dishes in Jorhat bazar. I could not resist one and had nice fried chicken from one of the joints.
The next destination in my mind was Kaziranga National Park. I did not know much about from where was it better to visit the park. Soon it was dark of the night and Kaziranga was still around 35 kilometers away. Instead of breaking the journey I decided to continue and reached Kohora at around 8pm.
Still it was okay. Kohora was quite a lively place. It had many restaurants, hotels, resorts and market. The sight of number of tourists around was comforting as well. Liked the place immediately. Found a nice restaurant and ordered an assamese thali.
Later in the night, drove to a nearby Petrol Pump, asked for permission to park the car and sleep inside, which I got promptly.
A number of trucks were already parked inside the pump. So without any delay, I parked the car on a side of the pump, pulled the covers over, slipped inside, locked the car and went to sleep.
Yet another dream come true, sleeping inside the car parked outside the Kaziranga National Park…………!!!
Map of the route followed for the day