Nov 21, 2015

Kaziranga Trails: our first North East India travel.

In the midst of a cluttered and chaotic Mumbai evening (classic scene from a regular workday), Satya and I decided on our Diwali break. Spoilt for obvious choices spanning few exotic International Destination to Luxury Indian holidays the heart didn't feel content with any of these options. Almost all tabloid shouted out plastic packages that were more than a put off- one size fits all strategy!

Having had a year full of jungle explorations the need to be in the wilderness was a common emotion between us. Like that wasn't enough, I blurted out my childhood dream...Kaziranga! A classic recall from the Geography Text Book, the one horn Rhino positioned in the middle of the page with big bold text 'ASSAM' marking the heading of the chapter. Vaguely, this chapter always attracted me. A memory etched deep in my being, now was a let out secret.

Geography Text book comes alive!

Destination Kaziranga

The obvious emotion one would feel looking at the transit hours was to drop this destination; out of sheer laziness OR in a valid case- shorter holiday time.
Collectively during that evenings research our unanimous choice was to take the plunge. We booked ourselves on a early morning Mumbai-Guwahati (via Kolkata, a 45 minutes stop over) flight. The travel search dissolved into  stay and we stumbled upon a quaint resort on the banks of Diphlu river. The stilt cottages and Trip Advisor clearly helped us make our choice. We further nailed it when we spoke with the resort and they offered an Innova pickup at Guwahati Airport. A 4 hour picturesque drive was all it takes to get to the final destination.

Glimpses of Diphlu- The lotus pond, a sky full of exotic birds and the fluttering prayer flags disperesed arourn the property.

All set for the 1st safari at Kaziranga.

Effectively a whole day of transit but it is all truly worth the effort!

First glimpses of the jungle: Mid Zone

We reached Diphlu in pitch dark of the night. It must have been 9:30PM when we finally entered the resort. A quick fresh-up followed by dinner was all we did that day. Owing to our 6:30AM safari the following day we had to hit bed at the earliest. Being in the extreme east zone of India, mornings touch you at least an hour and a half earlier. Was definitely a pattern that required getting used to! :)

All set up and ready on time the next morning we approached the patrol tower when the morning sun had just about begun lending its warmth to land. This land is unique. Largest proportion of this land is layered with miles and miles of water. The river and its tributaries are spread far and wide, hence making the land rich with plantation as well as wildlife.

The crisp Kaziranga morning. 

While we waited for our permission slip to arrive we dwelled over to the corner where the river bed was busy with the morning fishermen activity. The most unique sight to hold was to watch the mist lift off from the moving river water.

Watching the mist lift as warm sun-rays caress the cold flowing river.

Fishermen at work: 5 bamboos tied up with jute rope and it is ready for the one man show!

Smell of fresh clear air, a 10 degree nip in the air making you want to sip innumerable cups of steaming hot chai and the lifting mist; it was nature's flirtatious ways of making you fall in love, in love with mother nature and her mystic creations! Who wouldn't want to dwell here forever?

Finally the gates were ready to open for our much awaited elephant safari that will now take us into the core. Having chased tigers so far, 3 of us were quite calm on this one least expecting that even Rhino spotting would need us to scout deep and wide!

Stay tuned for the next few posts that will liven up the Rhino escapade and rural Assam.

Unfolding the One Horn Rhino escapade- next up!

Until then, do read about the other Kaziranga Postcards, memories collected during the North East India explorations:
Hope you enjoy this trail.


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