Venturing into Assam in the night is not advisable; we stayed
6 Kms. from Assam border to start early next day and cover 300
Kms. for Guwahati.
Entering Assam was exciting, always wanted to ride here and
finally here I was, but no big signs to welcome you, just a
simple check post.
Soon the military and police frisked us and the luggage on the
bike, the only other time I remember checking this strict was
before entering Kashmir through Jawahar tunnel or through Sonmarg.
The roads in West Bengal were not that great but as soon as
we entered Assam, roads turn from good to bad to worse, roads
in Assam are in pathetic condition. They defy the logic of why
a road is built in the first place!
The 300 Kms. ride took eight hours, in the process, bike was
screaming and squeaking for mercy.
But ignoring the roads, the ride was fantastic; Assam is GREEN,
full of life with curious and friendly people.
Not to many Dhaba's (Food Joints) around here, but whatever
small tea stalls are there, owners will go out of their way
to cook dal, eggs and roti for you.
Before you enter Guwahati, the Mighty Brahmaputra makes it's
presence felt, it is as big as rivers can get. First impression
of Guwahati was dust and pollution, one wonders from where all
these dust has come, the surroundings are nothing but green.
Later Atanu, a 60kph'it from Assam told me the dust in Guwahati
is primarily from the dried up riverbed of the Brahmaputra River.
Dry riverbeds are called as "bali chars" and small
riverine islands as "chaporis".
Crossroads are called "Charali", ali means road and
char means four. Guwahati is the gateway to the northeastern
region of India and is the economical capital for the whole
of the seven northeastern states so it's a very busy place but
it is quite pleasant in the evening if you go on a ferry ride
on the Brahmaputra, or have dinner on the houseboat, where you
can get roasted pigeon.
Kaziranga National Park:
If someone asks me to name the 10 best roads in India to
ride on with a fantastic view, than the road from Tinsukia
to Kaziranga National park (270 Kms) will be on that list.
The road goes through green rice fields, tea estates and forest.
The road gives the ultimate riding pleasure, and I was more
than happy because I had entered Assam from Arunachal Pradesh
expecting bad roads.
Kaziranga National Park, also a World heritage site lies on
To enter the forest, one has to take permits the previous
evening which are available at the Park office. You can either
go on an elephant or in a jeep, both the routes are different,
jeep safari covers a larger periphery.
The lure of seeing the Rhino in it's natural habitat meant
4.30 a.m. wake up call and a rough ride through the forest
dirt tracks to the forest check post.
Entry to the national park is on the other side of the highway
where all the hotels and guesthouses are.
A few minutes wait and a herd of elephants appeared on which
camera equipped tourist were to have a field day clicking
Rhino's and whatever came their way.
The elephant trail is first to the plains of the park and
than through the 12 feet high elephant grass to another check
post where the trek ends.
After just 10 minute of elephant ride and hog dears were spotted
in the plains.
A few minutes later we saw a huge rock, which decided to move
all of a sudden, "Hey RHINO!" Is the scream, which
comes out instinctively. The animal was six to eight feet
in length must be weighing more than a ton.
on an elephant back, you can't help but experience fear by
the sheer size of these animals, they move gracefully avoiding
the tourist on elephant backs.
Scarier is when a Rhino decides to "booh" the elephant
from the 12 feet high elephant grass when tourist request
for a more close up view. It isn't a pleasant sight seeing
an Elephant running for his dear life with you and Rhino on
We were lucky enough to sight three Rhino's in a span of one
hour, and that's not rare. Kaziranga doesn't disappoint anybody;
abundance of animals and proper administration has made it
the most famous national park in India.
Rhino is the state animal of Assam, in a way Rhino is a matter
of pride and alter ego for Assamese, so much so that the state
run petroleum company Assam Oil has Rhino as it's mascot.
A visit to Assam is incomplete without Kaziranga on the itinerary.
The park is a must.
And if you are visiting the park on an elephant don't forget
to ask him, "What's his top speed?"
Other places worth visiting in Assam are Majuli Islands, the
island is the world's largest river based island and Haflong,
a hill town known for it's natural beauty, sadly we couldn't
visit Haflong as we were struck in a curfew for three days
at Umrangsoo due to communal violence.
In short Assam has it all, bad to breathtaking roads, friendly
to communal people, forest to tea estates, no food to roasted
pigeon, and Rhino's who like to drag race with Elephants.