The unexpected wake-up in the morning and shift to the another room. The first glimpses of Delhi. squeezed juice; metro (detailed check in the entry, tokens); train station to buy the tickets to Gaya (forms); motoriksha; Lotos temple; back by buses (sight seeing).
The first impressions: noise (each vehicle overuse the horns) and heavy smoke (raw petrol or rather oil) + men peeing in the streets.
In the evening the Indian diner prepared by the hostess.
Some trouble with Kuba breathing during the night.
In the morning we take a tuk-tuk to go to Nilachal Hill where Kamakhya temple is situated. Here, Durga Puja is celebrated annually during Navaratri. Legend has it that Kamakhya came into existence when Lord Shiva was carrying the corpse of his wife Sati, and her "yoni" (female genitalia) fell to the ground at the spot where the temple now stands.
A very long queue of devotees. Some priest usher us by side doors to enter in and see the inside chamber. Strange feeling: patches of red liquids (blood or iron oxide but what are the young goats tide to the walls waiting for?) (and outside also pigeons and more goats). When we have been walking along village (very narrow passage, we want to find Bhubaneshwari Temple, but failed) we have seen much more red spots.
Back to town, bus station (we are told ? that the regular bus scheduled at 13:00 will not go, the next one at 14:00), pick up Jeep Service to Shillong (and once again was surprised whom many people could be squeezed in).
The second half of the road change to mountain trip. Arriving to Shillong one pass near Umam reservoir.
We arrived in the late afternoon and try to pick a bus to Sohia, but was to late. So looked for the place to sleep (Baba Travel Lodge) and walk a little bit around the town. Find open travel office and buy an one day trip to Sohra. Chinese restaurant.
We started the day quite early and want to eat some breakfast, even ordered in some hotel, but after 40 min of waiting we gave up. Hop to the bus (buses, I and Bozena have two seats in one and Kuba in the second one) and the trip started . Going to Sohra you could see (or rather couldn't) that it's really wettest place. The mountain tops hidden in the clouds. After arriving to Sorha we first visited Ramakrishna mission (we followed the loop from enclosed map).
Today we split. Bo?ena went for the excursion around Shillond and Kuba and I wake at 5:00 to trek to Shillong peak (about 12 km). The most part of the trip is by road (and smoking cars). The view point is situated on the military base ground. Have to leave our passports at the gate (+some talks). View on the Shillong and back to town (hitchhiked a bus with a volleyball team).
The rest of the day passed quickly, bus back to Guawahati (15:30). Some surprise as we have been dropped in the unknown (for us) place. We found out that it's the main bus station (but outside the town - and we started from local bus station quite near the train station). Bus to town and night train to Jorhat.
In the morning we arrived to Jorhat. Made a "base" (breakfast, wash, luggage) at the first open restaurant and from there made an exploration (Cyber cafe, connections to the island). Tuk-tuk to the ferry, ferry to Majuli island, jeep and internal ferry?!. We\planned (and succeeded) to sleep in the bamboo tourist (simple wooden huts). We eat local dinner and to sleep (with the luxury of mosquito nets).
Early breakfast, some anxiety when the taxi didn't arrive, taxi, change of taxi on the other side of internal ferry, ferry, tuk-tuk to the bus station and bus to Dibrugarh (we arrange a rendez-vous with Nuria at the Dibrugarh airport). The bus conductor drop us at some place saying - airport. We almost made a mistake (after we find out, that he could have big trouble of finding this place) to propose to Kuba to go and pick Nuria and come back for us. Negotiated the prices of the taxi (seems to high) and took 3 rikshas. Instead of going to airport they took us to the center and once again we have to negotiate the taxi. At least we arrived at the airport and met Nuria. Nuria have been with a small taxi (arranged by Phe) and driver and one more man, so now we are 6 people + luggage.
Nevertheless we manage to go to the small village Naharkatia where we have been invited (at least Nuria +) to the Ngi Khampe (Tai Phake ) family for the opening of new Buddhist center. Our destination is four kilometers away from Naharkatia (65 kms from Dibrugarh) town in Assam. We have been met by Phe, her mother and (gradually) the rest of the family. To be able to understand who is who I draw a family tree (sons, daughters, wives, husbands, children). The "first line are: Ee, Am, Aie, Phe, Koi, Tan, Nao, Kyo. As the sons and daughters will perform the traditional dance, they soon start to practice.
We have been woke up by the noises of monkeys on the roof. The day was beautiful so I and Kuba made a short walk to see the picturesque village with an enticing old-world charm.
It is the largest of the Tai-Phake villages in Assam, boasting 70 odd families, which trace their ancestry to the great Tai race. The village folk speak a dialect similar to the language in Thailand and still follow the traditional customs and dress code of the great Tai race.
Morning tea and traditional dresses for us (we become part of the family) - on the picture Bo?ena, Kuba, Nuria, Phe and father Ngi Khampe.
After arriving - short prayer, entry to the guest book (I was the first) and the first big group (with drums) arrived and procession start circling the temple.
At the same time the wish tree is decorated all the time.
Now the guest start to arrived. First the monks and it was a signal to put a flag on and have a common pray. Then the local deputy (woman) with whom we have an occasion to talk and eat together.
Then short speeches of the monks and at the end arrived PM who gave a speech (unfortunately we couldn't understand a single word). After speech a privet meeting between the PM and the host.
Then a very long story from the monk from Myanmar (Birma)At the end we have a pleasure to eat together with all the people (some of us already could eat without fork).
A long day not ended yet. We come back home to refresh a little bit and our family to have the last test before live show during the evening. The performance of local group started:
And "our" family. Participants: Ee, Am, Aie, Phe, Koi, Tan, Nao, Kyo.
The whole show could be seen at youtube .
Morning tea and once again to the temple for morning prayers.
Common meal with all local people and long talks.
Back to home and preparation to go to the river (no permission for children). The village is spread three-odd kilometers along the bank of the Dihing, a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra. We passed through bamboo groove and enjoy the environment and soon the cold water. After about an hour (some surprise) came C.T. Weingken with the children and also they have fun. On our way back C.T took us to the old village (the villagers live in 'chang ghars' - bamboo and wood houses built on raised platforms) and to the house of his mother-in-law. We have seen traditional, but still used tools for weaving, tasted butel nuts and have been a little bit ashamed when the family gave us some present (and we have empty hands).
We visited Namphake Buddhist Monastery, one of the oldest and most respected Buddhist Monasteries in Assam.
Back home and initial plans for the next day - to go to the jungle.
In the morning we gathered some leaves from the garden (to be used for cooking) and gathered also some leaches. Breakfast, one sister with the family are leaving. A part of the rest form "a jungle group" (with two cars). We went few kilometers to the ranger hut to collect a guide and of we went. Stop for short walk (5 min) to the jungle (mostly to take photos)
some few kilometers to the side road (we have to push the cars) to arrived on the river bank. All are happy and the water is not very deep but so refreshing.
Back to home, the last lunch, souvenirs . All of us (Bozena, Nuria, Kuba nad I) received a blessing from the mother (she also tied a lucky strings on our wrists). Taxi arrived and time to say good bye. Arrived to Dibru Saikhowa national Park, but as there were no free places (at least that was what we have been told) back to Tinsukia (and normal quarrel with driver who tried to raise the price). Restaurant and search for the hotel (late evening and quite dark) in which we find out that tomorrow will be local strike and probably there will be no transportation to the park.
Check the train connection (a long walk to the station - where it is?) and decision to go to the Dibru Saikowa park (and check possibility of accommodation). We took a tuk-tuk and find out that the prices for the night a rocket-high, so agreed with the tuk-tuk driver to pick us up in the evening and start to negotiate the price of the excursion on the Brahmaputra river. The main attraction was the three Ganges River Dolphins swimming near our boat. And the river itself and the sun-set point. Back to the river bank, wait for the tuk-tuk (will be or not), arrived, (back to town, 2 different hotels, dinner).
We met at the station (kuba already bought 4 tickets to Dibrugarh). Talking we embarked the train. After some time came the conductor and asked where we are going and explained us that we took the wrong train and should get out at the next station and go back. Duliajan . Walk to find bus station. Now everything goes smoothly. Dibrugarh, next bus to Jorhat, hotel, restaurant and Internet.
As we already knew how to go there, everything went smoothly. Tuk-tuk, ferry (10:30), (pre-arranged) jeep, bamboo-huts, lunch and bicycles through the villages and temples (Garuda in one of the Wishnu temples).
Very early breakfast (5:30) and once again we rode the bicycles. We were met by the priest (that act as our guide) who took us to his temple. We could see the priests rooms and whole area (young calves on the boat to be shipped to the island for pasture). The priest offered us tea and a coconut, presented us to the guru (strange feeling) and shown us a small museum.
After we have been "on our own", tried to reach the river bank, get lost (a little bit) but manage to come back (lunch, jeep, ferry).
We took local bus from ferry, met a guy who should help us to get to Kaziranga, hired car, Kohora (near the main entrance to the Kaziranga National Park) , hotel (with double room), arrangement for tomorrow safari and delicious dinner at Pelikan restaurant. On our way we passed near two elephants staying on the path, tied to the trees (and caressed them).
Morning tea, jeep to Kaziranga West, about 1 hour loop. (Elephant grass), rhinoceroses, buffaloes, starks and a lot of birds. Back to hotel, (bought Assam tea), lunch and jeep to Kaziranga East, (passing through villages we have seen rice harvest).
Near the entrance we met local guides riding a small herd of elephants with a very small one (which touched Kuba). Also about 1 hour loop in the park with the stop at the view point. The view point was on a wooden huts on poles (with the mark of high water) facing a big area with a lot of water pools and lakes (flooded in wet season) with some hills.
Back to the hotel (tickets for tomorrows bus) and once again Pelican restaurant.
The morning bus to Guawahati. Kuba and Nuria bought tickets to New Delhi (to be confirmed), find the place in the hotel (the same as before). Reservation confirmation at 18:00. We saw Nuria and Kuba to the station kissed them, wished them good luck (the scheduled run- 39 hours) and said good buy. Here our common journey ended.
We check our train (for the morning) to Silinguri.