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Showing posts from November, 2010

DAY 58 – Dergaon to Kohima

Friends, The PoliceTrainingCollege in Dergaon is home to nearly 600 trainees from all over the North East. Direct recruit SIs and DySPs undergo a full year of training at the PTC, when they are moulded from a civilian into a police officer. In addition, in service training is also done at the PTC. The campus boasts of 4 training institutions and is likely to become an Academy in the near future. The surroundings are well maintained and disciple, naturally, is the watchword. The stay in the PTC Officers’ Mess, Dergaon was most comfortable in a homely environment. The sincere hospitality of Surinder Kumar, the Principal of the PTC, made the last two days doubly enjoyable. This morning, we met for a brief while before ‘marching’ for Kohima. He suggested that I travel to Dimapur via Golaghat, Garampani and Deogarh. Very close to the GarampaniRiver is a pond where there are Hot Springs. Bathing is not permitted in the pond and hence people fetch water from the pond and bathe outside. It woul…

DAY 57 – At Dergaon

Friends, Arrangements were made by the Principal of the PTC through the SP, Jorhat to visit Majuli. I was accompanied by the SI in charge of the Neamati Police Outpost to Nimatighat to take the ferry to the Island. There was just enough space to drive the car on to the 8.30 am ferry, which was filled to spill with passengers, over 50 2-wheelers, provisions, light cargo, et al. I was warned by a senior colleague that the ferry services are operated by rickety, dilapidated boats. The one I was on was okay. The fact that it requires skill and good knowledge of the currents of the river was brought home by the sight of a ferry stuck on a mud bank. The Brahmaputra is an awesome river. Majuli is the largest river island in the world and is densely populated. The formation of the island is attributed in different legends to the propitiation efforts of King Arimatta and Saint Parashurama. The shifting course of the awesome river erodes the banks constantly; some residents claim that 30% of the…

DAY 56 – Kohora to Dergaon

Friends. Sanjay Sil is employed in the DRDA Lodge, basically to liaison with foreign tourists. He is extremely polite, knowledgeable and conversant with English. This makes him a unique asset of the Lodge. Chetry had detailed him to conduct me around the Kaziranga NP. He did this with élan and filled me with nuggets of information about the Park, the locality and Karbi Anglong. He was insistent that I should leave only after breakfast and he ensured toast and omlette with tea at 6 am. However, I will never forgive him for ‘guessing’ my age as “over 60”. Dipak Choudhury, SP Dhubri had told me that I should visit Sivasagar if I am in the vicinity of Jorhat. Since the arrangements were to halt in the Police Training College Officers’ Mess in Dergaon, I confirmed from Mr. Surinder Kumar IPS, Principal PTC that it would be feasible to visit Sivasagar in the forenoon and return to Dergaon for the night halt, if I started early from Kohora. He was also kind enough to liaise with the SP, Sivasa…

DAY 55 – Guwahati to Kohora

Friends, I started for Kohora by 6.15 am, slightly earlier than planned. The road condition surprised me. It was the best I have motored on in Assam so far. I reached Nagaon in slightly over two hours. Despite the 4-laning works the road condition was quite good. From Nagaon I took the Jorhat highway. Kaziranga is about 100 kms from Nagaon and 60 kms short of Jorhat. The National Park straddles two districts, those of Nagaon and Golaghat. The Kohora Police Outpost is near the National Park. After a heavy brunch in a Dhaba close to Kohora I reported to Mr. KB Chetry, the Sub Inspector in charge of the Police Outpost. The Outpost premises were full of damaged vehicles, all of them involved in recent accidents. Chetry felt that his area has the most number of accidents in Assam. Arrangements were made for my stay in the DRDA (Department of Rural Development, Assam) Lodge. The Lodge is located beside the River Kohora. Kohora in Hindi means ‘fog’. I understand that the entire area becomes ve…

DAY 54 – In Guwahati

Friends, So powerful is the internal body clock that I woke up at 02.30 am for an 8.30 appointment. I used the time to redo my NE schedule and readjust the rest to complete the journey in 120 days. The left over portion of the blog for day 53 was also completed. I hit the sack again at 4.30 am and woke up at 8.15 and panicked, as I had to reach the car at the service centre at 9. I managed to get there, after breakfast, a half hour late. After a test drive and complete inspection the works to be done were identified. I was told that the car would be ready in the evening. The next visit was to the Nagaland House. The ILP I had obtained was no longer valid for the dates it was issued for. Not wanting to take any further chances, I got two ILPs issued for 14 days. The staff at the ILP counter was extremely polite and co-operative. I had hired an auto from the service centre to the Nagaland House. The driver asked for Rs.350 to drop me at Maligaon! I decided to seek alternative transport an…

DAY 53 – Silchar to Guwahati

Friends, Anup told me that the trip to Guwahati can be done in 10 hours. I did not consider this possible as I had taken 5 hours from Guwahati to Shillong and a further 9 hours from Shillong to Karimganj. I set myself a target of 12 hours to reach Guwahati from Silchar, considering that the road condition for the most part of the journey is very, very bad. Starting off before 5 am, in blinding misty conditions, the weather cleared soon; the road condition remained awful. My tolerance level for bad roads has risen considerably after experiencing the road in Manipur. I do not yet know if I will experience worse road conditions. I guess not. I heard, in Shillong, that a Japanese tourist had recently done the Ngopa to Imphal trip in a Sumo. After completing the trip he called a press conference in Imphal and declared the Ngopa-Churachandpur-Imphal road as the worst in the whole world! Therefore, it is comforting to know that better days are here again. Talking about rising tolerance level f…

DAY 52 – Aizawl to Silchar

Friends, With the idea of getting off early from the Circuit House I had settled the bills yesterday. However, the kind caretaker agreed to give me a 6.30 am breakfast to set me on my way - Eggs, toast and tea. I had a packet of sausages bought from Shillong. That was also polished off. The heavy rain of the previous evening and night had ‘washed’ my car clean. Last evening I was told to take the Durtalang route out of Aizawl instead of the Sairang route I had taken while coming into Aizawl from Silchar last week. I was thankful for that suggestion as I got good road till I reached Kolasib. The Durtalang road is a single road not meant for cargo transportation; it’s better maintained and surfaced. It passes through densely populated villages and hence, children and chicken winging their way across the road should be watched out for. The villages look so pretty and self contained; every village has its school, church, provision store, Tea Hotel, pig sties, etc. Most houses have pretty f…

DAY 51 – Ngopa to Aizawl

Friends, I had decided on a 5.30 am start to ensure enough time in Aizawl to procure a new tyre and identify a good service station. After taking leave of Kham I hit the Aizawl highway by 5.45 am. While I had thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Ngopa two days back, today’s trip was not at all enjoyable due to tension about the tyre and the rim. My only thought was whether the tyre pressure would last till next village where I can find a tyre shop to fill air. At Pawlrang, the first village after Ngopa, I saw a couple of the guys who had helped me through the ordeal of the previous day. They wished me luck onwards. None of them who had come to my assistance either sought money or cribbed – a feature of the hills people, unlike in the plains. I reached Kwalkuln by 8.15 am. I stopped for breakfast and noticed that the air pressure was considerably less than what I had started with. The breakfast of Poori and namkeem with tea digested quickly when I considered options if I had a complete flat. I …

DAY 50 – NE Khawdungsei to Manipur border and back to Ngopa

DAY 49 - Aizawl to NE Khawdungsei

DAY 48 - In Aizawl