Spotting a Tiger in the Wild Grasslands of Kaziranga
Over the years I had the opportunity to meet many people from the north eastern parts of India. The stories of the rocky hills, the distinct culture and the dramatic landscapes made me want to visit this place for a long time. After days of planning, I finally travelled all the way up to the North Eastern regions of India.
The North-East India has seven sister states namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. Apart from the sister states, Sikkim is also located in the north eastern region of India.
I visited Assam and stayed there for nearly a week. Since my brother and sister-in-law moved to Assam a few months back, I was lucky to have them take me around.
On the first day, we visited the Brahmaputra Ghat in Gauhati where we went on the Alfresco cruise. The evening at the cruise was so relaxing. The view of the sun slipping into the mountains while the cruise sailed into the little islands was simply glorious.
In Pursuit of Wildlife
Next day, we visited the Kaziranga National Park in Assam and stayed on till the next day. I spent my night at a petit cottage at the Ananya lodge, which is a government tourist lodge located within Kaziranga itself.
Kaziranga National Park is known for the one-horned rhinoceros which is hardly found anywhere else in the world. I went on a jeep safari and spotted many of them from a distance. We were lucky enough to see a rhino that terrified all of us by jumping out of the bushes, so close to the Jeep. The driver who had earlier experienced an attack swiftly drove past the animal.
The Great Indian Rhinoceros
Spotting A Tiger In The Wild
The next morning we woke up at 4 in the morning since we had something exciting waiting for us. We were all set for our adventurous elephant safari. There were around 15 elephants carrying people into the wild lands of Kaziranga National Park. As the sun rose from behind the hills, the herd of elephants slowly dragged themselves into the forest roads and cut into the mushy grass lands and went through the large ponds. The wild bulls, the little birds and the dears ran as they saw the herd approaching.This view was absolutely mind blowing.
Although the safari was an amazing experience, we noticed something very heart breaking. The elephants that took us into the wild were tied with many ropes all over its body and one rope even went around its tail.
The mahout had an iron rod with a hook-like edge which he used to guide the elephants. While most tourists enjoyed the safari into the wilderness, a couple of us were disturbed. We couldn't really stop and get off because we were all en route to the wild mushy green lands of Kaziranga.
The elephants took us quite into the wilderness where we spotted many rhinos quite close to us. Unlike the Jeep Safari, the elephant safari gave us a closer view of the one-horned rhinos.
Watching the one-horned rhinos so close and out in the wild was exciting. While enjoying the view of all of this, we suddenly heard a roar from a bush right in front of the elephant. Suddenly, a tiger jumped out and swiftly ran from one bush to the other. Suddenly all the sleepy elephants were up and energetic, they began trumpeting and went closer to the bush, but the tiger disappeared into the wilderness.
To watch a tiger in the wild right in front of us was truly a lifetimes experience.
Orchids All Over The Place
After the two amazing Safaris we visited he National Orchid Park located at Kaziranga National Park that exhibited many varieties of Orchids. The park also hosted a series of cultural art forms of North Eastern India. We went for he night show where an array of performances gave us a taste of the North Eastern cultures. One dance that I truly enjoyed was the Bamboo dance of the Karbi tribe.
Silence By the River Chandubi
After experiencing all that Kaziranga had for us, we drove to Gauhati. The next day we drove to the Chandubi lake. The drive to lake was lovely as we drove past many tea gardens and also drove through the rural villages of North East India. In the Assam and Meghalaya border, we stopped at a little tea shop for a cup of LAL chai (red tea) where we were served some delicious Assamese tea. We were surprised when they changed us Rs. 3.75 for a cup.
The sleepy Chandubi lake seemed to be so detached from the rest of the world. The people living across the lake crossed the river on long rowing boats. Because of the rains we decided not to go rowing into the waters but we sat below a small structure right at the banks and watched the hills that sank into the river and the boats that went back and forth.
My journey to north East India came to an end as some friends came over and prepared for us some delicious pork dish with bamboo shoot, a delicacy in the North Eastern parts of India.