It caught my fancy. Jia Bhoroli, what a lovely name for this lively river that we had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy that last week of 2014 on our visit to Assam. Known as the Kameng in the Indo-Tibetan glacial regions and flowing through Arunachal Pradesh, the river gets this typically musical Assamese name as soon as it enters this state.
We rafted down a picturesque stretch alongside the Nameri Tiger Reserve, with the Himalayas behind us, navigating one gentle rapid after another, enjoying a delightful picnic on the raft. Three rafts, five families, many excited and boisterous children. It was a blissful picnic ending in a meal at the Eco Camp, which sports tent accommodation and local produce & handicrafts.
I must ask my Assamese friends what Jia Bhoroli means. If I can take a guess, I would say I agree…something about these waters, their lyrical rhythm, their sweet taste, their meandering gait filled my heart with satisfaction. A unique pleasure that only being with nature can give.
Woke up this morning to a series of stunning pics sent to me by friend Vishal, who we visited recently in Assam. He took them when we were all together one evening, watching a mesmerising sunset in Misamari.
The skies in Assam took my breath away, from the creeping light of dawn to the dotted white puffs scattered over the tea gardens during the daytime right down to the spectacular sunsets.
Here are some of the pics we took from assorted cameras and phones. When I look at them, I remember those beautiful shared moments when we were all, regardless of age and background, awed and humbled by Mother Nature.
Kaziranga. I heard the name often as a child and it always sounded like someplace exotic and remote. On the last day of the year gone by, we found ourselves at the gates of this sprawling national park, a World Heritage Site and a safe haven for the protected one-horned rhino.
Located in the state of Assam in the north-eastern part of India, Kaziranga has had a checkered history. It was recognized as a habitat in need of protection by Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy Lord Curzon, as early as 1904 and went through several nomenclatures of protection till it officially became a designated national park in 1968. Kaziranga has been threatened by repeated floods and the ongoing separatist conflicts and insurgencies in Assam. However, the constant fight against illegal poaching of the rhino (for its horn, used in traditional medicine in various Asian cultures) has been the worst hazard for the park and for this interesting creature. In fact, a dead male rhino was found in the park today with its horn sawed off. This is the second incident within the first 5 days of 2015! Even so, of about 3000 one-horned rhinos in the wild today (the numbers had dwindled to 600 in 1975), some 2500 are reportedly in Assam and, despite the hazards, Kaziranga can be considered a conservation success story.
Now the rhino isn’t a creature that evokes the same kind of popular fascination as say, the tiger, who we fear in an admiring kind of way. I’ve heard of many return disappointed. But we found the rhino to be a magnificent animal and we were lucky to see several of them up close. In fact, we were lucky enough to actually be chased by one angry mother rhino who was not happy about us being anywhere near her baby!
See the story unfold in the pic below…