Friday, October 26, 2007

It Rains really hard here !

From Shillong to Cherrapunji is much better drive, primarily because of good condition of roads and secondly because you are moving more towards rainiest place on the face of this planet. Our first stoppage was this view point near DUWAN SING SYIEM BRIDGE, (can't figure out how to say it!!!). Standing on this viewpoint gives you a magnificent view of an entire valley full of green beautiful trees, wild flowers, streams, clouds and this bridge, seems like this-is-not-real.

Well, we moved on.. this next place we visited was most beautiful place of this entire journey and made a profound impression on sapota's memory, which will last for ever. We were little unfortunate when we went to Nohkalikai falls, entire fall was invisible due to clouds, these clouds were so dense that you cannot see anything beyond 3-4 meters.

We tried hard to get a glimpse, for that we descended deep into jungles, but all we could get was sound of water head, but no sight of waterfall. This entire place was located on highest place in cherrapunji, so clouds were floating around and we were literally walking in clouds.

After moving around this place for some time, we moved towards Mawsmai Caves, these caves are natural caves, made by flow of rain water. Caves are dark and there is now way sunlight can enter, most important thing to notice in these caves are water made sculpts(or structures.), seems like been sculpted by man. But the kind of sculpting, that is, seems infeasible for humans. These caves have very very slippery and difficult surface, so walking across them was not easy.

In Cherrapunji there is this spot called seven sister falls, an attraction special to entire North east. We went to this viewpoint, but it was a hot day and it didn't rained for quite long, so these falls were thin. Moving back we visited this eco-park, which had man made structures and natural beauty combined together. And surprisingly(for us) all those falls were located here and now we had a clearer view of entire thing. The valley below was very deep, sapota tried to capture the valley along with fall, but not to much success. There was one more interesting thing that was a lost waterfall, which was suppose to come out somewhere from the mountain edge, but it was falling much before it and water was seeping to ground(actually the mountain!), again we tried very very hard to capture the thing, but could not.

This place was very near to Bangladesh border, which was somewhere towards some far end.
Well this part of journey was over with our arrival back in Shillong. Sapota will write more about Hajo visit in next blog.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A day in Shillong

Journey PART VII
It was rather two days in Shillong, we discovered some part the night we reached and other half next day. Well as soon as you enter Shillong, you will notice considerable temperature fall. We were staying at Center Point Hotel(courtesy Dutta), which was situated at center of main market in Shillong. We after checking in and all, moved out to have a walk across the city.
Shillong has a typical environment of a hill station; most of the roads are sloppy and one-way; if you are not sure where you have to go, you will be lost for sure. Shillong is one of the cities established by Britishers, so like all British-made-cities, its typically beautiful, neat and more organized. It is called as Fashion Capital of North East and one of the most prominent cities having rock culture. No wonder you can see dudes and chics clad in something unusual for other parts of India. So while roaming around Sapota was easily able to locate kool rock merchandise: Tees, Belts, posters, Music CDs, chains and many such things. It seemed like sapota was not at all in India. Next, Sapota went to a Thai Restaurant, Sapota had no clue what persuaded him to try this thing, but it was nice, having exquisite cuisines is always delightful.

Next day we went to this Lake called as ward lake. This lake is a beautiful man made lake, I believe(although not sure) it must have been made by Brits. We hired a boat and sailed across the entire lake. there was a small lotus pond separated by a fence in the lake itself, lake was surrounded by pinus trees and since it was early morning, so people were feeding fishes in lake from the foot bridge. Near this Lake was a Botanical Garden and it has a huge tree, which has huge roots, on which sapota hanged for a huge amount of time and posed for many snaps(Quite a bloody poser you know).

Then next we went to see the Cathedral of Mary help of Christians, we had a tough time locating this church since we had no clue about the way. Finally we could locate the church, thanks to the CAB fella who took us there. The church was Grand, it was quiet and it was quiet, The home of god must be peaceful and it must be easily accessible. The church was beautiful, neat had huge seating capacity and it reflected some old construction, Sapota had no clue about architectures. Sopata was thinking in contrast to his visit to temples, where he was bugged by Pundas, who are exploiting the religion, no doubt people are afraid to go to temples. Well this part of city was full of catholic churches and schools. Shillong has a good amount of high profile Christian schools, famous all across the country.

Next Place we visited was Elephant falls, these falls were although not big, but properly maintained and worth visiting, this one is also an English discovery. Sapota can safely say Brits are much more lovers of marvels of nature than anyone else. While traveling to this place, we passed through Shillong Cantt. So when u see trees painted in white and red, that's signal: "this is military area". Shillong Cantt. is one of the most beautiful Cantts, pinus tree all throughout the sides of road, all of them shaped up so orderly and neat, I felt like staying there for the entire day.
But we cannot afford this, so we moved on, next stop we headed towards was "Shillong Peak or View Point(that's common name here, there are many other in nearby areas)" . This area was typically inside Air force station of shillong and no wonders it has strict timings. So we went to see this place. Well this is one of those places were we can view entire shillong in one glance. My perception that shillong was small, went for toss here, Shillong is quite big, not comparable to cities on plains, but yes for a city entirely on a hill, it is big. Sapota realizes the importance of this place here, as here u get a perfect idea of how beautiful this city is.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Entering the home of Clouds

Journey Part VI
This is one of the finest journeys of Sapota's life, crossing Assam and getting into the Meghalaya. We were traveling with Gautams car(he calls it dhanno!) so we can just stop anywhere and click whatever we want. Meghalaya is totally different from Assam in most of the things, one can say its a totally hilly state, unlike Assam which is more like plains or may be a plateau. Entire path i.e. guwhati shillong highway is very pleasant (minus potholes, sorry roads were really bad here.). The flora here is totally different from Assam, assam primarily has thick big trees and mostly bamboos, but in meghalaya its more of pinus and other such plants.

Since its hilly throughout there, so roads were spiral and towards shillong it was all uphill, Gautam was having tough time Driving. Anywhere just besides the roads you can see step farms or some times a small lake or pond and water-falls popping out somewhere from rock.

The first sign that we have reached Meghalaya came to us when we saw first clouds just over our heads among the pinus trees.Sapota was ecstatic, he said "WoW clouds !!!". From now on we can see clouds just anywhere and everywhere, it appeared as if sun is trying its level best to peep from clouds, but he had little chance, we knew now for sure that we are in Megh-alaya. Meghalaya's native are khasi people, female wears a typical khasi attire, which is something like a skirt and a top and one large single cloth going from front to bottom spirally around the body, they speak khasi, which is not a language and they use roman alphabets to write it, so its almost impossible to pronounce anything, which is written, at first go u will feel its english, but sorry dude, you are tricked! its khasi written in roman script. By evening we finally reached Shillong.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rendezvous with Mighty Brahmputra

Journey PART V
Sapota is always in awe of water bodies for many reason, one of them is sapota can't swim; the other is the kind of might, force and depth water bodies have, that inspires sapota to become an artist and keep appreciating the marvels of nature. Brahmaputra is one those few river, which awe-inspires sapota. One may feel that Sapota is some kind of freak obsessed with a bloody river, Well, that is not the case, sapota just loves nature and its beauty.
Guwhati is one of those big cities who are situated on the bank of mighty rivers. It is believed that all major civilizations have started on the banks of mighty rivers. So here we went to see this larger-than-life river and as expected, it was huge. It was much much bigger than any river sapota have ever seen in his life; Ganges seemed like a stream as compared to brahmaputra, and to add to this let me tell u that Brahmputra is only 1/3rd its actual size in Guwhati, To actually see how big Brahmputra is, one has to go to Tezpur.

Somewhere in upper Assam, Brahmaputra has an island called as Majuli island. Majuli is world's largest island in a river!!!
Well Sapota wanted to sit besides the river for long time and keep watching its beauty, but unfortunate enough, Guwhati don't have that kind of bank, where u can actually sit and watch. The water appears muddy, but still look pleasant and much cleaner than rivers in other part of country, at Tezpur the water is clear and transparent, which is real color of the river. Brahmputra is also know as sorrow of Assam. The volume of water in river is magnanimous and it rains too heavily in North-east, so during entire monsoon, river keeps this place in state of flood. Sapota wished if he knew swimming, but to his dismay, he was told its very very dangerous to swim in this river, although, otherwise very silent, but brahmputra has very sharp underwater currents, which are sufficiently powerful to sink a boat.
Some small islands with thick range of trees were adding to the beauty of this place. Entire experience was exhilarating, inspite of humid heat of Assam, bank of river were cool and pleasant. God has blessed Assam with rich flora and fauna and this river adds ornamental beauty to this green state.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

hot water and tea gardens

Journey PART IV
Garam Pani(literally Hot water) seems like one of the crudest naming conventions adopted, but in Asom it was pretty know place. So during this visit Sapota visited Golaghat, where he had some nice Assamese experiences. The first one worth mentioning is the hotel Nambor(sound like "number" being screwed badly), where we stayed appeared like some kind of resort.

So when in golaghat Sapota took a trip to garampani. Garampani is nothing, but natural hot water spring in the midst of a jungle. Well place was really hot and since Assam is humid, sapota had a tough time. Garam Pani is situated at border of KarbiOngLong and Golaghat. The jungle in this area is real dense and scary and to add to this, sapota discovered that this place has ULFA's Head quarter nearby. But sapota still went inside the place(off course not too deep) and clicked some snaps. The Flora and fauna of this place actually very rich, but due to all this tension, the place looks totally deserted.

Next day sapota went to see Numaligarh, this place has one of the biggest oil refineries in Area called as NRL. The other beautiful thing about this place is Tea Gardens. Tea gardens are one of the most beautiful creation of nature groomed by man. Tea Garden on the slope of a hill appears like a thick green matters, pure eye candy.

By the end of the day, sapota went to see some temple, forget the name(poor memory, u see) which has trees of some biological importance. These trees are declared as heritage fauna for the reason that they stand for a very long time and they are home of large honeybees. The Hives on these are huge, which means much much larger than any honey-beehive, one has ever seen. But sapota was unlucky, there were no hive due to rains.

At evening(okay actually night, its nite here at 5:30), Sapota was looking at dark highway and wondering if some bunch of elephant come out, but as usual nothing happened. Saopta kept looking at this board on highway and thinking about..... on a lonesome highway east of.....

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I was in Nagaland

Journey PART III
Well Nagaland is not an easy state for an outsider like sapota. But sill Sapota traveled to the territory as tourist, totally ignorant of the Dangers like NSCN. The most pleasant part of journey was sitting near window and watching lush green Assam passing by. Sapota was practicing the art of motion photography in the train.As the say deep jungle of Assam, trust me every word is true, they are so bloody dense that seeing beyond second lines of tree is very difficult and they say sometimes elephants can be seen on roads, but sapota was not fortunate enough.

But scenic greenery, Meadows, water bodies, jungles and paddy fields were treat to eyes. Sapota was feeling a different kind of happiness altogether. When Sapota reached Dimapur, the entrance to the Nagaland and the only place in Nagaland sapota visited, he came across things contrary to his beliefs. Nagas are not that hospitable people and one may get caught in trouble, so its better to stay inside. But Sapota cannot stay inside for long, so finally Mr The Cha Moo took him finally to the so-called hongkong market. The market was usual roadside congested market, but the kind of goods it was selling was different. Replicas of branded apparels and fashion accessories, leather goods and woolen goods were available for much lesser price, and if you can bargain it well, then this is the place for you. The real fun of being a tourist is shopping, trying exotic stuff, bargaining with absurd prices and finally buying thing which will hardly be used. So sapota played this part well enough, enjoying every moment.

Okay one thing is left out, the legend regarding the Dimapur is that it is named after the Hid-gimba, the daemon wife of Bheem, they say there is a huge chessboard, where pandavs used to play. Unfortunately Sapota could not travel to place due to time and security constraints, but fun in fear was a different experience all together.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The royal Bengali Phaak

Journey PART II
Well not all experiences are pleasant even if u are traveling for fun. But this was different and in sapota's terms it was burning my money(read khoon-pasine kee kamai) and get fucked royally.
On this Netaji Basu airport, there is not a single pre-paid and sapota is wondering, "what to do", in the meanwhile his friend calls up and ask him to get to some place called Gariahaat. By the time sapota left pune he had news that Calcutta has pleasant weather(that means not raining, there is nothing called pleasant weather in Calcutta), but two days in Bombay has left him isolated from the world. So here sapota came to know its raining cats and dogs in Cal for last 2 days non-stop. So this part of world(read dumdum airport) is totally disconnected from other part of civilization.
Sapota used his Bakar skills with some security fella to get him out. Consequently sapota was taken to a shady hotel, which looks like Vyom kesh Bakshi(It was a detective serial on DD) type of lodge, sapota felt a chill of fear. Since it was raining Taxis were making hay, sapota was charged heavily for distance less 5 km. Sapota shut all his doors hard to avoid all forms of mishaps, and wake up directly in morning.
Thankfully there was no more rain in morning, so Sapota thought of using metro to get to the destination, so he boarded local bus. Bloody crowded and humidity made sapota suffocate along with hardcore difficult bengali all around making him look like retard. After 40 minutes of struggle bus finally stopped, but the light at the end of the tunnel is always another train coming your way; there u were at a place full of flood water, a bus or may be a truck was badly stuck in water below the bridge with water upto wind shields of the vehicle. Sapota was shocked he said in utter frustrations "this is what i called 'fuck de royale' ". Sapota returned back to same place where he started with the same bus cursing all the devils in hell.
Finally sapota somehow managed to get a taxi to take him to desired place, but this one burnt a big hole in Sapota's pocket. Sapota again managed to get another hotel burning another big amount of money for absolutely no good reason.
The tragedy did not stop here; Sapota was staying at supposedly posh area, so sapota circumscribed entire area of 500 meters to find out a nice breakfast joint, but to his dimay he could just find sweet shops and pooris, sapota was wondering ,"why the hell do these bengalis don't have breakfast". This was still 9 in morning and sapota was perspiring so heavily his entire clothes were wet, this kind of humidity is special to this place.
In afternoon sapota went to famous Kali Temple of calcutta, which turn out to be still bigger fiasco. The very reason hindus shun going to pilgrim is Pandas troubling devotees. This is so ridiculous, who are these people between devotee and deities. Anyway Sapota is a hard nut, so he managed to get out with out getting much in trouble, but he could not actually wait and see the place.
Floods and then heat made this experience of calcutta puzled sapota as to why did he wasted so much time and money at this place.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The maiden flight

Journey PART I
Sapota was traveling by Bombay local and listening this conversation between some teenagers about airplanes. This one was bragging about how he has flown to various places and what all airlines. Sapota started imagining himself as a kid and how he wondered about his flying. Sapota always wondered as a kid that flying was for riches and he was unsure whether he will ever make it.
Bombay Airport is really one heck of a place. It was nice and upto the standard as what sapota imagined an air port should be, neat and pleasant. Sapota went to check-in counter and there was this make-up clad lady, which gave him a fake smile. Sapota hates all this fake smile thing, but he anyway returned back a fake smile.
Every where sapota saw many phony beauties and bunch of pretentious people around. After spending a grand amount on infinitesimal quantity of food, sapota boarded the plane. As sapota went inside he can see some form of fog all around, that was new! Sapota thought that was for the effect, but no it was just the air conditioning thing. Now the next thing Sapota saw was Ms Ekta Vohra, man! she was hawt and trust me she was genuine beauty, the punjabi one.
Anyway sapota has chosen the seat just next to wings just to see them, it was his earnest desire to see the so-called aero-foil. Take off was fast and one can really feel the force, huge amount of thrust and there we are, flying. Now due to clouds one can really see flow lines near the aerofoil, Sapota was thanking Bernoulli, Reynolds and Newton for what they have done for the mankind. Sapota during most of his flight was staring Ms Ekta and listening to some heavy shit.
Plane stopped at Nagpur for sometimes and all sapota can hear was flight attendant asking not to take snaps of this place due to military restrictions.
In between captain was giving updates on final of twenty-20, some jerk shouted "chak-de" in plane. Sapota felt, "What the phaak!". Finally reached Calcutta airport aka Netaji Subhash Chardra Bose(Basu in Bengali), which was utterly disappointing. not to say of what followed next.....