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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

HIDDEN SCENIC BEAUTY OF HAFLONG AND VIEWING A MACABRE HORROR IN JATINGA, ASSAM

Road to Haflong
Road in Haflong
Recently, I had two unforgettable experiences of my life! One: an ecstasy of exploring a hidden scenic and a small town blessed with breath taking natural beauty named as "White Ant Hillock", a divine, misty Haflong and the second: a macabre, horror of hundreds of birds committing suicide, a Harakari under mysterious circumstances.
An unsolved mystery, even today!
If I write my complete story, it would be a mini novel rather than a blog's post. Therefore, please pardon me for telling you my incredible affair and adventure in brief.
I had been to Silchar a town in Assam for a lecture on marketing. An important Railway Junction and Railway Division in the North East Frontier Railways as it connects the state of Tripura to Assam. A crowded town surrounded by hills and river with natural scenario. 'Island of Peace'.
While at dinner at Jayas Restaurant near Vishal market Ambika Patti Road,  Silchar, my host mentioned the name of a place Haflong. He was a bit high with few shots of whisky and commented that we don't know our own country. He continued a bit sourly that 95 percent of Indians out of 1.2 billion may not be knowing that Assam too has a beautiful hill stations like "Haflong"! Yes, I admitted sadly, I didn't know!
Next day at 09.45, we were on a meter gauge train, "Barak Valley Express" to Haflong Hill. The journey was awesome; the landscape of green hills, glimpses of village life, bridges and tunnels. A real taste of North East India with a rural flavor. Added to the scenario was boys traveling on the top of the train!
(See the video below)

And then we were at Hafflong -"The White Ant Hillock". My experience was amazing! Oh my goodness! A real hidden jewel, indeed!
Scenic Haflong
Scenic Haflong
The town was situated at an altitude of 680 m from the sea level. While exploring I found scenic features comprising of azure blue hills, emerald green rivers, unique orchids such as Blue Vanda and rare species of birds. It was great!
HARAKIRI
In the evening, our driver Bulbul Dutta told us a weird story of birds committing mass suicide near "Jatinga Bird Sanctuary" and suggested to visit. I didn't believe and I told him so. Bulbul became emotional and felt hurt. I looked at my host and finally decided  to go late in the very evening.  Jatinga,  was an another awesome hill station, just 9 Kms from Haflong. My host  used his excellent contacts and arranged our stay at the Forest Rest House Jatinga, without any problem. Wow, I thought!
.After dinner, we came out in the  verandah  of the Rest House. It was cold and everything was still. The time was 10.00 PM. The sky was moonless and I could see a fire lit by some villagers at a distance from our Rest House. They were quite staring at the fire as if they knew of some impending doom! Suddenly there was a sound, shirking and flapping and then we saw a flock of birds appearing from nowhere and swooping down and plunging into that fire! It was a real horror, a Harakiri by disoriented hundreds of birds! Everything had become murky, blurry- a live horror scene! I was shocked. Mouth dry and staring with my jaw dropped!
Then something more followed, too macabre for us! The locals around the fire where the birds committed suicide, picked up birds, clobbered them to death with bamboo poles and took them!
We decided to leave immediately back to Haflong. That was too much!
Next day we knew the truth.

What do the researchers say?  
Although there have been researches conducted in the past, no solid evidence has come out yet, to highlight the real reasons behind the enigma. An interesting fact that has emerged is that birds from nearby hills and adjacent valleys are generally the victims, whereas long distance migratory birds stay away from falling prey to this region. The villagers residing at Jatinga welcome this strange behavior by the birds. When asked, one said, “This is a gift from God. Why should not we take this? Are we committing any crime?”
I don't think would ever forget this visit of mine-the two incredible extremes of nature!
Jatinga birds plunging towards light and fire
How To Reach
Reach Haflong Hill By Air
The nearest Airport from Haflong Hill is Silchar Airport, Assam, roughly two hour drive from the town. The second nearest Airport from Haflong Hill is Shillong Airport, Meghalaya, roughly five and a half hour drive. Connecting flights to the cities such as Kolkata, Jorhat and Guwahati can be availed from here.
Reach Haflong by Train
From Silchar by Silchar-Lumding meter gauge trains
Reach Haflong Hill By Road
There are many convenient ways to reach Haflong Hill by road. It is 37 Kms from Harangajao, 100 Kms from Silchar, 144
Kms from Hailakandi, 203 Kms from Dimapur, 250 Kms from Shillong, 270 Kms from Kohima, 329 Kms from Jorhat, 350
Kms from Imphal and 895 Kms from Kolkata and is well connected through Assam State Road Transport Corporation
(ASRTC) and some private travel services.

9 comments :

  1. Great information, for traveler like me. Thank you for sharing this post.

    ReplyDelete
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  3. I Like The Post & Pics Too.
    But Sorry To say , I Don't Like The way You are Holding The Bird.I Felt Bad To Saw This.

    ReplyDelete
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    Thanks for your comments. Yes, holding bird in such a way may hurt bird lovers. It will be removed. By the way, its not me who is holding the bird.

    ReplyDelete
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