Thursday, September 5, 2013

A MEMORABLE ADVENTURE OF CRUISING ON MIGHTY RIVER BRAHMAPUTRA-ASSAM

Mighty Brahmaputra from Guwahati
Mighty Brahmaputra from Guwahati
I walked from my hotel The Brahmaputra Ashok on M.G. Road Guwahati  on a path which led me to Kuruwa Ferry Ghat (Pier) and looked at the Mighty Brahmaputra River...Oh my God!! An ocean in itself. I could not see the other end and wondered... my thoughts moving...centuries ago... what a name for a river, a male name “Brahmaputra” (Son of Lord Brahma) among all female names of rivers in India? May be God destined this river to be mightiest, ferocious, a life to mankind by giving most fertile land and big as an ocean with hundreds of islands in his course!
Two weeks before in a dead night, I received a call from Astoria New York by a beautiful friend of mine Kate Rohrer whom I met before when I was In New Jersey.
I was fully awake from my half-conscious state when she mentioned she wanted to go on a Brahmaputra Cruise in India and insisted for me to come along and make all the necessary arrangements. I do not know...I just agreed. The rest of the night I was on my laptop doing research and making arrangements.
A hand tapped my shoulder. Surprised, I looked back. Kate was smiling at me. After exchange of few words we both were looking at the river, boats and big ferries at a distance....lost in our own world...

Day 1

Next day a representative of the cruise company “The Brahmaputra River Cruise” arrived with a car to take us to Jorhat, a journey of 307 kms by road to a place called Neemati Ghat, a boarding point into our cruise vessel. The road journey to Jorhat was scenic and enchanting with winding roads, green fields and tea gardens. Kate’s father John and her sister Stephanie was with us, enjoying every moment of our road journey to Jorhat.
Vessel M. V. MANASHPUTRA
Vessel M. V. MANASHPUTRA 
SunDeck on Manasputra
We boarded the vessel by the name M. V. MANASHPUTRA and were impressed with our tour inside the vessel! The baby was a 44 m long. There were 14 spacious twin bedded fully air-conditioned Guest Cabins with en-suite shower and W.C. The floors of the vessel were at split-level and are having the hull, main deck, lower lobby, upper lobby, large main sundeck and upper sundeck. 12 guest cabins.. The bar and dinning were in the upper lobby with full height glass window on three sides while the guest lounge was on the hull deck in the front.
Later we had a briefing by the Captain followed by a delicious dinner, all of us preferring Assamese dishes rather than continental.

Day 2

Morning after an early breakfast, we drove to Sivasagar, a great historical site in India. It was the capital of the Ahoms who ruled Assam for 600 years until their kingdom fell to the Burmese in 1819. We visited the ruins of Ahom Palace at Rangghar in Sivasagar. We  also visited Siva Dol Temple which was believed to be the tallest in India. Later went to see a man made miracle, hundred s of years back- Joysagar
Joysagar, said to be the biggest man-made lake in the country, is spread over 318 acres (1.29 km2) of water on the edge of the town in an area called Rangpur, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) away from the present town of Sivasagar
Everything was so fascinating..difficult to explain in words!
After lunch we proceed to a Tea Garden at Jorhat and later strolled into Jorhat market. By the evening returned to the vessel

Day3

Arial view of Majuli
Arial view of Majuli
After breakfast we sailed to Majuli, a wonderful cruise experience ! Majuli was the largest human inhabited river island in the world and also the cradle of Culture. What we saw there was, Assamese monastic culture thriving in all their simplicity and glory. We observed monks and villages cooperating and living a life devoted to spreading love, music, arts, drama and a religion based on spirituality and peace. We were thrilled to witness The Sattriya dance form, the latest entry into India’s recognized classical dances. The whole island is now shortlisted for UNESCO World Heritage Status. In the evening returned to the vessel.

Day 4

After breakfast, we sailed further downstream to reach near the mouth of river Dhansiri. Here we visit a tribal village of ‘Mising’ people (they migrated from nearby state known as Arunachal Pradesh to Assam centuries ago), speaking their own language “Mising” rather than Asamese. This was an out of the world experience, a wonder of going back into the past, especially for foreigners like Kate and her relatives from US

Day 5

We sailed downstream towards the confluence of Bridhaganga river and Brahmaputra to visit a famous temple popularly known as “Gupta Kashi” which is located at the confluence. While sailing at slow rhythm I scanned the exotic and mystic world around me. The remote under populated vastness was at times interfered with beautiful villages of the Assamese countryside, where life seemed to move as slowly and ambiguously as the pace of the river. At times, the scenery also changed to a distant sight of tea plantations that seemed to roll on in a carpet of greenery for endless miles....
Assamese Bihu Dance on Board
Assamese Bihu Dance on Board 
We sailed further downstream to reach a small beautiful river town of Silghat. In the evening we took a walk at Silghat, before settling down for a Dance Performance on board by the local artists. A great evening on board, indeed!

Day 6

Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park
We had been waiting for this cruise destination- The world famous Kaziranga National Park, India’s own little Africa. A jeep safari was arranged. It was an amazing experience! The grasslands of the national park had grown tall and vibrant, and apart from seeing few of the two-third of the world’s one horned rhinoceros, we were lucky to see other anils as well! Later on return back to vessel at Silghat A once in lifetime experience!

Day7

Bamuni Hills Tejpur
Bamuni Hills Tejpur
Another day of adventure with Elephant safari at the Park. Incredible! In the afternoon we sailed downstream to Tezpur, the town of Eternal Love. Reached Tezpur by noon. After lunch visited Tezpur, the town of magnificent scenic beauty and exquisite ruins. The Bamuni Hills were located at a few km from Tezpur. These hills had sculptural ruins, which dated back to the 9th and 10th centuries and resemble the art work of Gupta Period.

Day 8

After breakfast, we met the entire crew of the vessel formally and later left by car to Guwahati, a road journey of about 3 hours. For all of us, it was a tearful parting with the crew and the vessel “M. V. MANASHPUTRA.”. . memories traveling with us for me on the road back to Mumbai and to New York NY for my beautiful friend Kate Rohrer.

The cost of the cruise with m/s Brahmaputra River Cruise (http://brahmaputrarivercruises.com/index.asp):
  • Rs. 15,750.00 Per Pax Per Night on Twin Sharing Basis
  • Rs. 9450.00 Single Supplement
(From October to March)
*Please check current tariff

The other recommended Brahmaputra cruise organizers:

http://www.assambengalnavigation.com/
http://www.mahabaahucruiseindia.com/
Overseas visitors can contact the above sites or can also visit:
http://www.naturetrek.co.uk/website/tour.aspx?id=205
photo of Kiran Travelfury
Travelfury
C12, New Natraj, Pestom Sagar, Road #6, Chembur
Mumbai , Maharastra , 400089 India
919920991661
Travel , India Travel , Ace guide to India , Travel consultant

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2 comments :

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