As today’s journey will be quite hectic, we get up at 4.30 itself, and start by 6 am, without breakfast. Around 7 am, we reach a place called Barpetta Road (BR). This place is in Barpetta Dist. It is on NH 31, which connects Guwahati with Kolkota, I think.
Now I want to tell you something about this Barpetta Road. This place is in between Manas and Barpetta Town. Whatever I am writing here is solely based on the input given by our Tempo Traveller driver and Neil. And, of course, my own observation. (I don’t have much access to Internet in this NE Region).
While traveling from Manas to Barpetta Road, I notice lots and lots of vegetable gardens on both sides of the road, for miles together. And I also notice lots of farmers pushing small carts which contain vegetables. The vegetables included carrot, beans, cabbage, beetroot, radish, tomato, cauliflower, pumpkin, bitter gourd etc. The cart looks like a small bullock cart and is being pulled by a single farmer. Some of them are also carrying fire wood logs.
These farmers are Bangladeshi migrants, courtesy Indira Gandhi. Their dress confirms this. These vegetables are brought to a wholesale vegetable market at Barpetta, and from here, they are transported to Guwahati, Kolkota and many other places. We had tasted these vegetables on previous two nights at Manas Lodge and they were really fresh and tasty.
Normally any such activity will be centered around any town. But here once we cross the Barpetta, I could notice that not even a single farmer is indulging with this activity.
After this we come across the Barpetta Railway Station. Here I notice lots and lots of bamboo sticks stacked together for transportation. Later I notice such bamboo sticks at Hindustan Paper Corporation factory on NH37 between Guwahati and Kaziranga.
Once we cross the railway station, I observe lots and lots of small water tanks (ponds) in the paddy fields. They are actually fish rearing tanks. I can see such tanks for several kilometers, on both sides of the road. Hybrid varieties of fish like rouw, bhangan, kamal kaat, glass kaat, mirka, bhokwa, sheetal (all these are local Assamees names) etc. are reared in these tanks.
They have very interesting way of rearing fish. The mother fish’s stomach is cut, the eggs are taken out and they are reared in a separate tank. The mother fish’s stomach is then stitched and released into the tank. This fish will become alright after some days.
The grown up fish in that separate tank are caught every day using nets in the evening. If any small fish falls in the net, then it is released back into the tank. The fishes are then transported to the city markets in the early morning.
Now let me continue my travel story. We reach Hajo around 9 am. There is an ancient Madhava Temple, and we take a break to have the darshan. And from here, we proceed to Kamakhya Mandir, Guwahati. There is a huge rush and even the VIP tickets are sold out. We are asked to wait till 3 pm. As we didn’t have enough time, we approach some ‘pandit’ and have the darshan of the Kamakhya, from the top portion only.
We break for brunch and after that we proceed to Kaziranga. At Manas, public is freely allowed up to the sanctuary gate only. But in case of Kaziranga National Park (KNP), the NH37 road criss-crosses the forest. This is similar to Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park. By the time we reach Kaziranga National Park, it is already dark, and hence I can’t observe any landscape. Very sad, but then God will not give you everything that you want, I told myself.
We stayed at the Green Reed Resort in Kohora (central range) of KNP. For the first time in my 15 days tour of NE, the room, the food and the service were extremely poor. So my advice is that, don’t stay at this resort whenever you visit KNP. There are plenty of other resorts available here, nothing to worry.