So, first day in the North East. Guwahati is, well to be honest, not the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to. Fortunately, it wasn’t one of our expected highlights. It’s kind of dirty, dusty… even a bit smelly. On the plus side we found some pretty decent hotels. Also, we spent the day doing chores so we didn’t get to see any of the sights. We have organised a car for tomorrow as it looks like being a busy day, mostly because we need to leave for Arunachal Pradesh the day after tomorrow due to the fact that our Restricted Area Permit for the region started today, and so we need to get there sooner rather than later. As it stands, we should have 28 days in AP, which hopefully will be enough. The permits are for 10 days and only 2 extensions are possible.
Tomorrow we will finish off our tour of the hotels of Guwahati and also check out the main sights, as we see them. The main things to see are the “Blood Temple”, known locally as Kamakhaya Mandir, the site where Sati, the wife of Shiva, one of the main Hindu Gods apparently left her genitalia to rest! Respecting one of their leading ladies, they sacrifice goats, buffalos and doves to represent her menstrual cycle. The inner sanctum is said to be sticky with sacrificial blood!
Then there is Umandanda Mandir, an island in the Brahmaputra river accessible by busy cruise boats. It is heavily forested and boasts some impressive temples, one or two of which are guarded by polite, and very rare golden langurs, the most loveable monkeys of India.
This evening we found a quaint little bar and had a few Indian beers and some unexpectedly spicy food, given that Assamaese food is supposed to be bland – by Indian standards.
Tomorrow beckons! First some sleep.
– DaveThis blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the links below to navigate through this journey.