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Brahmaputra Cruise

Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 14:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 08:29 [IST]

Brahmaputra Cruise

S. BALAKRISHNAN
Brahmaputra was simply amazing! I could not see the other bank despite wearing my specs for shortsightedness. The river was so broad it looked like a sea. So, for a person from the dry Tamil Nadu which scarcely has any perennial river these days, I must admit I was so jealous that I turned ‘green with envy’ from my original black. My wife wondered if I were an alien from Mars. Anyway I wanted to enjoy the maximum out of my lifetime chance of visiting Assam and darshan of the mighty Brahmaputra. As we had a plan to visit Majuli Island, I asked our tour operator if we could go there cruising all the way on Brahmaputra, in a boat house; sure, he said, but it would take 3-4 days. Our whole stay in Assam itself was only for four days, so we had to drop this adorable idea. Instead, we opted for an evening cruise near Guwahati. Something is better than nothing, I consoled and, as usual, vowed to visit Assam again exclusively for a week-long Brahmaputra cruise. This, like my many other tourism vows, would never be realized, I know. Yet, the sensitive heart never listens to the analytical brain.

(Our Ferry)
      It was the last evening of our stay in Assam; by noon the next day we were to fly for Manipur. Over cautious not to miss the pre-booked Sunset Cruise service (each ticket was Rs.300), we reached the banks of Brahmaputra a bit too early. Our ferry Alfresco Grand was already moored there getting ready for the sunset cruise (4.30 pm) and then for the dinner cruise (7 pm). Ticket for buffet dinner cruise would definitely be on the higher side, I calculated. To kill the time we crossed over the street and did some window shopping and then loitered on the river bank for a while, wondering at a massive statue erected on the river. Later I learnt it was to honour Lachit Borphukan (24 November 1622 - 25 April 1672), a commander and Borphukan (Phu-Kon-Lung in Ahom language is Councilor) in the Ahom Kingdom of the past/Assam of the present; for, it was under his leadership that the Ahom kingdom drove away the Mughal army in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat.

Our tour operator had ensured a table on the deck with a best possible view; but for most part we roamed around the deck clicking the view and drinking the brute beauty of Brahmaputra, while savouring the snacks & hot Assam tea served onboard. Then we dropped into the auditorium, a floor below, hoping to enjoy folk music/dance. Alas! We were dismayed to find performers crooning western/Bollywood tunes. But their leaflet enticed us with details of folk dances from the whole of North-East. Unable to enjoy this, we rushed back to the deck to enjoy the sun setting over the waters of Brahmaputra painting it red. As storks and other birds were returning to their nest, they were trying their day’s last luck in fishing. The flocks flew so gracefully just touching the water. Lone fishing boats silhouetted by the setting sun were dancing up and down. Scattered islets – small & tiny - seemed to be floating in the tidal waters of the river. We were double lucky as the sky was clear and it was also just two nights to full moon. Now it was the turn of the moon to paint the river water silvery!  And Guwahati started glittering by the electric lights. The river cruise reminded me of the night time harbour cruise in Port Blair long back in 1980. As we alighted half-heartedly, I couldn’t help fuming at the lucky Guwahatians.
By cruising on the mighty Brahmaputra I have added one more feather to my travel cap. Brahmaputra is special in many ways - it is a trans-border river; it originates in Tibet’s Mt. Kailash area where it is called Yarlung Tsangpo, traverses through Indian states and then enters Bangladesh. It has a male name – Brahma’s putra (son). But in Bangladesh it is called by female names as Jamuna (when it enters that country), Padma (when it mingles with Ganges) and then as Meghna (when it drains into Bay of Bengal). During rains it widens to 8 km and hence the ninth largest river in the world by discharge! Coursing through 4696 km, Brahmaputra is the 15th longest river in the world. While its average depth itself is a scary 450 ft., the maximum is an unbelievably scary 1200 ft.! Good that I learnt of this fact only now; else my bathophobia (batho in Greek=depth, phobos=fear) would have prevented me sailing and, sadly, you would have missed a good story on River Brahmaputra!

krishnanbala2004@yahoo.co.in / 9840917608 Whatsapp




Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi