Monday, September 28, 2015

On Road to Dimapur from Jorhat * 74

Land of Wonders
India is a vast country and its wonders never cease to fasinate me. I am one of the lucky few who has spent time in the Tamil Nadu forests of Siruvani and Top slip and also visited the exotic jungles of Assam and the North East. When I was posted at Jorhat, I had an opportunity to travel by road to Dimapur.  Jorhat , for those who may not be aware is an important city of upper Assam and has a massive Air Force base, which houses 2 of the biggest transport squadrons of the IAF. The runaways at Jorhat were built during World War II and it is from here that the B-29's of the USAF took off to bomb Japanese targets in China.
Dimapur is the biggest city of Nagaland and it was in the news lately after a rapist was lynched to death here a few weeks back. I travelled to Dimapur by the Provost jeep of the assistant Provost marshal. The distance  is 110 km and passes through thick pristine forests, where herds of elephants roam.
Elephant herds
I was a little wary of the trip when I heard about the elephant herds. I was told they often converge on the road. But I was also assured that these herds have never harmed a vehicle and generally all you have to do is to stop and after some time the herd goes away. However there is a catch, as the elephants expect 'tribute' in the forms of clusters of bananas.  these are put on the road and the elephants will come and take them away and let the vehicle pass. How lovely !
The Journey
We started at about 9 in the morning as the drive would take about 3 hours. We passed virgin forests, so dense that you just could not see inside the thick foilage. In addition we carried a dozen large clusters of bananas.  After about an hour we saw a tusker standing in the centre of the road. We stopped and one of the airmen put 3/4 banana bunches on the road. We backed off and waited. Lo and behold, some more elephants emerged from the bushes and they came and carried the bananas away. It was a lovely sight.  They cleared the road and we pressed ahead.
We had 2 more encounters with the herds and they were a lovely sight. They took their tribute and let us move ahead.  we reached Dima pur after an exhilerating drive. i was delighted at the conduct of the elephants , so wise and intelligent. We dined at a sardar's dhaba and pressed on to the area Headquarters. This is one trip I will never forget.
Last word
The return journey next day was equally exciting, except that only one herd accosted us. What a wonder of nature. it's something that can be relived a hundred times. One hopes these pristine forests don't vanish as well as the elephants. This  is what makes India so special.