It’s been quite long I haven’t posted anything. There was a lot going on, and I was really busy keeping up with my daily duties. Nevertheless, I am all set and I would like to share all that has happened and also share some beautiful places I have travelled too at the very start of this year. The picnic season is almost about to end here in Assam. Well, when I say “picnic” it doesn’t mean mere cooking and eating with friends and family on the terrace or at the nearby park but it has something more at least here in Assam. Yes, we do have this concept of a picnic but in Assam picnic during the winter season has a different thing to do with everyone. In Assamese, it is called as “Bon-Bhoj” (Bon means forest and Bhoj means feasting that is feasting outdoors). Let me just brief a little about this. In the winter generally on Sundays or holidays we hire a bus or a cab and pack with us all the essential items required for cooking and eating outdoors and it is our way of enjoying the winter.
We take firewood as cooking outdoors with the traditional method on fire has a nostalgic feeling and also it’s tastes really good. Music systems, sitting mats, etc are also packed. We start planning about the picnic a week ahead as a hell lot of preparations have to be made.
The list of people going, menu, budget, list of utensils to be taken, shopping all the cooking related stuff and what not. But before all this comes to a selection of the picnic spot. Assam is bestowed with some of the beautiful locations in the most natural surrounding- hills, rivers, lakes, forests, etc. There are popular picnic spots all over Assam and we select the ones where either we have never visited or the ones that a nearby and takes a less travelling time.
During the peak season, the picnic spots are so overcrowded that some massive traffic jams are created that causes havoc among picnic goers. For these reasons, committees have been made to look after the management of the picnic spots that includes cleanliness and proper maintenance of the areas allocated for picnic parties.
Here is a small list of popular picnic spots around Guwahati, Assam
- Chandubi (Click to read in details about the place)
These are just to name a few. Readers from Guwahati let me know if I have left out any important or popular location. If you want I can do a detailed post on all these locations but yes, it would require a lot of research as I have not visited all the places. But the main thing is that we have a lot of places nearby. The best part is that most of the places are at a distance of around 60-100 km (approx) from Guwahati.
During the peak seasons, you will find these places over-crowded and noisy but that is the fun part. You can dance like no one is watching, eat your heart out, take selfies like a thousand ones, no one really cares no one judges. All the picnic spots are picturesque and either has a waterfall, a river, a lake or beautiful breathtaking mountains. Not only for the picnic you can also go for a long drive to these places, pack some food on way and enjoy with your friends in these beautiful locations.
This time all my colleagues planned a picnic trip too from our school. We had to do a lot of planning while doing the classes, most of the free periods were spent planning the picnic. Finally the day arrived, it was 23rd January, Wednesday and we all were asked to meet at a giving location. We hired a traveller (semi-bus type vehicle). One of our staff member Uma da( as we fondly call him) loaded all the stuff from the school premises and reached the point where we all were waiting. It was quite exciting to see how Uma da decorated the traveller with balloons. We were total 14 members along with a cook, his helper and the driver. We selected Ukiam as our picnic spot.
Ukiam is located in the Assam- Meghalaya border that comes under Kamrup Rural. It is located nearby Chaygaon. It is one of the most popular destinations and remains crowded during the peak season. But by the time we visited the picnic season has almost ended with the heated rays of the sun. These were less crowd and as such less music or noise. But since it was also a government holiday we were expecting a little crowd which is also needed else the real picnic feel wouldn’t be achieved.
It took two hours to reach Ukaim from Jhalukbari. What a spectacular lay in front of us that we became speechless. Greenish-blue waters of the river Kulsi, the colourful boats, the mountains, everything was so beautiful. The area falls under the Garo Autonomous Council and the place is surrounded by the Garo hills. In Ukiam there is no network connectivity and this is what we wanted. No work and whole day enjoyment. We selected a clean spot to have our food, we unloaded the traveller, the cook was prompt and he immediately started making arrangements for cooking. We made preparations for breakfast which included- Brown bread, butter/jam, banana, orange, boiled egg and coffee because tea is just too mainstream!
Breakfast was followed by boat cruise and then a little forest trek to witness a waterfall as the boatman said we must not miss watching it. As the boat started tearing apart the crystal clear waters of the Kolohi river, I started getting fully absorbed in the wonderful nature. We clicked a lot of photographs, really a lot! After cruising and forest trekking we returned to our location. A little rest and a little chat and we were all back exploring each and every corner of the place. We were lucky indeed to enjoy the place as the crowd was almost negligible.
It was time for lunch and we had the most simple menu which was – Steamed rice, salad, daal(pulses), Brinjal fritters, mixed vegetables, fish curry and mutton. It was very tasty as I have already mentioned that anything cooked on firewood tastes really good. We finished our lunch, cleaned up the place and started packing for our departure. We wanted to leave the spot before it’s dark as some stretches of the road were broken and also we were quite far away from Guwahati city. We wanted to stick to everything as planned. My colleagues danced, sang and enjoyed so much that till today we are reliving those memories. These are the little things that I love about my work, my place and people. We work hard so that we can enjoy harder.