The picnic season is almost here in Assam and with Unlock 5 going on some of you must have already started the search for popular picnic spots. Assam is a state bestowed upon with splendid natural beauty, waterfalls, hills, valleys and rivulets running amidst high mountains. In such picturesque locations, it’s a winter delight or a tradition you can say to enjoy picnic in Assam. Of the many places in Assam, my favourite is Saralpara, in Kokhrajhar district a popular picnic spot . Lately, I have been exploring a lot of places in Bodoland and Saralpara in Kokrajhar has indeed amazed me with its jaw-dropping beauty and heavenly charm.
Where is Saralpara, a popular picnic spot of Assam located?
Saralpara, in Kokhrajhar, is a perfect hotspot for spending a day amidst tall mountains and a rivulet running through the valley. It is located at a distance of 65 km from Kokrajhar town. It is more accessible from Kokrajhar town or Bongaigaon town.
From Bongaigaon, it takes around 3 hours to reach Saralpara. If you are planning to visit Saralpara from Guwahati for a picnic party then it will be quite hazardous as the travelling time will take around 6-7 hours. You can instead take a halt at Bongaigaon and proceed the next day. But this is going to cost you some extra amount of money.
Situated along the Indo-Bhutan border, Saralpara in Kokrajhar district is quite nearby to the headquarter of Sarpang Dzonkhag (DC) in Bhutan. Once in Saralpara, you will get the feel of being in a Bhutanese village with small Bhutanese temple and prayer flags all over.
Before Covid-19 pandemic, Sarpang town in Bhutan was easily accessible for visitors. All you need was to show a Voter-Id. But due to Covid-19 protocols, they have sealed the entry point to Bhutan from here. Another popular entry point to Gelephu in Bhutan also remains closed due to the pandemic. These places are frequented by tourists mainly from Assam to enjoy scenic beauty or simply for shopping.
There is also an Indo-Bhutan friendship market in Saralpara from where you can buy local products. The place is mainly inhabited by Nepali, Bodo and Adivasi people.
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How to reach Saralpara, in Kokrajhar district
In order to visit Saralpara in Kokrajhar having your own vehicle is highly recommended as the place is in a far-off land and cut off from outside communication. You need to travel 62.6 km from Kokrajhar town via Bishmuri Saralpara Sarbhong road. It would take around two and a half an hour from there.
If you have started your journey from Bongaigaon town then you need to drive straight on the main National Highway 27. After crossing Kajolgaon on the main road keep driving until you reach the turning on the right side towards Bishmuri.
There is a huge gate just on the turning point and also the Bismuri Army Camp ahead. Then you need to drive through the Gaurang Range till you reach Saralpara picnic spot. You have to go through the jungles of Chirang Reserve Forest from Digli to Saralpara. This road that starts from the turning of Bishmuri and through the reserve forest area is in a pathetic condition.
It consumes maximum time to reach Saralpara just from this point only for the bad road condition. Also, it’s better if you start the journey early in the morning so that you can spend maximum time in the picnic spot. Also on weekends, the places remain so crowded that one may find it difficult to park vehicles on the spot.
Since the places are in the bordering area there are a few Army camps so I would suggest keeping a check on your conduct and approach towards the local inhabitants. The road to the picnic spot is not that safe at night so it’s better to depart by evening. Also there is no network connectivity. Isn’t it good? this is what we want, don’t we? To have a day without phone calls and messages.
Saralpara, in Kokrajhar district a popular picnic spot of Assam
We visited Saralpara last month and it was so addictive that we visited twice on consecutive days. Once in the picnic spot, we were awestruck to see the layers of high mountains presenting a beautiful backdrop with a high speed flowing rivulet in the front.
Some spots in the rivulet are so low that you can see the river bed and making it easier to soak your feet. Many people take a dip though it’s not advisable as few deaths have been reported recently in the river. Make sure to get carried away out of excitement and fun. Because above all safety comes first.
Also the probability of getting a better spot just beside the flowing water increases if you manage to be an early bird. You can cook your own food there or else you can pack food on way and enjoy it with your friends.
We did the latter as we wanted to spend the time enjoying the pristine beauty of the place. We packed our lunch on way and had it there on-spot. We also soaked a little bit in the cool water where it was quite shallow.
Saralpara is definitely a photographers delight. It presents beautiful frames perfect for landscape photography. The sunset is specifically beautiful presenting the sky in a multitude of colours. It’s a perfect place to soak the winter sun and relax away from the hustle-bustle of our busy lives.
The concept of the picnic here in Assam is not just packing your food and going to a park and spend some quality time.
But in Assam picnics are organized with proper planning and includes teamwork. At first, a spot is selected then the total number of members decided, a vehicle is hired, the menu for breakfast and lunch is sorted out. We select a specific day, carry our own firewood/ cylinder, cooking requirements, meat, vegetables, etc. Food is cooked right on spot, we sing, dance and celebrate winter. The concept is popularly called as “Bon-Bhoj” in Assamese.
The word “bon” means forest. Assam has so many picturesque locations that it isn’t difficult to single out one. Some of the popular picnic spots around Guwahati are Chandubi, Kopili Picnic spot in Rani, Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary, Panikhaiti, Chandrapur, Hatisila, Deepor Beel, Lake Umiam (Meghalaya), etc.
Both Upper Assam and Lower Assam has innumerable such picturesque locations. The mighty river the Brahmaputra and its tributaries have enriched the Brahmaputra valley with natural beauty in abundance.
But before you plan a visit to Saralpara please check whether the entry is permitted as sometimes the picnic spot remains closed for outsiders due to high-security reasons. Also, you are requested not to litter the river and the area around.
That is the only thing that can keep Saralpara in Kokrajhar in its purest and cleanest form. The water may look inviting but I request to stay away from swimming as you never know when there may be an increase in the water current. We must be most sensible in such situations and as the places so beautiful can make us lose our sanity.