Day 8th 26th semtember
The Guwahati hotel’s name was Hotel Parasuram (Oyo) and not a great hotel for 1150 rupees. The room itself looked shady to me and they made me climb 2 floors with all the luggage. Don’t know how to ascertain a good hotel from the aggregator’s application.
Pictures look great, but in reality, the hotel looks exactly the opposite. Going through multiple reviews is one option but after a tiring ride/day, your body or mind is not inclined to do that. If anyone knows a better trick, please Share with me. Couple of corrections on Day 7 note. ° I had described the Brahmaputra in a feminine form and actually the rive is masculine.
I thought all the rivers in India are addressed in feminine form and was wrong/ignorant. My fellow travelers (yet to meet them) and some other friends corrected me on this. Good to know people are reading the narrative and that’s positive. the Brahmaputra stands for “Son of Lord Brahma” and there is a legend attached to it. Google can help you with more information.
That’s not the only male river in India and there are many like Krishna/Bhima/Bhadra addressed as masculine rivers. Learning of the day. ° Another clarification. Bengalis use refined oil as well and not as claimed by me (Mustard oil). You need to ask for what you want. If not, it comes in mustard oil.. That’s another learning and happy to know that I won’t have any issues with food.
We started the day at 7 from Guwahati and we have to reach Silchar (again in Assam) by day end. That would help us do the remaining stretch to Imphal on Day 9 peacefully. The distance (300+ km) was not that great but we had to cross Meghalaya and it’s beautiful Ghat section before entering Assam again on the other side.
The hotel guys took some time to remove the cars and that delayed our start. The first 20 km were plain Guwahati roads and then the Meghalaya Ghat section starts. This was the longest ghat section I have done so far (was dreaded initially) and it is definitely not an easy task. Giving some parameters or factors and allowing you to visualize the ride. No straight roads for more than 50 meters, sharp left/right turns and some U-turns, mostly 2 lanes, 50% roads were with serious potholes and you have to negotiate 100s of trucks (Meghalaya is famous for limestone and coal mining) and the pollution they produce through the ride. Rough is an understatement. Shifting your bum, again and again, has created some irritation and hope it is not that serious.
While doing the ghat, you got to cross Meghalaya and Assam multiple times and Meghalaya roads were great (allowing you to assume the condition of Assam roads). Meghalaya is mostly comprised of hills and describing its beauty is not possible. One has to see it with their own eyes only. In fact, I and Manish were discussing (through our intercom) about moving to Meghalaya for some time (not seriously). The dense forest covering both sides of the roads, tall trees, waterfalls, rivers, red soil, blue sky, and too good weather.
When we reached a village called Jowai, the temperature could be in the teens and it was really cold. It made us remove the visor and enjoy the chill wind while riding (for some time and before the trucks hit us with the black emission) . A good photographer would enjoy every corner of this state and any human being would relish this environment. Get your holiday scheduled for Meghalaya soon. Don’t go for Shillong (nothing wrong except the ever-flowing tourist population) but there are many other places which are not crowded and situated in the middle of the forest.
We were supposed to meet Naren Raj (our tour organizer) outside Shillong and that was the immediate target. While riding towards the location of Naren, we stopped at a roadside cart and started our conversation. The shop is using a bus stop as the location and managed by the entire family. The husband takes care of the front desk and the wife takes care of the backroom work.
Both were great people and started talking with us freely. Watch the videos for that. They showed us some local food (different type of idli) and we tasted that with tea. By default, I stick to known food but decided to try this for a change. It was really good and he asked us to have it with tea (I went for black tea) and red chilies (called those as 6 goli revolver ka bullet). While writing this, I still feel that taste and would try the same during our return journey. We reached the location
Naren was waiting for us at a breakfast place. Another round of food and this time it was oil paratha (I thought it was puri). Meeting Naren for the first time and happy that our group is slowly increasing. Naren runs “overland Asia tours” and they conduct lots of adventure rides. He reached here a week before to get our papers done. Message me and I can give you more information about him and his adventure tours. Very interesting and accommodative character. By having him with us, I am sure that the remaining part of the journey is going to be great.
The other 2 riders are expected to join the next 2 days. We stopped at Jowai to meet Naren’s friends. Cold weather and green forest, water bodies and fell in love with this place. If it is this cold in September, then I can imagine how cold it would be during peak winter. Jowai is the place where the annual Bacardi music festival happens. The place is getting ready for the event and it takes more than 4 months to prepare for it. Saw a huge area full of trees and that’s getting ready to be the parking area.
Villagers do all the groundwork (making parking slots or path for cars to get in without damaging the trees) and the entire parking fees is given to village development trust (close to a million Indian rupees). Very interesting concept. Also found a water body or large pond near the restaurant where we were sitting and I could see lots of people sitting around the water body. On enquiring, the village is conducting annual fishing competition (I believe for the locals) and what better way to bring the people together and create the festival atmosphere…
The rest of the day was spent riding enjoying the beauty and maneuvering the potholes/trucks and the back bending turns. On reaching a particular point, we were not sure about the road to take and Manish went to ask a local. I shouted and asked him the check the road condition. Manish came back with a response “roads are too good for a ride provided you manage the deep and deadly potholes “. Checked into “Hotel Kalpataru, Silchar” and a decent hotel for a night stay (850 rupees). Apparently this is the only hotel which has parking facilities and this is a must for a rider. Cannot allow the bikes to be kept on the road. Met some more friends of Naren for dinner and it’s always good to know more people which can be helpful during your next visit. Tomorrow’s travel distance is not that great (250 kms) but it would take close to 10 hours to complete. This itself is giving me a nightmare and let’s see whether I am good for it or not.