the-south-asian Life & Times                   April - June 2009



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Cruising Along the Brahmaputra

By Subhasish Chakraborty

Cruise boats on Brahmaputra

Having been born and brought up in Guwahati, this gateway city of North East India  still evokes images of the mighty Brahmaputra river meandering through much of the city and of those joyful days when as kids we would play beach cricket on the sandy stretches of the river bank every winter. There was also a wild side to this river. With the onset of the monsoon season, the river’s fury and turbulence would inundate large parts of the state of Assam, flooding almost all the riverside towns. The perennial problem of flooding of the Brahmaputra valley still continues unabated despite the best efforts of the conservation authorities.

 The 2,900 km long Brahmaputra River is no ordinary river. It is one of Asia’s principal rivers and perhaps the most turbulent. It originates from the icy glaciers of the Himalaya, passes through much of Tibet, the North Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and finally merges with the Ganges and empties into the Bay of Bengal.

In Tibet, the Brahmaputra is known as Yarlung Zangbo, in the state of Arunachal Pradesh it is referred to as the Dihang and when it merges with the Ganga, it shapes up the Sunderban delta, which incidentally happens to be the world’s largest riverine delta that for centuries has been the exclusive preserve of the rare and endangered Royal Bengal Tigers.

Brahmaputra figures in Indian mythology as the only male river. The word “Brahmaputra” literally means “son of Lord Brahma”.

The endangered one-horned rhino at Kaziranga National Park

As a travel writer, I was offered the rare privilege of embarking on a 10-night cruise covering the colonial town of Dibrugarh, the medieval Ahom capital of Sibsagar, the islands of Majuli, the world famous Kaziranga National Park, the ancient city of Tezpur and the mecca of Assam’s burgeoning silk industry – Sualkochi.

Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times





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