India : Assam : Along the Brahmaputra # 4

Biswanath Ghat was the next town we visited.  It’s right on the banks of the Brahmaputra River  It’s about 10km from the town of Biswanath Charali which is to the north and presumably on higher ground to avoid possible flooding.

P1010463  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010463 © DY of jtdytravels

Bordol Temple was built during the reign (1751-1769) of the Ahom king Rajeswer Singh.  Rajeswer was a devout Hindu.  He erected many temples and gave considerable amounts of land to the Brahmins.  He died in 1769.

Rajeswer became king even though he was the fourth son of Rudra Singh.  He became king because the first and second sons had died.  But what of the third son?  Rudra Singh’s third son, Mohanmala Gohain, was considered unable to become king as his face was pitted with smallpox scars.  According to Ahom tradition, a prince had to be free of all physical disability, defects or deformities to become king.  To add insult to injury, the first thing Rajeswer Singh did on becoming the new king, was to exile his smallpox-scared brother, Mohanmala Gohain. He sent him away to be the Raja of Namrup which is around 300km from Biswanath Ghat, and importantly, it’s on the other side of the Brahmaputra.  Poor old Mohanmala Gohain was out of the way!


P1010462  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010462 © DY of jtdytravels

Being on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, fish forms a large part of the local diet.  This guy is operating a one-stop shop, hoping to sell some radish to go with the fish.


P1010514  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010514 © DY of jtdytravels

Further along the river we stopped at another village.  These boys we intrigued by our arrival.  It was surprising to me that there wasn’t more traffic on the river – a few ferries carried passengers across the river and there were some small local fishing boats that carried only one or two people.  The arrival of the MV Mahabaahu was therefore quite an event.


P1010516  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010516 © DY of jtdytravels

Water buffalo were also by the river.


P1010522  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010522 © DY of jtdytravels

This village has houses built on stilts to avoid flooding during the monsoon season.  All the walls are made out of split bamboo while the roof is thatched or covered in corrugated iron.  They are very simple structures.


P1010523  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010523 © DY of jtdytravels

The rich alluvial soil produces good crops of rice.  This crop was nearing harvest.


P1010530  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010530 © DY of jtdytravels

Everything seems to be made out of bamboo.


P1010531  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010531 © DY of jtdytravels

The open structure of the floor and the walls allows every breath of air to cool the building.  The area gets stiflingly hot.  The concrete block in the middle of the floor is the ‘kitchen’.


P1010533  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010533 © DY of jtdytravels

We were as much of a curiosity to the locals as they were to us.


P1010536  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010536 © DY of jtdytravels

One of the local ladies sat on her verandah backed by the split bamboo wall of her house.


P1010538  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010538 © DY of jtdytravels

We were the centre of attraction.


P1010539  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010539 © DY of jtdytravels

This kid had obviously been playing in the mud.

All boys play in the mud, don’t they!

P1010556  ©  DY  of jtdytravels

P1010556 © DY of jtdytravels

Same little boy with a snotty nose as well!


P1010546  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010546 © DY of jtdytravels

There were lots of children in the village… probably no TV reception!

I don’t know whether there was a school or not.


P1010548  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010548 © DY of jtdytravels

Pork obviously forms a part of the villager’s diet.


P1010549  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010549 © DY of jtdytravels

A pig’s eye view.


P1010553  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010553 © DY of jtdytravels

What was she looking at and

what thoughts might have been going through her mind?


P1010555  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010555 © DY of jtdytravels

This little girl was just happy looking at us.


P1010560  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010560 © DY of jtdytravels

This lady was sitting on her elevated verandah preparing some greens for the evening meal.  There would undoubtedly be rice and maybe some meat or fish to go with the greens.


P1010565  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010565 © DY of jtdytravels

This village doesn’t get a lot of visitors.

They were interested to see photos of themselves in Trevor’s camera.


P1010571  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010571 © DY of jtdytravels

As we left our mooring, the boys of the village watched us depart.

We sailed off to a deserted island for our overnight stop.


P1010581  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010581 © DY of jtdytravels

These are the lovely flowers on a Water Hyacinth plant (Eichhornia crassipes).  This plant is native to the Amazon Basin but has spread all over the tropical world where it has become a severe weed.  The long dangling roots slow the flow of water in rivers and often clog irrigation waterways.  Their dense floating leaves block sunlight from getting to submerged plants resulting in their death.  The nutrients from this decaying material further nourishes the water hyacinth plants which can double the area covered in less than a fortnight.


P1010575  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010575 © DY of jtdytravels

For this evening. our ship the MV Mahabaahu was tied up to a land anchor.  The crew drove a couple of stout bamboo stems deep into the sand to which the ship was tied.  These land anchors were used fore and aft.


P1010597  ©

P1010597 ©  DY  off jtdytravels

It was late in the afternoon by the time we were allowed off the ship.  Some of us decided we needed a walk, so a challenge was set – to walk right around the island.  The sky was a bit overcast as the sun set but lovely soft colours flooded the sky and were reflected in the water.  This made for some lovely atmospheric photos.


P1010605  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010605 © DY of jtdytravels

Harsha is pointing to nowhere in particular!

He was our enthusiastic guide while we were in India.


P1010602  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010602 © DY of jtdytravels

The MV Mahabaahu lies in the background as a low fog hangs on the river.


P1010618  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010618 © DY of jtdytravels

The sun had gone down below the horizon by now.

The reflected colours were still worth enjoying and photographing.


More anon


All Photography Copyright ©  David Young of  jtdytravels

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