Karbi Anglong, meaning Hills of Karbi people is one of the two autonomous hills districts of Assam. It has a blend of thickly forested hills, dense tropical rain forests and flat plains with three-fourth of the area being covered by forests.
I got the opportunity to visit Karbi Anglong a few years back. I was lucky to go to some of the remotest places and meet and talk to the people. Here I share my observations on the enchanting land.
Unakoti, the word means ‘one less than a crore’. This is the name of a place located deep inside a coolly shaded forest, about 180 kilometres northeast of Agartala. An archaeological wonder known for the largest Bas-relief sculpture in India, Unakoti is supposed to have the carvings and statues of Gods and Goddesses numbering one less than 1 crore. Gigantic carvings of Shiva, Ganesha and other gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology, some of them about 30 feet high, dating back from the 7th to 9th, can be seen on its hill slopes.
This is one of the places that I often had to pass by during my stay in Tripura, a picturesque State of North East India, bounded by Bangladesh on all sides with corridors to the North Eastern States of Asom and Mizoram.
Continuing from the narration of my travel to South and East Sikkim in Part I , here I describe my journey through West and North Sikkim.
Rangeet a spectacular river of silvery swirling waters with its source in a glacier of Lower Kanchenjunga Range in West Sikkim is fed by the melting snow and abundant monsoon rains. We travelled through interior West Sikkim and reached Geizing, the District Headquarters late night, after a gruelling road journey.
Sikkim, the enchanting Mountain State in the Eastern Himalayas, is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty. The land of the sacred Kanchenjunga borders Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan.
Kanchenjunga Mountain, the third highest mountain in the world, is sacred to the people of Sikkim. There are five peaks towering the sky, known as the ’Five Treasures of Snow’. These icy peaks of Kanchenjunga along with the enormous ridges make a formidable sight.
Nagaland, well-known for its natural beauty and breath-taking pristine natural forests is also known for its warm and hospitable people. In December 1968, I was posted in Pfutsero in Kohima District of Nagaland, as Second-in-Command of a CRPF Battalion. The Battalion was deployed to aid the Government of Nagaland in maintaining Law and Order.
Manipuri Dance – One of the eight Indian Classical Dance Styles
Manipuri dance, from the ancient land of Manipur, is one of the eight and the finest Indian classical dance styles.
As the legend goes, Lord Shiva, the great connoisseur of cosmic dance of Lord Krishna, Radha and the Gopis, ensured that no one disrupted the rhythmic beauty of the heavenly dance. When Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva, desired to see the ethereal dance, he chose Manipur as the venue for re-enactment of the divine Raas Leela Dance.
Jatinga, a scenic village nestled among the Borail Hills range in the Dima Hasao District of Assam, is known for a strange eerie phenomenon. During misty and foggy days in the months of September to November, each year, thousands of birds come to this valley and crash to their death. As the sun sets, huge number of birds descend on the village and fly full speed, smashing against buildings and trees, to drop dead.
The monsoon set in quite early this time in the high hills of Mizoram. It was raining incessantly throughout the day and night in the middle of July 1986. Zemabawk, on the outskirt of Aizawl, was the location of CRPF headquarters. I was posted as DIG CRPF, responsible for overseeing the operations of all CRPF battalions deployed in Mizoram.
On 30 June, 1986, the Govt of India had signed a “Peace Accord” with the Mizo National Front (MNF) ending the two-decade old insurgency in the ”Land of the Highlanders”.
CRPF was assigned the mission to receive MNF cadres at designated places and take over their arms and ammunitions for handing over to the Army. Subsequently the MNF cadres were to be escorted to a Peace Camp “Remna Run” on a high ridge near Tui- Vamit-Tlang, a windy village, at one extreme end of Aizawl.
Parva and Marpara were the two earmarked places through which the MNF returnees were to enter Mizoram from Bangladesh and lay down their arms and ammunitions.
Aizawl, set on the ridges of steep hills is flanked by the lofty peaks of the beautiful Durtlang Hills.