Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Train Journey--From Guwahati To Haflong

In April, I went to Haflong by train. A special train called the
'Hill Queen' runs from Guwahati to Haflong. It's a 7-hour journey
through picturesque and hilly terrain. Built during the British
times, it is considered a feat of engineering. Several bridges
span deep ravines and there are as many as thirty seven tunnels.
All this was built a little more than a hundred years ago.

Of late, this track has been in the news for the wrong reasons.
I really don't want to go into the gory details but militancy is
a fact that we, in the north-east, are learning to live with. And
the trains have been the target several times. This led to the
closure of the train services for more than two months. It was
only recently that the 'Hill Queen' has started plying through
that beautiful landscape again.

All the pictures were taken from the train. This is how the vege-
tation looks like in April. Dry...waiting for the first rains of
of the year. My only regret is I couldn't photograph the many
birds I saw. Maybe next time, when I'm faster with the camera:)



A view of lush green paddy fields as we leave Guwahati.



In the wide plains of Assam--the look of spring.



But as we leave the plains behind, we cross a never-ending bamboo
jungle.




And huge areas of wild grass.



The "Hill Queen". There's nothing remotely regal about it!







Unidentified bug on train window.



More bridges to cross...we'd just left one behind.



Windswept landscape.





One of the tunnels. All the dead blooms are wild sunflowers.
During the blooming period the forests turn yellow. This area
has many varieties of morning glory. There were blue, purple,
and white ones in bloom.



Terraced fields and a stream.



A quaint little railway station with orchids, crape jasmine,
and coral jasmine.



The last bridge before reaching Haflong.



The Barail Ranges! A sight that spells "Home"!! Since the blue
hills surround the town, for any Haflongite this sight is like
comfort food! It didn't matter that the day wasn't clear,that
the blue was at its palest...What mattered was that I had
arrived at my destination.



And the most prominent blooms on the roadsides were of the
beautiful jacaranda.
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I love....

  • Dew on the bamboo, yellow flowers and orange sunsets, the sound of rain...the whistle of the wind, the rush of flowing water, the smell of woodsmoke, the crackle of a wood fire,the moon in all its phases.......

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