It's difficult and sometimes extremely costly to get permits to get into a certain state like Arunachal Pradesh. Getting into Assam and Meghalaya is relatively easy. So, we started with the capital of Assam. Guwahati is a busy, dirty city, but the area along the Brahmaputra River and the fertility temple on the hill, 7 km from downtown, is worth a look. Guwahati has a vibrant culture, but we were in search of the famous wild one-horned Rhino.
Guwahati is the gateway to the North-East and even called as such, so it is no wonder that our journey to Meghalaya would begin from here. Guwahati, in the first glance, seems like any other urban sprawl, with its fair share of concrete and cement. But the low-lying hills that one catches glimpses of from the occasional clearings and of course the rooftops, along with the massive Brahmaputra, on the banks of which Guwahati lies, make all the difference.
If you are fascinated by rivers as I am, the Brahmaputra is the piece de la resistance for those going to Guwahati. Depending on the time one lands up in Guwahati, the Brahmaputra will not fail to enchant you, whether it be as a lazy ambling beast during the drier months or the all-consuming monster it becomes when it rains. During my trip here it had the former mask on, letting me take a ferry ride across the wide river, something everybody should do if they are visiting here. And if you are one of those lucky ones with all the time in the world, and a good part of its money too, you could also take a cruise down the river. I say this because a description of 10 day river cruise had left me drooling.
To not seem as fixated by the River as I am, let me mention that Guwahati has other places and things too. They too have something to do with the Brahmaputra, but as far as Guwahati is concerned, the River is inescapable.
The Kamakhya Temple, situated on the Kamakhya Hills on the banks of the Brahmaputra is one such place. Even if you are not interested in temples, one should visit the place for the commanding view of Guwahati, the hills and the River from its height. The same sentiment stands for the Umananda Temple, situated on an Island in the middle of the Brahmaputra. Just reaching the temple by a boat, where the river is but a few feet from you is an experience that makes the trip worthwhile.
Our journey to the north eastern part of India began with with a short flight from the city of Kolkata to Guwahati. Guwahati is one of the largest cities in the north eastern part of India. We had had enough of the city life and so we proceeded directly to Kaziranga National Park which is 230 kms away.