Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Haflong - The Switzerland of East

Tired of the sweltering, concrete induced heat and the noise, humdrum and squalor of the Indian urban living? Take up the backpack and escape to Haflong, the headquarter town of Dima Hasao district of Assam and the only hill station (1683 feet above sea level) of the state.
One cannot go to Haflong directly by train. First he has to come to Lamding from Guwahati and take the Hill Queen express which will chug its way on meter gauge tracks amid the hilly terrain. The five hour journey through the woods, crossing the streams over century old iron bridges built in the British era, or negotiating the numerous tunnels en route, is a revelation of Mother Nature itself. Dotted in between are the asbestos thatched, bamboo fenced hutments masquerading as stations along the rail route.

We decamped at Hoflong station at lunch time.The distant Cachar hills far off is as if painted in dark blue on the sky blue canvas, dashed by puffy white clouds. The cool breeze from the north pumped pure oxygen in our lungs and extracted every bit of tiredness that adhered in the alveoli.
Next day we headed for the Haflong Lake, the bird watchers’ delight in winter. Arguably the biggest of the natural lakes in Assam, this place is hemmed by trees and has a cantilever bridge to boast of. Boating has started and you can enjoy this maiden initiative. You can take an auto which will take about 200 bucks and drop you to Jatinga hills on the Borai range. The hill is famous for the suicide of the birds, which in the evenings of moonless, misty, monsoon, months fly down to any source of fire on the ground to sacrifice en masse. Ironically, locals feast on this bizarre aviary phenomenon. “You can return seeing the pristine beauty of the hills hemmed by the river or stay there with the Nature Lover Club, where they will let you stay in their tents amid nature” said Ms Silvya, the Tourist Information Officer, Haflong. You can trek to Hempeopet peak for sunrise, the next morning.

If you have enough time left drop at Maibong, 5o kms away, on the way to Lamding and chill out on the banks of the Mahur River. On her eastern banks lie the relics of the centuries old Kachari Kingdom. We visited the Maibong waterfalls and the monolithic Ramchandi temple before heading for to the sultry streets of urban chaos.

Navigator: From Guwahati by train or car via Lamding ( Total -350 km), From Silchar Airport-107 Km (by train or car).
Contacts: Tourist Information Officer Haflong : 3673-272694 / 09854176866; Mr Winsonal Massa ( Nature Lover Club, Jatinga ) : 09957002809.
Places to stay: Hotel Landmark, Hotel Elite (03673-236708), Hotel Eastern (03673-236708), Hotel Nathao: Lodge( 03673-236112). 

  Pics : Courtesy Mr.Joshringdao Phonglo / Sylvia Suchiang ( Tourist Information Officer, Haflong)
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