By Recho Benjamin Teron
There is pristine, immaculate beauty in unexpected places, in the nooks and the crannies, and unvisited backyards. The magic mantra is to be observant for such hidden diamonds in the rough, mixed in with just a little rare pluck and a tiny amount of luck.
The North Cachar Hills district can be considered the backyard of Assam. It was pulling me towards its mysterious presence, with whispers about its legends. The logic goes, if a sizeable amount of wonderful people hail from one particular place, then that place would naturally be as wonderful as them. Whether it was its nature or culture, it must have contributed to the people’s character.
After hearing that two of my friends were going to Haflong, the administrative capital of North Cachar Hills, I firmly resolved to travel there. Having a cousin working out of there made my decision much easier. Spontaneous adventures have always been my most treasured memories. No regrets – that’s how life must be approached.
And so began my foray into the backyards of Assam.
To reach Haflong, it is advised to take the train which takes eight hours but due to schedules and some rotten luck (wouldn’t want to bore you with the broken bus problem, where the driver asked me to send a text to the helpline number given by the state transport authority for aid, I know!) I took a lot longer.
After reaching Haflong, I left for Umrangso, where I visited the post office and went around town.
It was a wild ride as the road was raw and rough. Thanks to rain, we struggled through bogs and puddles. The freedom of traversing the wild, the view of the hills, rivers, forests, quaint little villages, ‘jhum’ farmed hills was breathtaking.
Since the road went through secluded forests, it was completely isolated. We were surprised and intrigued on finding two other vehicles that broke down and were stuck on the road. They were searching for cell network to call for aid. Imagine having to walk all the way to the nearest town!
I remember we had lunch in a restaurant beside a crossroad, a ‘tiniali’, and it just reminded me of travellers stopping at inns in the bygone days of Middle Earth.
Umrangso is a small town that burgeoned around the hydroelectric power project. It has a mixed populace of various tribes and employees. It was there that I heard about the mysterious Panimur, where the water was so white that it was comparable to milk.
It was hailed as a spectacular sight. Kangana Ranaut shot a scene for ‘Rangoon’ in Panimur. One of the many interesting things we encountered was a hunter carrying ‘tumsi,’ or presumably, porcupine meat. After treading a partly hidden highway, which would’ve been missed by a less discerning traveller, we reached the mythical cascades of Panimur. The water was tumbling, fumbling, roaring, speeding, flying through jagged rocks.
Yes, the man’s description that it was ‘as white as milk’ was so true! This tiny diamond cut out from nature was tucked away in this obscure place where at that moment only two souls saw it dazzle bright across the universe.
Recho is a dreamer and a wanderer who loves photography, writing, beautiful landscapes and Jesus. All pictures in this compilation were clicked by him as well.