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Old 12th August 2010, 20:30   #1
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Default Guwahati getaways: Chandubi Lake

Chandubi is a lake near Assam's capital city of Guwahati. Since it is off the highway and located at an underdeveloped area without any tourist amenities not many people go there.

That's make it a perfect place to spend some peaceful time away from the busy city life.

This will be my first writeup and hence let me put up the photograph's first and slowly i will add the details.

Image starts with on the road from Guwahati and ends with lakefront.
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Old 13th August 2010, 01:30   #2
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San, good to see my old place (guwahati) here in tbhp. Please continue. Waiting for more.
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Old 13th August 2010, 07:58   #3
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Thanks Joy' more pictures & writeup coming by this evening.
When were you posted in Guwahati, have you setelled down in Kolkata now.
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Old 13th August 2010, 08:56   #4
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Hello San Phrangmung, its good to see someone closer to home on T-BHP. Where are you based in Guwahati?
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Old 13th August 2010, 10:12   #5
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Smile Background and begining

I knew that there was a lake by this name somewhere near Guwahati. The question was where & how far given my time limit. So i searched the net and found two picture links, one article and ofcourse wikipedia details.
The pictures made me more eager to go but there were no details on the route and road condition except the highway diversion point.
Eventually, one Sunday afternoon i decided to go ahead after dropping my wife and one year old at the in laws' place for our weekly visits.
Though it was a Sunday, the move was slow as there were heavy traffic on the road and road widening work was going on upto airport junction. One has to take the airport road, crossing Azara and Rani before reaching Mirza, the point to leave single lane highway and drive into the unknown.
As i had started off around 12.30, without any breakfast got quiet hungry by the time reached Mirza. So i stopped by at Delicacy dhaba for butter nan & tadka. It took them ages to bring the food and it was not tasty either, but i was too hungry to complain and so ate up as quickly as possible & left. My biggest mistake there was ordering fresh lime soda, which deserves the worst ever award. The cashier however told me that the road upto my destination was open and in good condition.
So i drove towards Mirza sariali crossing with a positive news. The point where one has to turn left from the highway is also a market place with vendors on the road selling vegetables and stuff. This being the begining of a narrow (12 feet approx) district level road, one has to drive very very slow and cautiously as people don't give way easily. Another point to note is that if you need something to eat/buy, this is the last point. Beyond this lies vast village fields and small kirana stores.
The most important thing to remember is that the way beyond Mirza is inhabited by three communities Assamese, immigrant Bangladeshi Muslims and finally Rabha tribals. So one can not and should not visit Chandubi if AASU, AAMSU or the Rabha's calls bandh.
Well i am telling you this because twice i was sent back from this part by the security forces because of bandh call by one of the above mentioned groups.
Anyways i moved slowly from the bazar point crossing a local college and a railway crossing. Afterwards there were less people on the road and the scenery became green again. There were vast rice fields on both sides and the air was fresh. I stopped a local village connecting bus to ask the time it would take to the lake. The driver told me an hour or so, but i knew i should add half an hour more given i was new on this road. A little ahead i saw group of boys stopping vehicles coming from the other side. Well nothing out of the ordinary here, you either pay up or stay stranded. So after a little negotiation passenger cars get across by paying Rs 10 but commercial vehicles have to shell out more. It got little irritating however as i saw four such group of boys at diffrent places. The last and biggest group stopped me and as i left saying i would pay while coming back one of the crazy fellas ran after banging the car. Fortunately there were no stone throwing. They were all collecting money in the name of cultural night but most of the it goes in drink sessions.
A pleasent surprise awaited me a little ahead as i came across vast tea garden after a turn in a crowded village marketplace. I had no idea that there were tea gardens in this part of Assam. Those of you who have visited tea belts in South and Dooars would know why tea gardens are a welcome sight. It always cools the air and thers' a distingtive change in the air quality. So i had to stop take a few pictures and fell the freshness in the air.

To be continued.

@ Sumit
Thanks Sumit i stay in Rajgarh locality. Happy to meet someone from Shillong as i am yet to visit places other than Shillong and Jowai.
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Old 13th August 2010, 10:15   #6
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Lovely to see a thread from Guwahati!
Where exactly is Chandubi, and how does one drive there?
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Old 13th August 2010, 10:25   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
Thanks Joy' more pictures & writeup coming by this evening.
When were you posted in Guwahati, have you setelled down in Kolkata now.
I did my schooling and plus 2 from there. Even now, I have lots of friends from Guwahati and my uncles still stay there. Once in a while, I love to go to Guwahati and re-live my old memories.

Yes, I am settled in Kolkata now. By the way, where do you stay there?

Cheers.
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Old 13th August 2010, 11:56   #8
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Searching for Mirza & Chandubi in the maps, don't find it (not surprising). Which road out of Guwahati?
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Old 13th August 2010, 11:58   #9
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@hvkumar
Thanks. Chandubi is located in southern Kamrup district of Assam bordering Meghalaya hills and connected to Kulsi river.
One can reach the lake in a little over 2 hours drive from Guwahati depending on city traffic and district road condition.
Ther's a Assam Government tourist lodge to spend the night, but food items and kerosene plus petrol for generator must be brought along.
Ther's a village cottage living arrangement too on the other side of the lake. Guides from local villages are available apart from forest department ones for jungle/nature walks. Local villagers who make a living fishing in the lake also offer country boat ride. If you are lucky you will see wild elephants or atleast hear their sound.
I just saw their tracks and wastes, in the jungle road but that was enough to make me happy!
As for birdwatchers one won't be able to stop clicking. Just make sure not to visit in the picnic season.
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Old 13th August 2010, 12:32   #10
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Hey San,

It's nice to see a post from homeland. It is sad that places like Chandubi never come to news for good reason. Best I can guess is in new year eve this place might become active for picnic parties. Govt and Tourism dept in Assam never really looked into developing these places. Few years down the line these swamps will encroached and nothing will be there.

I am also surprised to hear the presence of tea garden in guwahati, I thought soil quality and Eco-sys of lower assam don't support tea plants!

Come with the full story soon. waiting for it.

Cheers
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Old 13th August 2010, 14:00   #11
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@Joy
I am based in Rajgarh, which area you grew up in and schooling from.
On the other hand i spent some time in Ganja Park, Rasbehari mor and Behala in 90's Calcutta. Those long flyovers and malls were not yet there back then.

@hvkumar
Yes you wont find the maps of much help and its not clear beyond Guwahati. Try serching through Panormio though you will find the lake south of Brahmaputra near Meghalaya hills little left of Guwahati.
The road one has to take is the highway to the airport that starts from Guwahati University in Jalukbari near the Saraighat bridge junction.
Its the highway to Goalpara, Dhubri and Siliguri as well.
Its a straight road upto Mirza and Assam Tourism signs are there all the way from highway diversion point to the lake. So finding the diversion and way onwards should not be a problem.

@Hriday
Thanks. Yeah right said, the area has big potential but tourism is not a priority for the local government. Ngo's can do the job with participation of the local Rabha inhabitants. But given the fragile eco system of the area, its better if not many visit the area.
Picnic seasons are a bad time here as people throw garbage all over, play loud music and even cut trees.
As for the tea garden they don't seem to be economically viable thats why none of the big players ie. Assam Company, Williamson Magor, Tata, Appejay are present in this belt bordering Meghalaya.
You must be aware what is happening in Deepor Beel. On an average trains kill 12 to 15 elephants here every year even though alternate routes can be made. As for the lakes area, its being sold off by our very own government and shrinked by almost 50 per cent.
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Old 13th August 2010, 14:56   #12
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Hi San,

Good to see pics from Guwahati, had been there when I was a lil kid. Waiting for more.
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Old 13th August 2010, 15:11   #13
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Smile Photographa

Here comes more pictures from the trip to Chandubi lake.
To total distance was roughly 60 km's and driving time 2 hours.
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Old 13th August 2010, 15:21   #14
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@ Sami
Thanks, Guwahati has changed a lot in the last few years. The growth has been very unplanned however, making city traffic very slow and prone to long jams.
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Old 13th August 2010, 16:03   #15
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Part II : After Tea gardens

The garden area had many tea community tribes people like in Upper Assam, as i crossed many of them on way. A few girls in cycle also crossed me apart from the occasional huge Tata trucks carrying sand from the riverbeds ahead.

After a few minutes driving amidst the tea gardens i reached the factoy which looked so bad that i thought it was closed. It had a small community temple nearby and a board saying tea not sold!

The road near the factory was in bad shape and i had to negotiate the car a lil bit to save it from getting stuck in mud. Then came a newly constructed wide RCC bridge with bad approach and decent with huge boulders both ways. I stopped two locals coming from the other side to ask which road to take, they told me to take the new bridge road instead of crossing the old wooden one.

So i crossed as suggested and reached good road once more after some time. The road became little hilly from here and gave me the feel of driving towards Darjeeling hills from NJP.

Then came a forest gate and a right turn into the jungle with huge trees that won't allow sunlight to reach ground. I was excited as i was not expecting this kind of a stretch, and the road was good too. So the few curves ahead were lot of fun but had to horn a lot too.

Little ahead the scene changed again with a forest office to the left and public ground and school to the right. There was even a state dispencery to my surprise, even though closed. Then i saw the welcome to Chandubi board. Just a little way ahead the good road ended and had to drive through a village. Five more minutes and i was in the lakefront.

There were a few government quarters for forest guards in the lakefront along with the tourist lodge. A lone forest guard was sitting in the ground and was later joined by the guard cum cook cum everything of the tourist lodge. So i talked to them about the area and their experience.

Got to know from them that wild elephants visit the lake quiet often but there are no tourists except in picnic season.

They also told me about the village on the other side of the lake inhabited by just three family's but having accomodation facilities. And' how to reach them, well in small country boats which the villagers use for fishing as well.

I also got to know that sometimes the water level in the lake goes up so much that the lodge also gets affected. This mostly happens when Meghalaya releases excess water upstream in the Kulsi river during heavy rainfall.

The tourist official invited me to come over some day for an overnight saty and explore the surrounding. He just added that i have to bring the entire food ration, including kerosene and petrol.

Hopefully some day i might plan it in such a way, but for now it was time to head back. So i bid them good bye and drove back comfortably until the group of boys stopped me in their make shift check gate near the huge gate. I passed paying Rs 10 and they also agreed knowing that three more groups were up ahead.
Only one of the three however stopped me and took another ten rupees little while later.

And once i reached the highway in Mirza, it was heavy traffic again till it became almost bumper to bumper from airport area.

I made it to my inlaws place before dark to pick my family up home.

I went to Chandubi once more later on and took an alternate route to the lakefront which was much better.

I will be putting up the second visit snaps next.
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