Go Back   Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 17th March 2014, 17:08   #256
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 84
Thanked: 157 Times
Default The Naga Circuit

Hello Team Bhp,
Greetings from the road.

On a journey, where movement is a constant and when you let the flow direct you, many things happen. It is like catching a wave and riding along it…. You desire to stay on the wave, and then you suddenly see another wave, which catches your attention, and that wave takes you to a shore unthought-of ... A good things about going with the flow is that your are never disappointed, coz you don’t really know what destination you will arrive.

The Road My Home Forever...-cover.jpg

Lighting up a village in Eastern Arunachal opened up newer paths for me, paths where it would have been difficult to reach without a pretext of purpose. Now In my 4th year, the journey continues however, I have lagged behind for 2 years in updating this blog, hence let me back track to November of 2011… this is the time when in Kaziranga we had just heard that there were 2 incidents of tigers killing villagers around the area.

In the midst of a lot of stories of how the forest department was responsible for the deaths, i headed with Mukul a friend from Bangalore who wanted to share a bit of my wanderlust. We headed to Miao, where I wanted to re-connect with some of the Lisu families and to organise our trip for Christmas… During the first visit we were invited for Christmas and we were to carry with us some integrated solar bulbs that we could distribute for Christmas.

Kaziranga-Moran-Dibrugarh-Makum-Ledo-Jagun-Kharsang-Miao.

380 kms later, at Miao we pitched our tents by the noa-dihing river and made that our hamlet for the next few days, occasionally joined by some local tribes men who would come to catch small fish by the river, it was a new skill to learn and both Mukul and I jumped in.
Name:  miao camp.jpg
Views: 3949
Size:  83.7 KBName:  catchin fish.jpg
Views: 3938
Size:  44.8 KB
Shortly after that we headed for a trek into Namdhapha wild life sanctuary to check some campsite and spot some hornbills. Namdapha rich with its flora and fauna did not disappoint. Felt like a birding trip looking at the canopy of the forest listening to the flapping sounds of the magnificent Hornbill, almost forgetting that there were some creatures rather dangerous like the king cobra on the forest floor.

Name:  deban camp.jpg
Views: 3961
Size:  56.5 KB Name:  food in deban.jpg
Views: 4689
Size:  60.5 KB

Christmas was still to come, and I was still awaiting the shipment for the Lisu people. Hence I decided to go and see another state and it made perfect sense as Nagaland was hosting its 10th Hornbill festival.

Name:  daphabum peak.jpg
Views: 4024
Size:  25.4 KBName:  miao skys.jpg
Views: 3918
Size:  18.6 KB

My wheels took me from Namdapha (Deban) through an inside route to Wakro (around glow lake) to Namsai and into Assam. The wheels continued into upper Assam, to Golaghat – Dimapur and finally Kohima.

Nagaland greeted us with a pretty but intimidating site: - young female cops in smart uniforms with sunglasses and an assault rifle in hand, and they meant serious business. Not to take away from the male cops, all fit and strong as if they were just out of an action movie scene. Definitely the place and the people did not look, as they were part of India.

Name:  hornbill fest1.jpg
Views: 4068
Size:  81.3 KBName:  Hornbill fest2.jpg
Views: 3872
Size:  55.9 KBName:  hornbill fest3.jpg
Views: 4105
Size:  70.0 KB

The hornbill festival was colourful and the state had created a platform for the locals and the outsiders to get a glimpse of the Naga traditions, folklore and cuisine. However this did not seem to catch my fancy, for the way it was going for me I had to see these traditions in its native villages to truly understand and experience the culture of Nagaland.

Name:  hornbill fest4.jpg
Views: 3906
Size:  38.0 KBName:  hornbill fest5.jpg
Views: 3839
Size:  36.6 KB

Hence I arranged with a local friend to go a remote village in eastern Nagaland, The village I was going to go was called ‘Panso’ a small isolated settlement in Tuensang district home to the Khiamniungan tribe.

To begin with I did not know how much of a distance I was travelling as no one could give me the distance in kilometers to the village I was supposed to go. They just drew me a map with the stops on the way and told me where to stop for the night.

As one goes further from the capital the road starts to fall apart, automatically the average reduces to 40 kms an hour but there are patches between to try make up for the time lost. Language also starts to become a barrier, in towns you can get away with English but as you go towards the villages, you will hear the local naga dialects along with Nagamese (sounds more like a mixture of Hindi and Assamese). Hence your communication restricts to a few familiar words and sign language.

Name:  panso4.jpg
Views: 4109
Size:  84.8 KB


Kiphire is where I had to reach to be able to find any stay for the night, by the time I reached there I had ridden 160 km climbing several hills and villages belonging to various tribes including pFutsaro the highest located town in Nagaland and even a small stretch in Jessami (Manipur).
As much as I dislike it, I had no choice but to keep riding in the dark, and the days are shorter in winter here. However, this night was special. It was the eve of 11.12.11 not that I have any particular belief in the number, but because of the lunar eclipse that was happening in the corner of my eyes while I was riding. It was a show to remember over the outline of the Naga hills in the dark with clear skies, twinkling stars and the moon hidden behind the shadow of the earth making it more earthy for a little while, you are constantly on the move trying to catch a glimpse of the eclipse while still focusing on the road. That night I stayed at a hostel in Khipire with another 80kms to reach Panso.
On the road to Panso you get the feeling of isolation, no traffic and no people can be found, after a while a weird sense of eeriness sets in like you are lost in the middle of nowhere, all you have is winding roads and endless hills and a hope that the road will lead you to somewhere.

Name:  pftusero.jpg
Views: 3795
Size:  65.5 KB Name:  traditinal dinner plate.jpg
Views: 3765
Size:  16.2 KB

The last 20 kms is off the main road on a track that has been cut out from the fields alongside the hills. Like most villages Panso is perched on top of the hill and belongs to the Khiamunigan tribe. The village has about 500 households and 4 to 5 churches where people can go for worship. Though the village has been provided with school and electricity it still is very backward in economy, there is absolutely no source of Income; most of the farm produce is consumed within the household. Bee culture is however picking up and the villagers see a potential income in this venture. The road condition is so bad that the vehicles that ply on that route charge Rs 200/- per person to take them to town which is just 40kms away, where any kind of trade can be done.

Name:  Panso.jpg
Views: 3751
Size:  30.3 KBName:  panso2.jpg
Views: 3763
Size:  51.3 KBName:  panso3.jpg
Views: 3749
Size:  37.4 KBName:  bee mask.jpg
Views: 3741
Size:  33.1 KBName:  lockup.jpg
Views: 3699
Size:  24.0 KBName:  Bee hive.jpg
Views: 3732
Size:  38.7 KB

The entire tribe is Christian due to some efforts by English missionaries some 200 yrs ago, no alcohol is served in the village, to maintain law and order there are village guards who act like cops and they also have a lock up for anti social elements. After embracing Christianity these aggressive and once a warrior tribes seem to have sobered down giving up the practice of head hunting which the nagas tribes were known for, other traditions of the Naga’s have almost died out. Hence the Hornbill festival is an desperate effort to revive the naga culture and tradition. I have also been told that all the loctrums were burnt down by the newly acquired conservative religion only to later realize by the elders that they were losing a part of their own identity. Only in the last 5yrs there have been efforts to re-install them to honor the traditional culture of the tribes.

Name:  Morung.jpg
Views: 3742
Size:  27.1 KBName:  K. tribe fireplc.jpg
Views: 4232
Size:  38.6 KBName:  Weaver.jpg
Views: 3703
Size:  34.7 KBName:  Nagakid.jpg
Views: 3736
Size:  43.5 KB

Loctrums are huge tree stalk made hollow in the center, which acts like drums used, in the olden days to pass messages or warn about any intrusion by the enemies.

In Panso I was invited to live with a village pastor who showed me around the village and made my stay very comfortable. Though he did not speak any language that I knew we managed to communicate with just a few words of English that he was aware of.

Winters in Nagaland is very Christmasy, you feel the Christmas spirit with the fairy lights twinkling all over the hills at night, with carols ringing inside your ears in the morning. Christmas was approaching fast and I had to move again to participate in the festival with the Lisu tribe.

Name:  onroutepanso1.jpg
Views: 4864
Size:  89.0 KBName:  379885_10150442753503196_965798141_n.jpg
Views: 4018
Size:  12.2 KB

I made my exit from Nagaland thru Tuensang and Mokokchung witnessing what seemed like 3 sunsets in a day while coming down the beautiful Naga hills. In the end I had completed a circuit of 800km inside Nagaland and I believe this is just the beginning of my journey within the Naga hills.

PS: I did not see any stray dogs in Nagaland.
Roadinc is offline   (22) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 20th March 2014, 09:23   #257
BHPian
 
Funda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 153
Thanked: 20 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Hey Merwyn - glad to read from you after so many days. I keep checking your post regularly hoping you would have posted something I missed. I dont want to repeat my words again but I cant stop myself either. Amazing pictures and report. I envy you for the determination you have.

Keep up and God Bless You.
Funda is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd March 2014, 17:55   #258
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 84
Thanked: 157 Times
Default Returning for Christmas:- Gandhigram

Its 10 days to Christmas and I am still waiting for my shipment of Solar bulbs to come from Bangalore.

The Road My Home Forever...-sunraystrutrees.jpg

Last year we had walked for 6 days to reach Gandhigram, this year there has been some progress on the road that was to be built for the Governors visit. Apparently the road was being re-cut and had reached up to 61 miles of the 96-mile stretch. Only 4X4’s cud make it at this point of time.

The Road My Home Forever...-trek.jpg

The parcel arrived with one box missing; it’s still a mystery whether it fell off from the bus or it was stolen on the way after Tinsukia where my friends had loaded the boxes. At Jugun they quickly filed an FIR and headed to Miao where I was waiting to make my second trip to Gandhigram. The team, hired one Mahindra camper and we hoped that it would take us as far as possible to reduce the foot march. After a 5 hr bumpy ride filled with bumps, bruises and slush we reached 62 miles. From this point our destination was 2 days away on foot.


The Road My Home Forever...-trek2.jpg

Christmas in Gandhigram:

The Road My Home Forever...-addu2.jpg

We reached Gandhigram a day before Christmas. The celebrations had already begun, the venue was just outside the village with neatly arranged tents made out of bamboo and wild grass, in the center there was a huge bamboo structure which was a temporary church where the entire village and the guests can assemble for worship.

The Road My Home Forever...-xmeasvenue1.jpg


The vision was of a buzzing township with the entire village helping out in various activities. Everything was organized perfectly, the kitchen, the cultural program, the accommodation arrangement and the games arena. Approximately 4000 people were staying at the venue that included the entire Gandhigram village (only one member of the house was allowed to stay back at home to feed the domesticated animals and guard the house) and guests who had come from Miao, Vijaynagar, Nwazakha, Hajalo and other neighboring villages. There were guests who had come from Burma and Thailand. We were the only non-oriental looking people present at the venue.

The Road My Home Forever...-tents.jpg

Approximately 300 tents were built in rows, the first row were for the guest who had come from outside of Gandhigram, giving preferences to families who had come from very far on foot. The later rows where for the local villagers.

The elders of the village lived in a separate section made specially for them, most of them would not their exact age, however every one in this section were above the age of 70 and there was one elder who was believed to be around 120yrs old….

The Road My Home Forever...-lisueldersfinal.jpg

You can’t verify these details as there has been no records of their birth, and these are the elders who their lifetime witnessed the migration of this tribe (some believe which could be about 90yrs ago)

The Road My Home Forever...-feast.jpg


The entire village comes together to contribe and organize this event, every house hold in Gandhigram gave 10 tin’s of rice, a pig and a chicken, Livestock’s were reared 3 yrs. in advance in preparations for the big Christmas.

The Road My Home Forever...-onroute2.jpg

Approximately 300 pigs, 18 buffaloes and about 600 Chickens were cut to feed about 4000 people, 3 times a day for 4 days. All the food is free, no one is allowed to buy or sell anything at the venue. This would be my first Christmas where no alcohol was served or encouraged; the energies were so high that one does not need any substance to celebrate the festivities, just the sprit of Christmas and happiness everywhere.

The Road My Home Forever...-game1.jpg
The Road My Home Forever...-game2.jpg

The venue was surprisingly clean for so much activity and people. Lisu’s as a tribe are very particular about hygiene, an attribute that was brought in by the missionaries even before they moved and settled in the farmlands of Gandhigram and Vijaynagar.

In the evening firewood was provided to keep warm while the cultural program was being held. Since the entire community is here, everyone is quite enthusiastic about performing on the stage to show their skills of singing and dancing, Even we sang a version of ‘Silent night’ in the Lisu language which we had learnt in the jungle during our 2 day trek from our lisu friend and guide who came along with us from Miao. Surely the crowd was thrilled and surprised when we sang in the local language, so happy they were that random people gave us gifts in form of live chicken and ducks.
The skies in the evening give you show that leaves you awe with its display of colors during dusk

The Road My Home Forever...-skylight.jpg

The lisu’s women dressed in their traditional long flowing blue dress and the men with blue long sleeve smart shirt looked like a scene for an old Chinese kung Fu movie..

The Road My Home Forever...-kids3.jpgThe Road My Home Forever...-children-games.jpg

This was the biggest Christmas celebration I had ever witnessed, such a get together happens once every 3 to 4 yrs., the Lisu’s wait for such a time as this brings all the relatives and friends under one roof.

The last time when we were here, it was already Christmas season, but we missed the celebration, as we have to reach back to save the Christmas for our guide, this year it felt special and honoured to be a part of such a celebration as we realized very few people get to experience a celebration of this stature and remoteness.
Roadinc is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 22nd March 2014, 18:15   #259
Distinguished - BHPian
 
saket77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ranchi
Posts: 3,189
Thanked: 4,217 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Glad to read you again Merwyn.
Keep up the great work you have been doing with great determination.

Regards,
Saket
saket77 is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th June 2014, 17:02   #260
//M
Distinguished - BHPian
 
//M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 4,186
Thanked: 8,565 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Dear Merwyn,

I just finished reading your travelogue at one go and I was just shell shocked. I only have words of praise and immense respect for you brother. The way you kicked off the Project Batti in remote villages is such an inspiration. You have brought happiness in the life of the people, and that's what counts.

May God help you in all your future endeavors and please let us know more about your travelogue through regular updates. Being a biker and a traveler myself, I really wish to meet you someday, somewhere on the road. Till then, helmets off to you Sir !!!

Regards,
Arunabh
(Hooked on to this thread, forever)
//M is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 19th June 2014, 18:33   #261
BHPian
 
Gentle Giant's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 76
Thanked: 28 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Hi Merwyn,

To begin with, congratulations to you on living your dream in actual flesh and blood. Its very rare to come across an individual in this day and time, who is living such a fulfilling life. To add to it, you and your friends and supporters undertaking a social cause for such a remote location is also highly commendable. The people's lives you're enriching in your own way, I am certain you will be remembered and thanked by them for the rest of their lives.

From the depths of my heart, I once again congratulate you and wish you many more journey's in years to come. Go well and God bless!

Btw, I have read this entire TL in a single sitting today and I am astonished with what your doing.Lots of luck to you.
Gentle Giant is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd August 2014, 02:21   #262
BHPian
 
s_pphilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Anjuna, Goa
Posts: 329
Thanked: 230 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Salute to you, mesmerized and hooked to this thread, you are one of a kind my friend, a genuine wanderer/explorer, when hundreds of us can't get beyond our comfort zones and planned vacations, good for us you continue lurking on T-BHP, nothing short of inspirational. Keep it flowing.
s_pphilip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th August 2014, 22:55   #263
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 365
Thanked: 1,293 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Stumbled across this thread from the "N.E.W.S. Nepal & East to West in a Safari" travelogue headlined on the main page and gone through all pages at one go.

Merwyn, Applause...Your commitment even after all these years is priceless.

I recently undertook a 5 day no frills trip with just 500/- in pocket, out of which around 400/- went to GENERAL train tickets. It was a different kind of experience. I'm thinking of doing one such trip every year. Taking a cue from your experience, I will start working locally wherever I go to earn my bread for those days.

Thanks for being an inspiration and keep posting whenever you can.
mrbaddy is online now   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2014, 13:41   #264
Distinguished - BHPian
 
saket77's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Ranchi
Posts: 3,189
Thanked: 4,217 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbaddy View Post
I recently undertook a 5 day no frills trip with just 500/- in pocket, out of which around 400/- went to GENERAL train tickets. It was a different kind of experience.
I would be glad to read your own travelogue on this travel. It's a great idea in general but only for single folks.

A 'no-frills' trip and wives are two extreme opposite things which probably cannot be mentioned in a single line...except this one

Seriously, do craft a travelogue of your travel.

Regards,
Saket
saket77 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2014, 14:07   #265
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 365
Thanked: 1,293 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
I would be glad to read your own travelogue on this travel. It's a great idea in general but only for single folks.

A 'no-frills' trip and wives are two extreme opposite things which probably cannot be mentioned in a single line...except this one

Seriously, do craft a travelogue of your travel.

Regards,
Saket
Thanks Saket. In fact I traveled alone. About the trip, I did not carry any electronics (not even watch/mobile), so I won't have any pictures to share which is why I did not start a travelogue.

But I will try putting together some memories of it in a separate thread.
mrbaddy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 30th August 2014, 16:33   #266
BHPian
 
Vitalstatistiks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Bombay-->Delhi
Posts: 180
Thanked: 251 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

At times, I laugh at flies. They take birth, spend their entire life (30 days) and die within an area of 100 meters (or some such). Then I read travelogues like this. And realize I am just like a fly.
Vitalstatistiks is offline   (6) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th October 2014, 12:25   #267
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 84
Thanked: 157 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbaddy View Post
Thanks Saket. In fact I traveled alone. About the trip, I did not carry any electronics (not even watch/mobile), so I won't have any pictures to share which is why I did not start a travelogue.

But I will try putting together some memories of it in a separate thread.
Mr Baddy... its takes courage to travel with just a few 100 bucks in todays time.... Salute to you my friend...
one thing i have learnt from the road is that once you believe in the road and the flow, it usually opens up many paths and avenues through which you can carry on your wanderlust....

pls pen down ur experiences.. u never know who u will inspire and be inspired in return....

Cheers
Merwyn
Roadinc is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th February 2015, 09:30   #268
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Toronto,Canada
Posts: 179
Thanked: 158 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Mr.Roadinc where are you these days? I have been glued to your travelogue and needless to say, I'm spellbound!
gabrielthomas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th February 2015, 15:30   #269
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 84
Thanked: 157 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielthomas View Post
Mr.Roadinc where are you these days? I have been glued to your travelogue and needless to say, I'm spellbound!
Hey Gabriel, i am in Jorhat, Assam gearing up for another round of batti installations.

I will come with an update soon.

Sorry to keep u'll waiting

Cheers
Keep moving.
Roadinc is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2015, 18:55   #270
BHPian
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 34
Thanked: 15 Times
Default Re: The Road My Home Forever...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadinc View Post
Hey Gabriel, i am in Jorhat, Assam gearing up for another round of batti installations.

I will come with an update soon.

Sorry to keep u'll waiting

Cheers
Keep moving.
Salute and very big wow from your latest fan, to your long list of admirers. I happened to come across your thread very late and sat glued to the computer, till completely going through it. Thanks for your wonderful snaps. Awaiting your latest post. Wishing you all the very best and miles and miles of safe driving.
TOINGPOING is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Road My Home Forever... Roadinc Introduce yourself 5 19th August 2010 20:03
Alto 1.1 Vxi - WIP Forever - 52,500km arpandiv Long-Term Ownership Reviews 27 4th August 2009 10:59
Running Forever High Torque Technical Stuff 11 8th March 2009 06:10


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 14:08.

Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks