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Old 30th August 2010, 00:41   #91
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And building statues for live politicians!
Anyway let your wonderful log not degenerate in to a rant against pathetic socio-political condition of our wonderful country.
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Old 30th August 2010, 09:16   #92
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Default Bhutan 2: Journey to Samdrup Jonghar

There are three official entry and exit points in Bhutan starting from Phultshling the western in West Bengal, Gelephu the central and Samdrup Jonghar the easternmost in Assam.

These regions were called dooars historically and presently lifeline of the landlocked Himalayan country.

During my first visit i went toNamlang which is a border town yet to have proper link with the trans Bhutan highway. Once the road is done beyond Indian border to the Bhutan highway, Namlang preferebly should be opened up for entry exit as well.

My recent trip was to Samdrup Jonghar town which is just across the border from India.

The road to the town is under upgradation into a two lane from Rangiya town in Assam which is about a 50km distance. Once compleated it would be most benificial to Bhutan as all the country's cargos of every kind ply on this road.

Eastern Bhutan would have been a different picture altogether today if not for this vital road link through Assam. Even the people of this region takes this Rangiya road to visit the countrys capital or anyplace west rather than taking the inhospitable and time consuming mountain road.

I had started off from Guwahati wishing to visit a town 18kms from the border, but was denied entry.

Bhutan is a beautiful country lying so close to us to explore, its a pity that we Indians face restrictions to visit places there while the Bhutanese use our roads freely.

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 30th August 2010 at 09:21.
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Old 30th August 2010, 10:00   #93
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One thing to be kept in mind is that when you get the permit at Phuntsoling to enter Bhutan, by default, you have to exit by the same point. To get to East Bhutan, you need another permit to be taken at Thimphu. You have to clearly specifiy your exit point, and I found that the permit came with the restriction that I can exit "only" through the stipulated exit point, in my case Samdrup Jhonkar. Therefore, one has to take care that if you are driving from Thimphu to Trashiganag (East), one should request for Samdrup Jhonkar as the exit point else you will have to drive back all the way to Thimphu and exit only via Phuntsoling!

The Bhutanese use Indian highways to get from East to West, but that is primarily because lot of their business is in the town of Phuntsoling. Someone in Trashigang would find it quite difficult to get to P'Soling via the Bhutanese East-West highway because it will mean they have to go all the way west to Thimphu, then turn south to Phuntsoling which adds to the distance.

The East-West Highway (or SL2 as the highway is called) is a superb road which beats all the mountain roads that I have seen in India - excellent road surface and not a single point which you can term to be unsafe.

Bhutanese prefer the roads via India (though they are terrible) because they also use the occasion to go shopping in Guwahati or Siliguri, both cities being the most popular.
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Old 30th August 2010, 11:23   #94
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Many Strange things happen in our country. Last Year, J&K Gov’t allowed Fruit trade to POK (when highway was closed because of issues in Jammu) and I am not sure if the Kashmiri businessmen got the money. The people in POK definitely savored the delicious fruits form valley.
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Old 30th August 2010, 17:49   #95
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@ HvK That's a very important point you mentioned about exit policy.

And hill people using the plains road to get to diffrent parts of their country/state is a common feature in Assam plains.

While one such hill state Meghalaya allow people from Assam to visit anyplace in their state without restrictions, to visit Arunachal, Mizoram and Nagaland the Assamese need to make Inner Line Permit permit and face harresment many a times.

Just three days back truckkers from Assam and other parts of the country plying on Arunachal roads to supply essential commodities blocked the highway in Lakhimpur district to protest atrocities commited on them by Arunachalis.

They alleged that Arunachalis block roads for no reason and demand money from the trucckers during every trip and beat them up and don't let them pass unless they pay up. One would hear the same story those driving to and from Nagaland from the Assam plains.

Historically all the hill people except the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos living along Assam plains would raid Assamese villages during post harvest months and loot foodstuff. The Ahoms brought things under control during their rule till 1826 by attacking the looters in their own land and finally estabishing border trade post or hats or duars for formal exchange of goods between hiil and plains people.

But during the British rule and specially post British days, the hill tribes took advantage of a weak Assam and started their old habit which continues to this day in one form or other.

The hill people are known more for their yearly raids and robbery in Assam history than anything else. During the Ahom rule Assam had no thievs the only robbers the kingdom had were the raiders from the Bhutan, Arunachal and Naga hills.

At present the robbery has taken a new dimension, they are grabbing Assam's land. So there are still homes burning in Assam Arunachal border areas as the hill people raid Assam villages every night and burn house and property of the local Assamese.

And Assam is even more slow than New Delhi to take action so Assamese have to flee their homes as Arunachalis and Nagas grab new areas of Assam.

The best example of post Ahom land grabbing by hill people is that of Dimapur, which originally was the Dimasa capital and part of Assam but today the most important trading post of Nagaland.
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Old 30th August 2010, 18:03   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanjaykaul View Post
Many Strange things happen in our country. Last Year, J&K Gov’t allowed Fruit trade to POK (when highway was closed because of issues in Jammu) and I am not sure if the Kashmiri businessmen got the money. The people in POK definitely savored the delicious fruits form valley.
What the Kashmiris want i don't know but they surely live in a beautiful place and we need to visit it some day. My target is Gulmarg both with & without snow.
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Old 30th August 2010, 18:08   #97
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So here i cross the soon to be 'old' Saraighat bridge on way to the land of the Bhutia raiders.

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san862.jpg
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Old 30th August 2010, 18:18   #98
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First crossing Baihata Chariali. Turn left to Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Siliguri or turn right to Tezpur, Upper Assam, Arunachal.

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san1025.jpg

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san1024.jpg
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Old 30th August 2010, 18:28   #99
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Rangiya: From here you need to turn right towards Kumarikata, Tamulpur and Darranga to reach Samdrup Jonghar & see the Bhutia jungles and some Bhutia specimen as well in ancient clothing.

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Old 30th August 2010, 18:37   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
What the Kashmiris want i don't know
Even I don't. I though the place had everything right from the most beautiful place to great people to great culture and heritage to wonderful tourist industry and much more things but ….. anyways….

Quote:
Originally Posted by San Phrangmung View Post
we need to visit it some day. My target is Gulmarg both with & without snow.
You must visit. Plan for few days and you can go to other places as well. Gulmarg sure is like heaven on earth and is no less beautiful than any of the famous European spots.
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Old 30th August 2010, 18:48   #101
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On the road between Rangiya and Tamulpur. Road condition not good for the car's health and bikers back.

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san869.jpg

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Old 30th August 2010, 18:57   #102
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Ok so we are in Tamul-pur now (Tamul means betel-nut).

Its in Baksa district under Bodoland Territorial Council of a future Bodo state presumebly carved out of Assam. AK 47's are still there some under surrendered deposit room some with non surrender boys in the open outdoors. So just be careful.

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san873.jpg

Last edited by San Phrangmung : 30th August 2010 at 19:02.
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Old 30th August 2010, 19:21   #103
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My only companion throughout the road, BIG truck.

Guwahati getaways: Bhutan-san874.jpg
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Old 30th August 2010, 20:02   #104
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You are lucky you went through Rangiya and Tamulpur early morning. I had to wade through people, cows, miscellaneous vehicles, etc.

Happy to see that the Bodo militancy is reduced now. Last April, I saw army jawans all over the place from Tamulpur to Darranga, patrolling, searching houses and people, etc. I guess the Bodo Territorial Council had just been set up at that time.
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Old 30th August 2010, 20:07   #105
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Default Bodo - Assamese divide & Tamulpur pictorial

Tamulpur is a big place, it takes quiet a long time to cross it with shops & schools & govt office all along the state higway. Drive slow.

Its Bodoland but few Assamese families still hang on with an uncertain future. Uncertain because Assamese are targets of extortion, kidnapping and killing in the hands of Bodo militants in Bodo/BTC areas.

Yesterday two Assamese (Ahom tribe) train drivers were kidnapped at gunpoint by Bodo militants from a moving goods train near Rangapara in Sonitpur district. Interestigly all non Assamese staff from other parts of India were let go.

The Bodo's hate the Assamese as proven by the biggest bloodbath in Assam on 30 Oct 2008 carried out by Bodo militants. Another point to prove is that Bodos have adopted Hindi instead of Assamese as their script. After the creation of Bodoland Territorial Council the divide is compleate.

Assam is shrinking once more.

Minus the gun, as a tribe, the Bodos however are a colourful people, they are Bhutias basically who came down from Bhutan jungles long back & setteled in fertile Assam plains.

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Last edited by San Phrangmung : 30th August 2010 at 20:17.
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