After Arunachal Pradesh (Ziro & Aalo), we travelled towards Nagaland. To do this we drove back into Assam, halted at Dibrugarh, crossed the mighty Brahmaputra (so wide, I could've mistaken it for the sea!) before heading towards Mon, our first pit stop in Nagaland.
|Brahmaputra showing us his placid, calm side|
(Trivia: It's the only river in India we mention in the masculine gender)
|Orderly tea gardens as we got closer to Dibrugarh|
We had a few uncertain moments where our driver wanted to cancel out because he felt there was trouble brewing near the Assam - Nagaland border. But, we decided to go ahead and see for ourselves. His fear was unfounded because as we neared the border people seemed to go about their lives normally.
At the border town, Tizit, we stopped for a snack break. The Assam Rifles outpost there runs a small eating joint manned by one man - a soldier, who is the cook - server - manager all rolled into one. The place is open to the general public and they serve tea and snacks like noodles and momos. The cook was friendly and full of good-natured advise on where to go and what to see. While we were there we saw the locals including children on their way back from school dropping in for a bite to eat or for the chai (tea). After the much needed break, we started our journey further into Nagaland towards Mon.
|Little streams flowing down the hillside|
(not a great photo, taken from the moving vehicle)
The roads again are terrible on this side of the border. There was not even the ghost of a tarmac left, if there was ever one in the first place. But enough said. We reached Mon late in the afternoon, after a good 6+ hrs drive (not counting the break at Tizit). Our stay was at Paramount Guesthouse which is one of two recommended places to stay in Mon. Since lunch was over for the day in the guesthouse, we found something to eat at the eating joint next door. Simple fare but good enough or maybe we were so hungry that we couldn't care less. :)
Paramount Guest house is run by a lady, who is simply called Aunty by everyone. Her family runs the other guesthouse in town too. The place was comfortable, clean and neat. The weather had turned colder and we were glad the room was warm. The power had gone out with our arrival in Mon and had not come back until we left. There was no power backup at the guesthouse at the time we were there. I don't think accessing fuel to run generators is very easy or inexpensive. We made do with candle-light, warm clothes and multiple quilts. The food served in the guesthouse was delicious. The lady who cooked and managed the kitchen made absolutely yummy local fare like nettles, pork/ chicken with bamboo shoot etc which are their specialities. After Mon, we didn't get to eat as good a local fare anywhere else in Nagaland.
The guesthouse overlooks the main road into town. As early as 4am in the morning, we heard people stirring, walking to work or to catch the bus/ local transport due to arrive. From our room, we could see the Mon spread out below us. Mon sits at the top of 2-3 hills, spreading over their slopes. When we looked out of the window, we could see only clouds. As the daylight grew and the sun became warmer, the clouds dissolved and the town was revealed, below us.
The whole daylight & time scenario was fascinating.
|View outside the window at 7.00AM|
|View outside the window at 2.00PM|
|Mon town at 5.30PM|