Crossing Brahmaputra

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2014

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We left Dibrugarh at about 5.30 am for Along for which we needed to cross the Brahmaputra. Drove to a place called Bogibill from where the ferry takes you. As long we were on the main road it was fine but thereafter one drove through villages, graze land where at times there was no road. Took us about an hour to reach. This is a typical boat i.e. used to ferry vehicles and people. I had never crossed a river like this so was quite excited.

My excitement vanished when the boatmen said ''today is Vishwakarma Puja'', boats will ply after 12. After crossing we had to stop at Malinatthan temple ruins, Akashiganga and then drive to Along - all together about 10 hours needed. If we did not leave early morning there was no way would reach Along by evening. U see boatmen tying banana tree to the boat. There were many vehicles and people who too wondered, what next?

After about 30 minutes later a boat came from the other side with passengers. I ran up to him - asked will you ferry us across. Yes Rs 2,000/ per vehicle against a normal rate of Rs 500/ for Govt boats and Rs 1,500/ for private ones. I said yes, convinced two other vehicles to pay more and jumped at this God given chance. 2 planks are placed as you can see - requires precision work for the vehicle to move only on the planks more so whilst reversing out on exit.

With 3 vehicles on board, sat on the boat deck and thanked Ishwar. A view of the Brahmaputra from the deck. U see bridge ka pillars in the water - work is happening but then would miss this wow boat ride.

Besides vehicles lots of passengers were stranded too. For some strange reason our boat did not take the passengers. U see an irate group on the river banks. Wonder when they got a boat that day. Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated in quite a big way in Arunachal. Ditto for Ganesh Chaturthi.

Boatman uses bamboo to push us away from the river banks. Brahmaputra is a very very broad river as you can see. A gentle breeze blew all along the journey - loved it. The one hour boat journey was memorable.

Water was rough in places. My friend and guide wanted his bag so driver Chandan (blue t-shirt) handing it over to him. Once you come to say the north side of the deck there is virtually no way you can cross to the southern side. To see pictures of Ramakrishna Mission School Deomali Click here

After slightly over an hour we saw the river banks and thanked the boat owner for making it happen. My driver Chandan was against over paying but we had to reach Along by 7 pm or the entire schedule would go topsy turvy. To see pics of Mayudia hill station Click here

Actually the Brahmaputra is much longer then where the boat dropped us. The elevated portion that you see in centre of pic seems like land filled up. For nearly a 5-7 minute drive from this river bank we saw water on both sides as we drove to Silapathat in Assam. To see pics of Children of Arunachal Pradesh Click Here

Another boat that was about to leave for the Dibrugarh side. Really enjoyed crossing the river. It helped that did it early morning. Were it noon might have been as hot and humid as it was when we crossed the Brahmaputra from the Roing side (some 2 hours drive from Roing) to reach the Tinsukhia side of the river. To see pics of Tawang War Memorial Click here