The overwhelming beauty of Guwahati.

It was springtime and I could almost see the air molecules reverberating to the beats of the dhol. The festival- Bihu is symbolic of love and I felt it too as we nervously awaited to begin exploring Assam. The first view right from the aeroplane is exhilarating enough, patterns of green hillocks strewn across the land proudly draped in water-bodies like a mekhela chador around an adorable nachoni. It took a loud jolting thump on landing at Guwahati to knock me out of my lucid reverie, thank you Mr Pilot.

The name Assam derives from, among many others, a Sanskrit word to the tune of unparalleled or unequal with reference to its geography. The culture around was synonymous, I mused as I sipped my cup of the famous old malty Assam tea, a culture bred of centuries of assimilation- languages, culinary, social practices and the likes.

The one and only Nad, male river, of India- the mighty Brahmaputra is home to both the biggest and the smallest inhabited islands on the planet, Majuli in Upper Assam and Umananda which is visible from Guwahati city. While the former is home to a very prominent Vaishnavite Satra or monastery, the latter is known as a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The ancient Kamakhya temple, a shrine to the Mother Goddess is well within city limits and it barely took me a couple of hours to pay my respects and the same time marvel at the point where myth, history and the present collide. Situated on top of the hill Nilachal at the bank of Brahmaputra, it offered a great view of the city (I almost missed my girlfriend) and on the other bank the ‘Weaving Village’ of Sualkuchi. This town, as a dear bystander pointed out, is famous for the high-end Muga silk, each house there has at least a couple of handlooms, he claims.

A Jeep safari in the trails of the Kaziranga National Park famous for the unicorn- the one-horned rhinoceros made the trip worth the nail-bitings sitting in front of the screen planning it. Sitting in the verandah of my hotel room as I nibbled on a piece of jaggery and sipped a cup of black tea, I gazed at a herd of elephants crossing the Brahmaputra as disciplined as a marching column of infantrymen, with purpose and love in each step battling the currents.

The cultural mix, to my pleasant discovery, allowed for two things closest to my heart- awesome food and music. Each and every tribe that makes up the demography has made tremendous contributions. The northeast has always been very progressive where music is concerned, Western music ranging from Country, Rock, Metal, and Jazz finds a great place in the heart of the locals as much the traditional ethnic music. Music festivals like the Ziro festival, Hornbill festival, NH7 Weekender, and Brahmaputra Beach festival have folks and performers from all places in the country flocking in. The mix of music and a perfect golden ratio of hills and plains make for a great vacation.

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