|An Early morning View|
134 kms away to the west of Guwahati in Assam, lies the sleepy town of Goalpara., literally translated into 'milkmen's village'. Another town on the banks of the river Brahmaputra. As one enters it from the National Highway, flanked by the paddy fields and teak forests, it emanates an old world charm although the number of vehicles on the road belies this. Personally I prefer to approach this place from Mornoi as the undulating land is covered with thick growth and one needs to cross a picturesque stream .
|A King fisher, Water Lilies And A Pond|
The culture here has more of neighbouring Bengal's influence. It is evident in their dialect, food habits or the folk songs. The food is more spiced up as compared to their Upper Assam counterparts. Freshly ground cumin paste and mustard paste find their way into the dishes more often. And every Goalporiya worth his salt is a gourmet especially when it comes to fish. You will often find them in animated discussions about the best way to prepare a particular type of fish, of which the Brahmaputra gives them in abundance.
The earthy Goalporiya Lokogeet ( folk song) with foot tapping rhythm and absorbing melody mostly speaks of love, longing and separations. Frequent allusions to elephants and mahouts ( elephant trainer) suggests that this area once abounded with pachyderms, raised and reared for various activities, mostly lumbering.
"Are gaile ki ashibe, mur mahout bondhu re!..."
" Bachcha haathi pushilom ami, dudho bhato diya..."
A lesser known archaeological site is located at Sri Surya Pahaar, 12 kms away from Goalpara, that is believed to have 99,999 carvings of Shiva by Saint Vyas in his bid to make a second Kashi that has 100000 of them. Apart from an annual fair that takes place here it is frequented more as a picnic spot during the winters. Sri Surya Pahaar is also witness to evidence of three religions Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It is a wonderful place to climb and potter around these relics shrouded in dense growth.
Then there is the Paglatek Shiv temple, 7 kms away, bang on the river Brahmaputra. As one climbs down to reach this shrine situated on a rocky surface, the sound of the river gushing by and the sight of it fills one with a quietude. I've always found this place soothing not in the religious context but for it's location.
Has any place ever enticed you with it's quiet charm?