01 December 2011

Northeast India Trip - Garo Hills

Charleston Daily Photo will be on field trip status for a little longer as I share some of the photos from my trip to India. My brother Jim lives there still and was our escort and travel guide. What a relief! He drove the insane road system in his rugged Mahindra jeep and coordinated hotels and meals which made it so much easier than it could have been. The north east is not exactly on the regular tourist route.

My daughter and I flew to Delhi (14 hour flight), and then on to Gawahati. Jim, Val and my three adorable nephews met us and rushed us directly to the Garo Hills to the Wangala Hundred Drum Festival.

We left the plains heading into the lush hills and I was delighted to learn I had landed in India during orange season. The best oranges in the world grow here. I was determined to eat one every day and I did, except for breaks to enjoy local pineapples, kiwi, bananas and coconuts. Jim had friends who had coordinated guest rooms for us over a baby care nursery and there was an immersion heater in a large bucket of water waiting for well needed warm baths.

The next morning we explored the local market, drove, parked the jeep and joined a mass of people walking to the drum festival. Tribes in colorful costumes competed with each other in drumming and dance ending up with all of them on the field together making an awesome thunderous noise. I walked the field with my camera and soon discovered that each group had it's own container of rice wine and were eager to fill the communal gourd in exchange for a look at their picture in the back of my camera.I got slightly tipsy and had my fix of colorful costumes with willing models all in one fell swoop.

I traveled with two great assets - a beautiful daughter and cute nephews. Everywhere we went people wanted to be in pictures with them. Here was my daughter's photo fan club in Tura.

The next day we went on a walk looking for Gibbon monkeys. We didn't find any although we tried to with our best Gibbon noises. We did however encounter another form of wildlife - leeches! One sucker made it all the way up my pants to the skin above my knee and made me want to get back to my room for a full body check. The Garo village was clean and charming. They typically build lookout cottages high in the trees and made mini structures on stilts to protect their grain in the same way.

Slept like a baby last night. Woke up once disoriented and couldn't figure out where I was. I grinned in my bed with the awareness that I was back in the land of porcelain flush toilets. I hope everyone has been well and had a good Thanksgiving while I was away. Thanks for all the kind messages! I've been out of touch - no computer, no newspapers and only Hindi television. It was a real escape. I'll follow up with the rest of the trip in sections  but right now I need to walk down and sniff my ocean.

More photos from this section can be found in this album: Garo Hills.


Rick said...

Too bad we are not able to place audio along with the pictures. I'd love to hear your Gibbon impression.

Colville Clan said...

I'm loving getting to experience this awesome trip through your eyes. Thanks for sharing!

Suzie said...

Thank you for taking me to India! A people that I adore! I can't wait for our next outing!

Catalyst said...

Beautiful people.

Roger said...

So Coooool Joan!!

Samuel Bebee said...

What a great trip - and welcome home!

Holy City Sinner said...

Looks amazing!

Charlestonjoan said...

Rick - Anytime! :)

Colville Clan - You are welcome. I made notes everyday.

Suzie - I did a lot! I thought this made most sense, to divide it into features.

Bruce - I love the tribal faces.

Roger - It was indeed!

James Jacks - Thank you.

Holy City Sinner - It was amazing.

Chattahoochee Valley Daily said...

Welcome back. Wonderful photos.

Pixel Peeper said...

Those cottages in the trees look very intriguing!

I'm guessing the adorable little boy with the Clemson hat (in the pictures on your Smugmug site) is your nephew? Indeed, a cutie pie. And what an image - a Clemson hat in India. :-)

Kate said...

I've been to India but never to a place where you have been. Festival pictures are great portraits!

Charlestonjoan said...

bfarr - thank you! Nice to be home. I love my bed.

Pixel - Ha! I took him the Clemson hat. I was looking for Carolina USC hats for the other boys but ended up talking regular SC ones. Isn't he too cute for words?

Kate - This is a special part of the world. The roads are NOT entirely ready for prime time tourism though. My butt was numb for half of the trip.

Unknown said...

We advise you not to wander on your own if you do not know the local language. you can ask for the regulation of interpreters and guides who speak your language to your tour operator. It is possible to prearrange the price for journeys, which makes it ideal for business trips when travelling by prepare is normally far more expensive.

Rachel said...

Wow! I cannot get over how lush and green everything is. It looks like paradise! Those huts on stilts are beautiful. That place is so picturesque and your shots look like they belong in National Geographic. - I absolutely LOVE every shot that you got at the drum festival! What a treat to get to be a part of that! The colors, the beautiful faces, the expressions. Gold. - And your daughter is beautiful and your nephews are adorable. I love the photo of the people taking photos. So cute! - The thing about the leech. That is pretty gross, but you can get ticks walking around in our woods. I guess there are disgusting blood suckers in every region. I'm more freaked out about the things that lay eggs inside you. I hope you didn't encounter any of THAT!

Judy said...

It must have been an amazing trip. And these pictures are wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing some of them with us.

brattcat said...

i'm so glad you've brought these souvenirs home to share with us. as for the leech, remember when it was one of the doctor's go to tools when a patient needed "bleeding"?

Marcheline said...

Great pics - what beautiful people!

Leeches? Yeah, kind of like ticks... makes your skin crawl. Bleeech!

I would really give a lot for a video of you walking around the jungle making gibbon noises... heh! 8-)