Camping. picnics, water sports and adventures! Winter is always the best time to spend outdoors and be one with nature. And winter in Assam is no different. The cold nip in the air,the fresh and luscious greenery, blue waters and clear skies cannot resist one to move outdoors. Picnics with friends and family are planned at this time: the more adventurous opt for camping out. The topography of this beautiful state, is such that it brings out the seeking and fun spirit in one and all.The picturesque landscape, dotted with magnificent hills and swirling rivers have helped in developing pulse racing adventure and other sports. Be it Aerosports, water sports or land adventure, there is scope for everything. In fact, most of the visitors come to Assam to indulge in adventure sports.However, trekking is the most sought after.
It is this spirit of adventure and love for photography,that drove our friend, Debasish Neog to a little known village “Sonaka”, where it is believed that the sun rises at 9 a.m and sets at 4.00 pm. As he walked through the dusty roads and uneven terrain,he reached a place near the banks of the mighty river, the “Brahmaputra”.Flanked by mountains on three sides and the Brahmaputra on the fourth,is the calm and serene village of Sonoka. This tiny village, at the foothills of the Hilloikhunda hills, is near Mayong, a mystical town known for magic and wizardry. Adding to his excitement, were the presence of migratory birds that flock to this place at this time of the year.A perfect place for photography! On interacting with the villagers, he realized the potential for developing rural tourism and employment to the locals. . Thus, was born the Sonaka Nature camp, around 45 kilometres from Guwahati,the city which is the gateway to the North East.
A typical day at the camp starts early. So, for the late risers, you have a task at hand.A typical Assamese breakfast comprising Doi(Curd)with Cheera(flattened rice)/ Kumol Chaawal/ Muri/ Akhoi(all variants of rice products), Indian bread and curry, tea/coffee.. and then you are ready for the day! Debasish and his team have lined up a number of activities that would keep you on your toes.You, do have time to have your meals, all served in the traditional way.After all the activities are over, and, if you have a musical bend of mind, then nothing like strumming a guitar and singing along with friends and family while you cruise along the river during the day or by the camp fire at night.
Activities in the camp include:
1. Hiking through the village
2. Trekking to ancient caves and temples.
3. Sporting activities
5. Camp fire.
To feel the cool air and experience the beatific night sky, you have cozy tents to sleep in. For the less adventurous,accommodation is provided in the village homestays.Rural way of life,traditional cuisine,glimpse of the rich Assamese Culture...It is ethnicity at its best!
So, for all the young at heart, head out of Guwahati city , drive through the beautiful landscape of Assam, enjoy the myriad of colours that nature has to offer and then spend a few days at this wonderful resort. Enjoy Assamese hospitality and adventure that Debasish and his team warmly offers. You will love it as much as I did!
( Image Courtesy: Debasish Neog and Sonaka Nature Camp).
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