Monday, February 6, 2012

On the edge of the Unkown

Hey everybody.

So, right now I happen to be in the city of Jorhat in the Eastern part of the Indian state of Assam. Tomorrow I'm taking a ferry out onto the Brahmaputra to visit the world's largest river Island, and one of the great the centers of traditional Assamese culture. It's called Majuli, which I believe in Assamese means something like "Great Neck of Land." From what I understand, it was formed in the 1th century when a great flood cut off the base of what was once a huge peninsula. It's now cut off from the world but for a few ferries that come twice a day. But in 24 hours that's where I'll be.

That being the case, I'm resuscitating my blog. I can't make any predictions as to how much I'll be able to update this thing this time around, but I'll do my best. Some posts will almost certainly be better than others. Also, when I get back I'm going to write a much more ambitious, and much more polished, document for Professor Alan Fox that will deal with religion in Northeast India (but I'm going to post it here, and that's where I'll upload the pictures that I'll take).

So to give a brief outline of what I plan to do over the next two months: After spending a few days on Majuli, I'll head to Kohima (if you've studied World War 2, one of the places that formed the western boundary of the Japanese Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.) That's in the Indian state of Nagaland. From there I'll head south to Mannipur, on the Burmese border, spend some time visiting various religious sites, mostly of Meiti culture, before heading further south, to Mizoram. Mizoram is a total unknown to me, however, I've known a few Mizos (as in, the ethnic group dominant in Mizoram), and I've heard good things about Aizawl, the capitol. From Aizawl, I'll head to the state of Tripura, which is another place that I know very little about, though I have heard that it contains a number of ancient Buddhist sites. From there I'll turn north, maybe breifly stop in Meghalaya, home of the wettest place on Earth and the interesting Khasi tribe, before retuning to Guwahati and decompressing for some time (along with meeting friends and revisiting a few of Assam's most important temples). After that, I'll turn West, to Bagdogra, then North, into Sikkim, with it's Tibetan Buddhist influence, before I head back down to Bagdogra and then fly back to Delhi, and then, home.

I'll say now that, honestly, I'm not sure how much I'm going to accomplish. My last few years in India have taught me that tedium, awkwardness, and missed opportunities, are just a standard part of visiting new places. And for most of the next two months I'll almost exclusively be in new places. But sometimes you simply have to bite the bullet and go to a place, even if you don't quite know what you'll find there.....

So, that's all for now....the shady Jorhat internet cafe that I'm at seems to be closing, I flew all the way in from Delhi today on 4 hours sleep, negotiated the Calcutta airport, I still have a bunch of phone calls to make, I have train tickets to book, and I have to embark on the damn epic journey to Majuli tomorrow morning at seven, so, I'll end this here.....

Patrick "Ratrick" Rogers

P.S.: Please excuse any might as well get used to them, there's going to be more.

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