Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hello from Meghalaya and Assam Instalment II

Day 2 (28th Oct 16)

The visit of this day started from a visit to Madan Kamdev temple (ruins). An ancient temple dedicated to Kamdev (god of love) which got detected in a forest may be a century ago and excavation of the temple happened only in 1982. 
Way to Madan Kamdev Temple

While the tourist literature gives an impression that we would see a grand temple, replica of Khajuraho, etc. When you reach there you realise that it is not so. So what is there? 

There is only the base of the temple and Madan Kamdev Murti (supposedly an idol of Parvati and Shiva (as Uma Maheshwar) holding each other in embrace but covered by a cloth). 

The Main Temple
Madan Kamdev

Climbing up to Temple
Rest are the pieces of the temple excavated and arranged in random order in the complex. There are beautiful carvings of daily life on most of the stones including explicit sexual  act (similar to Khujaraho). 

This temple is believed to be one among the twenty temples in this area out of which some have been excavated. We need to visualise that once upon a time it must have been a grand temple. If reconstructed, it may yet again be. Despite there are only ruins there, just to see that once upon a time there was something with such beautiful carvings, the place is recommended for a visit.

Main Base Platform, Still Intact

Entry Step to Temple




Our next stop was Sualkuchi village, the silk weaving centre of NE India where Munga (assam silk), pat or mulberry and Erri silk cloths are woven. Muga and Erri (Which has warm nature like Wool)cocoons are grown only in Assam.
Sualkuchi Village Entrance Gate

There are over 13000 looms in this place. Most of the Assam silk (muga) sarees are produced here and are sold all  over India.

Mumba and Erry Cocoons
Cocoons with Golden Moonga Silk Thread
Erry Cocoon and Thread
Punched Card for Design Creation
Present day looms used in Sualkuchi are handlooms but are not the basic one. There is some mechanism which uses the punch cards running in a garland type fashion on top of the loom  to create a design. This reduces manual work a bit in creating a design.

The Lady on the Job at a Loom
Most loom owners employ people (though weaving cloth for home use is common in household in Assam using simple hand loom). They also use their drawing room (in a local  house there is a room where guests are entertained thus calling it so) as their showroom but some of the loom owners do have small saree shops on the main road. Starting with “we will just see but not buy” we looked around, spend almost 3 hours and since rates looked competitive with added joy of buying directly from weavers, we ended up buying few sarees.
Our In house Model in Mekhala Chadar (Assamese Dress)

Weaves from the Loom
One more Saree
Yet another one
Fabulous Borders of a Saree
Another Design
Border of that Saree

Returning to Guwahati and then navigating through killing traffic we reached our late evening boat cruise area by 1530 and remembered that we have not had lunch. After a quick lunch we boarded the boat by 1645 (by which time it was already dusk time). Boat left at 1715 in near darkness.

Cruise Boat
Mad(e) for Each Other, Brahmaputra is a Witness
Kal, Aaj aur! (the next Kal were yet to arrive)

The King of Good Time, thats  me

The cruise was for about 45 minutes. Placid Brahmaputra was charming and we enjoyed the cruise but felt that it should start early and should be made sunset cruise, that would be grand. Food and drinks are available on board on payment. Post cruise it was return to hotel.

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