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On day 18 of the India Diamond Trail driving the Renault Kwid, we commenced our journey into the North East India via Assam, the first of the seven sisters of this region. The state is known for its national parks and tea plantations and is also one of the major states from where the transboundary Bramhaputra river flows.
Unlike the previous day, yesterday’s journey was quite peaceful. There wasn’t much traffic and initially the roads were good too. Soon we neared the Kaziranga National Park. The 429 km square wildlife reserve is known as the land of the big five – Bengal tiger, eastern swamped deer, the great Indian one-horned rhino, wild buffaloes and Asian elephants. And to spot the animals there was no need to delve deep into the forest. We managed to spot some one horned rhinos, deers and wild buffaloes from the highway itself, but they were a little too far to be visible in the camera.
About two hours later, things turned sour as roads became teacherous and there were scary thunderstorms yet again. Lightning struck the ground, uprooting two massive trees which created a havoc on the highway. The trees fell on two fish stalls in a local fish market, but luckily no one was injured. Thankfully there was an alternative route to get back on the highway. It was filled with mud and slush and yet the Kwid managed to get past. It’s no 4X4 of course, but when in adequate momentum, the car has no problems getting past minor muddy patches, thanks to the 180mm ground clearance and the grippy CEAT tyres.
We reached Dibrugarh late yesterday night and today we’re entering Arunachal Pradesh. Let’s hope that the weather and the roads ahead don’t play evil and we reach Kibithoo in accordance with the schedule.