GUWAHATI: About 4 kms into Guwahati from the airport take a detour via the bypass to be gradually captivated by a mesmerizing water body bound by blue hills. Boasting of rich wetland biodiversity, Deepor Beel (11 kms from airport), a bird sanctuary, is one of the largest beels in
the Brahmaputra valley and the only Ramsar site. Priding itself of a wide variety of bird species, especially in winter, Deepor Beel or ‘elephant wetland’ (from Sanskrit “deepa” meaning elephant and Assamese “beel” meaning wetland) is an apt name for a place which is frequented by elephants from the Rani Reserve Forest along the Meghalaya-Assam border for water and food.
Four kilometres ahead is the beautiful historical-religious site of Bhimashankar Dwadas Jyotirlinga Dham located in Dakini hills. One of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, this dham is more an oasis of peace. Marked by a shivlinga with a hill stream flowing over and around it, Lord Shiva incarnated here to destroy the demon Bhimasura, son of Kumbhakarna. Today, manned by Karbi priests, the jyotirlinga imparts a distinctive aura, taking one back into another century.
No more than a kilometre away is yet another unique site—The Parijat Academy. It is a school for underprivileged children, a venture started by Uttam Teron in 2003 to eradicate child labour. Depending on the voluntary contribution of well-wishers across the globe, this unique educational project attracts locals by the droves. It is here many Guwahatians celebrate their birthdays in the academy, with cakes that have ‘Awesome Assam’ cream-piped into them. Since the academy needs furniture, uniforms, and old clothes for children, textbooks, musical
instruments, it encourages sponsors and volunteers. Taking up on the saying that “Some travel to see the difference, others travel to make the difference”, the academy fosters the spirit of ‘voluntourism’—enthusing volunteers into creative activities while experiencing touristy
As you ready yourself to enter the busy city, make a stop at a handicraft and handloom centre ( NEHHDC) where you will be met by a riot of unique handiwork by master craftsmen.
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