You can read the 1st part of our Enchanting Northeast – Honda Drive to Discover 9 story here
Day 2 – Guwahati-Kaziranga-Majuli
This day for us started at 7am with breakfast. We were then allotted our cars – which was a Petrol Automatic Civic. 2 media houses and 1 car was the format and I was paired with Manoj Thawani. We were flagged off at 8am and we were asked to drive in a convoy. We drove for about 2 hours on not so good roads before the first stop which was at 10am. It was a short tea, bio and nicotine break. We set out again and this time I was behind the wheel on strikingly stunning roads with scenic marvels which was a treat to one’s soul.
The suspension and the ride quality of the Honda Civic was great on great roads but was pretty darn good on the not so good roads too. The CVT gearbox on the petrol motor is smooth shifting and linear across the rev-band. When the engine is idling, one can hardly tell if the petrol motor is running. It is silky smooth, refined and exceptionally silent! The suspension setup is good and aids in better driving dynamics. Special mention goes to the rebound damping while tackling bad roads and humongous craters and not once did we scrape the under body. For an electrically assisted power steering, it is communicative, well-weighted and precise. It provides good feedback under various driving conditions.
In the middle of marveling the car and its goodness, we reached the Kaziranga corridor. As you’d know, Kaziranga is home to the world’s largest population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. We were on the lookout to spot one but in vain. At half past noon, we reached the Wild Grass Resort for lunch. The colonial British era construction was surrounded by lushness all around. Along with a great ambience, the resort offered exquisite Assamese food which we had 30 minutes to devour. With our satisfied stomachs and souls, we headed out to Jorhat which is 90 kms away and we were asked to get there by 3:30pm as the last ferry service is at 4:30pm. So, in our attempt to make some excellent time, we missed A TURN and went ahead another 10 kms. Needless to say, we realized our very efficient move was not so efficient so turned back and reached the ferry just in time.
One by one all the cars drove into the ferry and we were sailing across the enormous Brahmaputra River. The sheer size of the river was intimidating and one can only think of the world that exists under these waters. To be honest, it looks less like a river and more like an ocean. The ferry drop-off was at Majuli. Up until this point, I strongly believed that Guwahati, Kaziranga were beautiful but Majuli was a whole new level of beauty. We got off the ferry and lined up our cars; we then took some exquisite pictures of the golden sunset, the fauna around and of course the Honda fleet. We appeased the photographers in us and headed towards our next night stop – Tekasang Resort only to find out that some of us were placed in another hotel i.e. Enchanting Majuli including me.
An hour to freshen up and we were all ready and headed out to Tekasang for dinner. A traditional Assamese dance welcomed us along with local Assamese cuisine waiting for us to be dazzled. Have to mention the Paneer Tikka which was flavorsome, succulent and the best Tikka I’ve ever had. The dance performers presented each one of us with a hand-woven scarf made by the Mising Tribe which was really touching. A perfect end to a perfect day. Time for snoozes.
Day 3 – Majuli-Pasighat-Dibrugarh
Our day started with the usual breakfast at 8 am and we headed out to Dibrugarh via Pasighat at 10 am sharp. Today we switched cars and we had our hands on the Honda CRV 1.6 Diesel.
Right when we drove out of the hotel premise, we had the pleasure of watching the local kids practice their diving skills in the lake. After we reveled in their triumph, our attention was taken to the very comfortable vehicle we were driving. The CRV comes equipped with a 9-speed automatic gear box which came without a conventional gear selector but instead came with a push-button which allows you to toggle between different driving modes.
The multi-function steering comes with audio and cruise controls along with paddle shifts. The steering is leather wrapped so the grip is good and allows smooth maneuvering. The roads weren’t the best but the car ensured comfort. The 18-inch wheels, good suspension setup and more than adequate ground clearance supported the cause very well.
Majuli, a river island currently holds the world record as the largest island formed by a river. It is also the first island to be made a district in India. It is picturesque to the say the least and you’ll find moments that its beauty will take your breath away. We drove through Dhemaji on the way to Pasighat and noticed that most of the homes are built and standing on stilts. During monsoon, the Brahmaputra tends to flood these villages with up to 3-4 feet of water so the design is not only apt but efficient and necessary.
We continued our journey comfortably till we reached our lunch halt at an ecotourism resort – Donyi Hango. We were served tasty Arunachali meal with the best in class chilly chutneys. With our tummies full of food, we moved on from there and crossed paths with the Brahmaputra again at the Ranaghat bridge. The view from the bridge was exquisite which looked like the white fluffy clouds had come down to touch the river. An absolutely stunning sight! After taking a LOT of pictures, we moved on from there. It was getting dark and we were driving through narrow city lanes, tanked up our cars and headed towards our final destination for the day – Dibrugarh.
All the modern Honda’s come with all-LED lights setup which lightened up the road beautifully. The throw and spread of the light was wider than the road itself with no blind spots. We also passed through the Bogibeel Bridge which was recently inaugurated. It’s the longest bridge in Assam which called for some pictures. We finally reached our night stop and some sleep was in order. Post dinner and drinks, we all hit the sack.
Words & Photography – Amit Shelar