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Himalaya

Day 100: Kaziranga

Michael Palin - HimalayaWe're at the gates to Kaziranga National Park, awaiting the opening ceremonies of the much-publicized 2nd Elephant Festival. There could hardly be a greater contrast with the serenity of Majuli Island. Crowds are gathering on both sides of the road and, occasionally, a policeman will stride into the middle of them, waving his hands and blowing a whistle as if his life depended on it.

A constant blast of truck horns reminds us that the road we're standing beside is the NH 37, Assam's equivalent of the M1. Large signs call this stretch of it the Elephant Corridor, but it takes more than a sign or two to turn truck drivers into conservationists, and the presence of the crowd only seems to encourage them to drive faster.

The rich are here, men in suits and women in gorgeous saris, and the poor, in extended family groups, stand and watch them. A procession of elephants is gathered further up the main road, but nothing can begin until the local big-wigs are here.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 100: Kaziranga
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Kaziranga
  • Book page no: 233

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