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Himalaya

Day 97: Dibrugah to Majuli Island

Michael Palin - HimalayaThese great prairies of tea, still referred to as 'gardens', produce 340,000–390,000 tons (350–400 million kg) a year, half of India's total tea production.

The source of this bountiful fertility lies close to a snow-capped mountain in the arid desert of southwest Tibet. Mount Kailash is considered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jainists as one of the most sacred places on earth, the abode of their fiercest gods, the navel of the world from which life-giving rivers flow. The Indus and the Ganges both rise in its shadow, as does the Yarlung Tsangpo, which flows east through the length of Tibet, before entering the great bend of the Himalaya, plunging through a series of wild, barely accessible gorges and emerging in Assam, flowing due west and with a new name, Brahmaputra, 'Son of Brahma, the Creator'.

It is by now an immense river, with 1000 miles (1600 km) of water behind it, and it endows Assam with a rich alluvial flood plain, 445 miles (712 km) long and an average of 60 miles
(96 km) wide.

It sustains not only the tea industry but a rice bowl too, as well as wheat, sugar cane, banana, tobacco, mustard, jute, silk and just about anything you care to put in the ground.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 97: Dibrugah to Majuli Island
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Dibrugah
  • Book page no: 227

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