Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we’ve come to Kaziranga to enjoy elephant safari. In the Bagori range. It is 6 am but I can see a lot of people already here. It is written there that this is a World Heritage Site. The safari will be from 6.15 am to 7.15 am. After that, there is another one-hour safari from 7.15 am to 8.15 am. There is no elephant safari during evening time here. The Kaziranga National Park is spread over an area of 860 sq km. Rhinoceros, you already know, Kaziranga has the most in the world. At the same time, this area also has the highest tiger density in the world. After waiting here for another 10-15 minutes, we will proceed for elephant safari there. There are 3 safari timings – 5am, 6am and 7am. I was under the impression that there are only two timings – 6am and 7am. And there is no safari during the evening time! So, we are four people sitting on one elephant. Two of us and there is another couple with us, from Kolkata! An average of four persons sit atop an elephant during this safari. And in case of a couple and a kid, only 3 people can also sit on an elephant. Quite an elated and enjoyable experience! There, you can see wild pig. Wow! How close is this Hog Deer. During yesterday’s jeep safari, we could see it…. …only at a distance of 200 or 100 metres. Here it is up and close! Ali bhai, what are these potholes on the land below! These potholes happen when elephants walk through. Okay! Since the top layer of earth is softer here, elephant footprints form easily in this part of the park. There is a lizard on this tree. What is it called? Just look at it! Ohhh! Amazing! What is it called? We don’t know. We call it Gui! Gui! Yes!!! The best part of elephant safari is…. …the elephant is not walking on a fixed path in the middle of the jungle, it is walking….. ….wherever the path takes it. So, one can get very close to the animals in the wild. Therefore, Ali bhai, who is our mahout, told us that he will show us rhino very closely. Ali bhai, Kaziranga is also famous for tigers. So, if I may ask you, do you see tiger, at least, once in a month or so. Yes, it is visible. You see it once in a month? From January, you saw it twice in 3 months? Very nice! How close did you go to the tiger? I went quite close to the tiger. You mean upto 5-7 meters? Ohhoo! So close to rhino! Such a close-up view of rhino! Single-horn rhino! So beautiful! We saw the first rhino, and this second rhino as well, from quite close quarters. We came back at 7.30 am from the elephant safari. Quite an amazing experience! And in the end, I bought a bunch of bananas for Rs. 100. And fed it to the elephant myself. Very loving animal! Very beautiful! We had also seen rhino during the jeep safari yesterday. But yesterday, it was very far from us. And today, it was hardly 10 meters away. We stopped for 30 minutes to observe the rhino. What a lifetime memory! Kaziranga visit should definitely be on your radar if you are interested in wildlife. The total duration of our Assam journey is 18 days. Today, it has been at least 9 or 10 days since we started touring Assam. Right now, we are going to leave here and reach Orchid by 8.30 or 9 pm. We will see a bit of cultural programme during the day time and…. …after that we plan to eat an early lunch. After that, we need to go to Jorhat from where we will board a ferry for Majuli. If we reach on time, then straight to Majuli. And if we reach late, then we will do night stay at Jorhat. Now, let us move from here. For Orchid. The entry ticket is for Rs. 130 per person. But that is the rate for a group of 2 or 3 or more persons. Single person entry ticket is for Rs. 200. The Park is open at 7 am. But the cultural programme starts from 9.30 am. It is 9.30 am now. We are on time. Namaste! Namaste! Let me explain to you. This is the starting point, Green House, we have stored more than 600 varieties of orchids here. Wow! And these orchids have been collected from the entire North east! Super! This is the state flower of Assam. Kopou Phool. These bloom at the time of Bihu festival. Ladies put these flowers into their hair at the time of performing Bihu dance. Wow! This is Coelogyne Flaccida. This is Dendrobium Nobile, the state flower of Sikkim. This is Cymbidium Orchid. What all is available for the tourists to do in the Orchid, Mr. Rupam is going to show us. This place also houses 10-12 varieties of cactus, some sourced locally from Assam and…. …mostly from Rajasthan. These cactus varieties are placed here for students or children to study and observe. For educational purpose? Yes Sir, for educational purpose. Very good! Look at this cactus variety. This one actually looks like a large drum. And it has needle-shaped thorns too. And it also grows flowers, like this, very tiny flowers. Sir, this is Lily Garden, which also houses a special variety of chili from Assam, It is very spicy! This one? It is called Ghost Chili Pepper. It is ranked number 2 in the world in terms of its spice quotient. Here you can see this. It is highly spicy. All the medicinal plants found in Assam…. …he told me, all those are collected and displayed here. For tourists to come, see and study. Very good! We have more than 580 varieties of these medicinal plants. You can see all of them here. This one is very frequently found in the wild as well and it produces very good hair oil too. Hmm! We use it to eat also, in the form of vegetable dish, chutney or juice. Okay! We eat it in different ways. This is Satavari (Wild Asparagus). This is good for heart patients, and in conditions like diarrhea, dyspepsia, etc. Its root is mainly used. It is also used a lot in making Ayurvedic medicines. Hmmm! This is a fruit of Sindur tree (Lipstick Tree). It is used to extract color, which is then used to color clothes as well as….. …in making edible food color. You can hold it. Okay!!! We rubbed it like this. And we get red colour. This fruit is not eaten directly. We use its colour in making food items, etc. This one is called Agar tree. Its stem extract is used in manufacturing the most expensive perfumes in the world. Its stem or leaf is used? Its stem is used. And this tree is rarely found growing outside Assam. It is mostly available in Assam. This is a vegetable fern. We used it as food item. What is it called locally? We call it Dhekia in Assamese. It is called Dhekia and it is made into a curry with potatoes. This is a special dhania (coriander) variety in Assam. I can show you a small part of it to smell. Nice! Yes, it is. Is it smelling nice? Yes it does. Really! This is a tea garden. We are now going to visit a bamboo garden. This is a bamboo garden and it houses about 54 varieties found in Assam. And this one is the shortest bamboo variety in the world. This bamboo variety is quite uncommon, rare. Not found easily. You can check out its colour, It is black in colour, therefore called black bamboo. They will start serving food by 11 am. So, I’ve bought two pitha for myself. These are made with black rice. And tea to go with it. I was told that this pitha is made with black rice, gur (jaggery) and til (sesame seeds). Totally different taste! I am eating black rice for the second time after coming to Assam. In one form or another. Very different! Makes for a delicious taste with gur and til. Now, we are going to present the Karbi Bamboo Dance. We are going to show you how the Karbi people, after harvesting paddy from their fields…. ….extract rice grains from the paddy. Through this dance! Now we are going to present to you another dance from Missing tribe. How the Missing men make cloth at home. We will show that through dance. Now, we are going to present the Bihu dance of Assam. Bihu is the most importance festival of Assamese people. And if you would also care to join us, we will be happy. By God! Lunch is ready! The size of this thali and so many vegetable dishes in it!!! Amazing! Now buddy, I am going to point out each one of the dishes and you confirm whether I am right or not. Masoor dal! Yes! Mixed vegetables! Yes! What is this? Papeeta Khaar (Papaya relish)! Great! Beans! Beans! What is this? This is star fruit! Okay! You make a dish out of star fruit? Yes! Amazing! This is small potato! Yes! Bhindi (Okra) Karela (bitter gourd)! Great! What is this? These are arbi (colocasia) leaves. Ohhhoo! A dish made out of arbi leaves? Yeah! Delicious! This is chutney? Yeah! Potato pithika! Eggplant pithika! Tomato chutney! What is this? Lai Xak (Vegetable mustard)! Last night also we ate this Lai Xak. Amazing! Tell me about this! This is banana flower! Banana flowers! And this? This is ripe banana and til (sesame seeds). Wow! There are so many dishes made with til in Assam. Amazing! What rice variety is this? We call it Joha. Joha rice! Joha rice! Amazing! There is so much variety among vegetarian food in Assam…. I cannot explain. As I go on exploring the vegetarian food items here, I am coming across new dishes every time. In the past few days, we’ve realized that dal is a compulsory part of an Assamese meal. I mean to say that…. …you will be served dal definitely with each meal. Good preparation! I had eaten Lai Xak last night for dinner as well. Now, eating it again! But this preparation is different. As soon as I touched it, I could make out that it has been boiled first. The one I ate last night was not boiled. This Lai Xak is actually mustard greens only. But here, it is cooked in mustard oil, with least amount of spices. Very tasty! I’ve never had a dish made with star fruit. You can purchase star fruit, generally, when you buy sweet potato. In the Northern part of the country. What a killing combination! Dal! Lai Xak! On top of that, star fruit dish! Sour! What a delicious meal! I am enjoying it! I am very happy! I am enjoying this food in the correct flow of flavors. In this journey, I ate the banana curry. And til as well. But I would be eating both together only here. Really healthy food, just see! Minimal use of oil! And the taste is awesome! Everything tastes different! To explain further, I am gaining new experiences in Assamese cuisine. Khaar, I’ve heard, is a good remedy for bowel movements. I could not get a chance to understand its whole process, how Khaar is made. But we are here for another few days. I will try to understand its process in detail. For now,…. …I am enjoying Khaar with papeeta. I was also told that…. …while eating for the first time, it should be eaten in small quantities. Although, taste-wise, it tastes of papeeta only but…. …I will have to eat Khaar 3-4 times more in order to recognize its taste better. Beans and Karela! It is a good thing that they serve food in lesser quantity. This allows one to relish and easily finish all the servings of food. Karela is not a favorite of mine! I don’t like it very much. Now, let me finish this food slowly. And along with that, we are going to enjoy the dance programme going on right next to me. I enjoyed spending time here. Great food! We also saw the cultural programme and visited the Biodiversity Park right outside. Great time spent here at Orchid! Finally, at 2 pm, we left Kaziranga to be on our way to Jorhat. Our plan this morning was to do the night stay in Majuli. But that won’t be possible now because…. …the last ferry from Jorhat to Majuli…. …we will miss that. The market that you see here, this place is called Bokakhat. The poori-aloo and peda, sold at this place, is quite famous. Let us stop the car and go & eat. Sir, tell me the reason behind the fame of aloo-poori sold here? The reason is the cooking process. The potatoes are boiled and to that we add chili, salt and turmeric powder. And then we boil it properly. The potatoes do not have oil, onions or garlic. Okay! In their kitchen, I saw a very interesting thing! They do not use gas stove, coal or wood to cook poori. They use the husk of paddy crop as fuel. Famous poori, aloo and chili chutney! All this is in front of me. Served on a banana leaf! Now, let me eat it and I will tell you about its taste! A little while ago, the owner was telling me…. …that they use salt, chili and turmeric powder to cook potatoes, nothing else. I was a little apprehensive on hearing that. But now that I am eating it, obviously, for once, it tastes different,…. ….but at the same time, it tastes delicious! It doesn’t feel like something is missing in its flavor. Eating just aloo-poori here is an incomplete combination! That is if you eat it without the green chili chutney. This is because the green chili chutney lends a unique flavor to the meal. This chili has less spice, more flavor! This experience is quite different! Although, this preparation is simple, but very different! I’ve had a taste of the poori-aloo, now is the time to enjoy the taste of peda. Here, take a closer look of the peda. Very soft! See, how easily I can press it between my thumb and finger. After eating poori-aloo with chili chutney,…. …there couldn’t be a better end-to-the-meal…in my opinion. Peda is absolutely fresh! It means its preparation was done recently. This you can feel right as you put it in your mouth. Last night, we had thought we would leave Kaziranga at about 10.30 am…. ….and after reaching Jorhat at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, we will take the ferry to Majuli. For your information,… …Majuli is the largest river island in the world. But we could leave Kaziranga only in the noon. It was there and then that we realized that…. …we could not reach Majuli today because…. …the last ferry for Majuli leaves at 4pm. And if you want to take your vehicle with you, you need to be there by 2.30 pm… …at the Jorhat ferry point. Due to this reason, today’s night stay will be done in Jorhat. We will meet soon with a new & exciting journey in which…. …you will see our travel to Majuli. Till then goodbye! See you soon!