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Tourism potential of Brahmaputra stretch near Guwahati yet to be tapped
ANN Service
 MIRZA, June 14 - The State government’s occasional tall claims of promoting tourism by launching a host of ambitious projects has run into rough weather.

In fact, the tourism potential involving some of the magnificent river spots is yet to be fruitfully tapped.

The magnificent 30-km stretch of Brahmaputra from Pandu in Guwahati via Dakhala to Jahirpur in Chhaygaon LAC in Kamrup district is yet to be noted by tourists due to the apathy of the concerned authority.

Sources said that more than 100 species of birds have been spotted in the Pandu-Dakhala-Jairpur segment of the Brahmaputra river and its adjoining wetlands, islands and lush green hills. The concerned segment of the river is home to several species of endangered fish, birds and mammals, including the world-famous endangered Gangetic river dolphins.

The Pandu-Dakhala-Jahirpur stretch of the Brahmaputra river is located under the foothills of Dakhala, Hatimura, Agyathuri and Gondhmou Hills in which beautiful traditional houses and watch towers could be built to house the tourists so that they can enjoy the beauty of the Brahmaputra river.

The Pandu-Dakhala-Jahirpur river stretch is dotted with numerous islands which adds to the beauty of the river. The river islands are host to beautiful patches of trees, shrubs and herbs, including elephant reeds like Kohuwa, Tora, Nol-Khagori, Birina etc., and those islands are home to some of the endangered wildlife species, including hispid hare, otter, Asiatic wild water buffalo. The Buffalo khutis (where domestic buffalo herds are kept), which are tiny thatched traditional houses with painting in the walls by coal tar, add to the beauty of the islands. Further, tourists can savour the taste of pure organic milk of the indigenous buffaloes that feeds on organic grass.

Trekking through the islands having vast open sandy fields dotted with patches of grasslands, including Kohuwa reeds in full bloom, would not only be an exciting experience, but will be a memorable one. During the trekking in the river islets, tourists will come across numerous wildlife, including some endangered birds like greater adjutant stork, pallas’s fish eagle, grey headed fish eagle, kingfishers, Rudy shelduck, mallard and many more migratory and local birds. Tourists will also encounter hundreds of buffaloes, both domestic and wild, grazing in vast grasslands.

A river cruise in the Brahmaputra in traditional fishing boats (like what is seen in Dal Lake in Kashmir) may be an exciting experience. Sailing along the Brahmaputra and staying in the traditional fishing boats, angling in the river with different fishing gear would not only add to the sense of adventure, but may also provide ample chance to witness some of the endangered aquatic animals like Gangetic river dolphin, different types of turtles, flocks of migratory and local birds.

There are two colonies of endangered Gangetic river dolphins, a national aquatic animal of India and also a State aquatic animal of Assam, in the Pandu-Dakhala-Jahirpur stretch of the Brahmaputra. One colony is located in the west side of the land spur No. 1 at Futuri village, while the other colony is located in the west side of the Dakhala hill near Mirza township in Kamrup district. A tourist could encounter Gangetic river dolphins in these colonies within a short time.

Tourists can also experience the life of people living in some of the islets of the Brahmaputra river. They can explore the day-to-day life of these people closely, experience the taste of ethnic food, travel along the sandy roads and visit the traditional cropland.

The Sualkuchi village, the Manchester of the West, is located in the bank of the Brahmaputra river which is famous for hand-woven paat and muga fabrics. In a trip to the famous village, tourists will not only see the famous handloom cottage industry, but also buy handwoven muga, paat and mekhela sadors.

Nuruddin Ali , a local villager of Gumi village near the Brahmaputra river, said that bringing the Pandu-Dakhala-Gumi segment of the Brahmaputra under the tourism map would not only help protect the flora and fauna of the river, but also usher in economic development of the villagers living in the fringe areas of the river. The river segment has the advantage of becoming an important tourist spot as the area is located just 2 kms away from the LGBI International Airport and only 5 kms from the Kamakhya Railway Station, he said.

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