Monday, December 29, 2008

December 19--Tea, Temples & Talking

On the morning of December 19th, we visited a tea estate called Chenijan. The harvest has just ended, so we were not able to see the factory in operation. The workers were cleaning and doing maintenance on the machines. The proprietress, a relative of Ishani's, is also a music teacher and played sitar for us.

We travelled on to Shivsagar and visited some very old temples and ruins from the time of the Ahom dynasty: Vishnu Temple, Kareng Ghar (Talatal Ghar), and Rong Ghar. Rong Ghar is a pavilion where the kings would sit to watch games, dancing, etc. Ishani's dad was responsible for creating a beautiful garden and park around this site. His interest in and knowledge of the area is a perfect complement to his numerous personal & professional contacts (he reminds me of Butch, Mike's dad.) The ruins, the towns, the plants, animals, the development projects--he is a fount of information about all of them. Ishani's father has also been involved in many projects to decrease erosion and improve farming methods and to preserve the natural resources of Assam. It seems that he is well-respected in being able to balance preservation and the needs of the local people to make a living.

Shivsagar is where Ishani's mother spent her childhood and went to college, so we stopped to visit Ishani's maternal great uncle and his family. Mamoni's parents sent her to live with her uncle and aunt so that she would have the opportunity to go to school.
From Ishani's maternal great uncle and his family 2008 12 18

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