Travel to Assam in August' 2017 - Part-2


Assam Travelogue in Discovery of Wild Agarwood - 1

A Spontaneous Plan to Travel to Assam

In the month of August of the year 2017, I travelled to interiors of Assam to meet my distiller friend.

The trip had been planned just a few weeks before when I realised there were quite a few off days from my work in the middle of August.

I booked my tickets very quickly while forgetting that it would be the time period when monsoon makes a late surge in Assam bringing in heavy rainfall in the region almost every year. This was to bring me some surprises, few of them pleasant, and few of them, not so pleasant.

Rain Brings in Few Surprises...

The flight took off right time from New Delhi, IGI airport sharp at 05:10 AM and landed at Guwahati, the capital city of Assam around 08:00 AM.

A night before my distiller friend said he would come all the way from his city to airport, a distance of more than 100 kms, to receive me. However a very heavy rainfall all through the night had created a flood like situation.

He messaged me on whatsapp that he couldn’t come to the airport because the highway was cut off since a part of it was submerged in water! "So what do I do now?", I thought to myself.

Then he messaged me and told me few of the possible options to reach his city. The travel by train seemed best since I enjoy travelling by train.I went out of the airport to catch a public transport bus to the railway station.

Bus from Guwahati airport to Guwahati Station

It was still drizzling and raining. The city was wet. I reached Guwahati Station in an hour or so.

Guwahati  Railway Station

And I reached just on time. As soon as I went inside the station and bought the ticket, the train came and stopped at the platform right in front of me.

A Very Beautiful Journey Through Assam..

I boarded the train. The train left the platform in no time and very soon it was out of the city, travelling through some of the most beautiful landscapes I had ever seen in my life.

 

 

Train travelling through interiors of Assam

(Train passing through interiors of Assam)

 

Small village at the foot of a hill

(Small village at the foot of a hill)

 

A fisherman wading through muddy water

(A fisherman wading through muddy water)

 

Lush green fields after monsoon rain

(Lush green fields after monsoon rain)

 

Finally Reached My Destination..

After three hours of most beautiful train journey of my life, I reached this small town railway station. There he was, my friend, waiting for me. From there, he took me straight to his distillery.


There they were tall, beautiful agarwood trees.

Tall Agarwood Tree

 

(Tall Agarwood tree. (Aquilaria maleccensis/Aquilaria agallocha))

 

Agarwood tree

(Another agarwood tree)

 

So What is an Agarwood Tree?

Aquilaria malaccensis Lamk. (Synonym: Aquilaria agallocha Roxb. and locally known as agar or Sasi) is a precious floral wealth of north east India. The tree is medium size to large evergreen, which can grow up to 40 m in height and reach a diameter of 60 cm and is commonly found in primary and secondary forests, mainly in plains but also on hllsides and ridges up to 750 m altitude. It is found in north eastern states viz Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizorarn, Nagaland and also in West Bengal and Sikkim.

 

Snails made this agarwood tree their home.

(Snails made this agarwood tree their home)

 

Natural infection and artificial inoculation.

(Picture above: The top light brown is naturally infected and lower dark brown part is artificially inoculated)
Artificially inoculated agarwood tree
(Another artificially inoculated agarwood tree)
My friend told me one of the ways of identifying a naturally infected agarwood tree is to look for twigs shooting out of the trunk. That is one of the indication of that perhaps the agarwood tree is naturally infected inside and therefore may yield resinous wood inside.
Twig shooting out of agarwood tree
(Twig shooting out of agarwood tree)

 


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