Brahmi Xaak: Bacopa monierri

Brahmi Xaak is a commonly used herb in Assamese Cuisine. This particular perennial herb is known for its wonderful properties and has been widely used for boosting memory since time immemorial.

Brahmi Xaak is known to prevent certain cancers, improve respiratory diseases and stimulation of the mind to boost memory and concentration. It is also known and used as a stress reliever in ancients ayurvedic scripts.

Brahmi also has antioxidants and inflammatory properties making it a superfood.

Slightly bitter in taste, brahmi can be stir fried to eat as a side dish. You can also cook it with thinly sliced potatoes.

Before every annual exam, our grandma would bring some brahmi from the kitchen garden and stir-fried in ghee (clarified butter). She used to tell you that this particular remedy would help us to remember our lessons clearly. I used to hate that dish but we had to eat it.

I would never know if that dish was responsible for me and my brother’s good results but we hadn’t eaten it since we left home for higher studies. It’s funny how some simple things bring so many memories to us. Our grandma is no more but there were lessons I learned from her which would stay with me unless I pass it on to my next generation. After all, what is food if it doesn’t remind you of something or someone we love!!

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Brahmi Xaak: Indian #Herb

Assam Diaries: Tezpur, the Mythological Town

Winter is here and so does the travel season. As the blanket of autumn mist is gradually covering this part of the world, let us take a break from all the mundane works and move to some serene places before the harsh summer months make a comeback. Presenting you a town which still beckons to the pre-historic period of India… Tezpur.

Tezpur is the district headquarter of Sonitpur and a transit town to Arunachal Pradesh and north Assam. The town is a small but bestowed with abundant natural and cultural heritage. Centre of Assamese renaissance, Tezpur was the place where the modern Assamese art, song, and movie was orchestrated by Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Bishnuprasad Rabha and Phoni Sharmah. 

Located on the north bank of the River Brahmaputra, Tezpur is well connected with roads and railways. It also has a small airport where connecting flights can be taken to Guwahati. It is also the main point to go the western Arunachal to visit the tourist places like Tawang. 

Tezpur, the Mythological Town

History of Tezpur

The town and the surrounding areas are dotted with mythological remains from prehistoric period and 8 and 9th centuries. It was found to be the seat of the asura dynasty which ruled the ancient Kamrupa where Banasur, the son of Bali, reigned. Lord Krishna’s grandson Aniruddha fell in love with his daughter Usha enraging Banasura which led to a great war where even the deities took part. Eventually, the love won them back and they all lived happily ever after! (How cliche!!)

The remnants of where Banasura kept Usha, famously known as Agnigarh, is still there in the town. Now, a famous tourist place, the district administration has done a good job to recreate the whole drama with bronze sculptures at the Agnigarh hill. 

Tezpur was also the seat of the Danava dynasty who ruled classical Assam before the Aryans came. Their archeological remnants from 8-9th century are still there near Hazarapar pukhuri and Bamuni hills. 

Da Parbatia, a village near Tezpur has stone sculptures from the 4th century and it may be believed that the place was a centre of shakto clan.

Coming to the recent history of Tezpur, the town was the last point where the Chinese army invaded during 1962’s Ind0-China war. The town was evacuated but fortunately, the invading army retreated back and the town was saved.

But the most glorious moment in the recent history of Tezpur came when the current Dalai Lama gave his first official interview to the press from the Circuit House of Tezpur after his escape from Tibetan territories. Tezpur was crawled by reporters from all over the world and it still holds a special place in His Holiness’s heart.

                                                                (The lady in the thumbnail of the video is His Holiness’s mother)

Tezpur is our favourite stop whenever we travel to upper Assam. I love to get lost in the mythological layers of the town and to stroll around the ponds which are situated in the midst of the town. I love to climb the hillock of Agnigarh and spend time watching the Brahmaputra. 

Tezpur still holds the lost aroma of old Assam where every road is clean and everyone works together to keep the town clean and peaceful. Here is a glimpse of places mentioned in this post. 

Glimpses of Tezpur, the Mythological Town

Agnigarh, symbol of eternal love!

agingarh.tezpur
The Agnigarh or the Hill of Fire

 

Entrance to the Park

Stairs to go to the top of the hill

Glimpses of the mythological tale

Glimpses of the Brahmaputra from the hilltop

 

Archeological remnants at Da Parbatiya near Tezpur

 

MahaBhoirab Mandir at Tezpur

 

 

 

 

 

Poki, Cultural Symbol of Assamese Renaissance

 

Snapshots of Spring in Assam

spring in assam

Assam is a place with abundant natural beauty. Walk into any part of this state and you will find nature at its best. If you are a fan of wildlife, the best time to visit the state is winter but if you love to indulge yourself in greenery everywhere, spring and summer are the perfect time.

Here, I have captured the essence of the country life of Assam. It is said that if you really want to see the beauty of our state, visit a village. We have still preserved the very best essence of our culture, our way of life in our villages.

spring in assam

In this article, I am sharing some snapshots from the place where I am married into. Though I was born and brought up in lower Assam, I am married in upper Assam and hence, my home is the assimilation of cultures and traditions of both the places. The nature in my in law’s place is evident in every aspect. Be it our kitchen garden or our alley, the spring has favored us with open arms and  graced us with our presence. Here are some of the snapshots of how spring has adored us.

Jamun flowers in our kitchen garden. Though I am not aware of the scientific name of this particular berry, it yields sweet fruits, somewhat watery in taste.

Snapshots of Spring in Assam

 

Pomegranate flower in our kitchen garden. Daalim, as it locally called in Assamese, is a common fruit. The pomegranate flowers are known to be capable of lowering blood sugar, benefiting diabetic patients. It also has punicalagin, an antioxidant known for heart benefits.

Snapshots of Spring in Assam

Konbilahi or Cherry tomatoes are grown in abundance in Assam during late winter and early spring. They are an integral part of various Assamese recipes. Our kitchen garden is full of cherry tomatoes trees.

Flowers of tengesi tenga or Creeping wood sorrel. Helpful in hangovers, eczema, soothes insect bites, cures sleeplessness a nd good source of vitamin C. 

Spring in assam

Amaryllis Lily Dutch Flower in our garden.

The clear sky with beetle nut trees at our place.

spring in assam

The beetle nuts 

spring in assam

The rare Keteki shrub in our garden. It is one of the cherished flowers in our folk songs and very difficult to grow. Fortunately, my better half was able to grow it after tedious trials and now it blooms every year. 

The Keteki flower

spring in assam

Kopouful- common orchid found in every village of Assam.

 

The Ultimate Shopping Guide for This Bohag Bihu

Bohag Bihu is here and it is time to rejoice, visit relatives and merry making. For you who do not what it is, let me explain. Bohag Bihu is one of the major festivals of us, Assamese. There are three Bihus-  Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu and Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. Bihu is out and out a festival of an agrarian society that we Assamese are. Bohag Bihu is celebrated before the start of the cultivation circle. It is celebrated during the spring, in Mid-April when the whole society rejoices a new world with all its spring glory. It also marks the start of Assamese New Year with the month of Bohag. According to renowned musical maestro Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, “Bohagat jatiye snan kore.” It means that the whole Assamese nation rejuvenates itself for the coming year and faces the hardship of growing food. The Bohag Bihu is marked with lots of merry-making like Bihu dance and songs. After the Bohag month, people gears up to sow and cultivate the paddy fields. The almost ripe harvest is worshiped by lighting earthen lamps during Kati Bihu. The harvest is celebrated during Magh Bihu and this is how the circle is closed.

The Ultimate Shopping Guide for This Bohag Bihu

Bohag Bihu is the time to meet our near and dear ones. Ask any of Assamese you know and they will sigh over Bohag Bihu and long to go home during the festivity. It is the time to seek blessings and spread love. It is the time to pamper and get pampered. During our childhood, it was the time when we eagerly waited for our relatives to come home and exchange gifts. It is not customary to exchange gifts but honestly speaking, who doesn’t love to be gifted? If you have any Assamese who is your near and dear one, Bohag Bihu is the best time to pamper them and visit them. That’s why I have come with this ultimate guide on what to buy and gift your Assamese friends on this festival of fun and blessings.

The Ultimate Shopping Guide for This Bohag Bihu

In this shopping guide for Bohag Bihu, I will discuss the things that hold special places in the Assamese society. There are lots of Assamese people who stay away from their home and even after longing, cannot manage to go home during the festival every year. Pamper them with the pure Assamese gifts with this shopping guide for Bohag Bihu.

All the gift ideas listed in this shopping guide for Bohag Bihu are available online. Hence it doesn’t matter in what part of the world you or your Assamese friends stay. Just click and gift!

Gamosa

Gamosa is a traditional hand woven piece of cloth which holds a special place in Assamese society. It is generally gifted to someone who is respectable and as a token of love. This rectangular piece of cloth comes with red borders in all sides and intricate designs in both the ends. The gamosas which are gifted during the Bohag Bihu are called Bihuwan. It is customary to gift gamosas during Bohag bihu and hence can be a good thing to gift this Bohag Bihu. You can buy gamosa here.

Bell metal products

Bell metal products are produced locally in Assam and extensively used in any Assamese household. Bell metal sorai is used to offer prosads to the lord and tamul-pan (bettle leaf-nuts) to the guests.

It was not until recent, bell metal products were not available online. But thanks to Brahmaputra Fables, now you can order bell metal products from any corner of the world. Here is the link where you can buy bell metal products online.

Green Tea

                                                                                                 Image credit: Here

 

Let’s admit. We Assamese are addictive to tea. We love to drink at any given time and in any form. But if you encourage good health, gift some green tea to your Assamese friends. Here is a Facebook page where you can buy green tea online.

Assamese Traditional Wear

 

Assam is home to three indigenous silk types- eri, muga and pat silk. The mekhela sador made with this silk are good option to gift on this Bohag Bihu. You can even buy some muga sari for yourself too. Here is the link where you can buy Assamese traditional wear.

Assamese Traditional Jewellery

Assamese traditional pieces of jewelry are simple, easy-to-wear yet elegant pieces of jewelry which can be gifted on this Bohag Bihu. Buy some elegant piece of jewelry from the brand, Parajapoti Axomiya Gohona online. This brand is run by a mompreneur and you can contact her here for some beautiful collection of jewelry.

A Trip to Manas National Park!

Manas National Park has always been our family’s first love. After all, I met my better half there and we spent three long years after our marriage near the park. Though we bade adieu to Barpeta Road, the nearest transit town to Manas, we never said farewell to Manas. Instead, we carried it with us. In our heart. Eventually, Neel, my son came and the return to the park was postponed for several times. Though we travelled and visited other places, our hearts longed for Manas. Deba and I discussed and sighed to show the places at Manas to our son, who is equally enthusiastic for road trips and vacations. 

 

Manas National Park

 

Finally, the first week of March gave us the much-needed trip to Manas. All three of us were excited about it and the whole journey was filled with laughter and squeals about the destination. We took the jungle safari, spotted lots of wildlife, mingled with fringe villagers, and spent our time with the river generously. Neel played with the river while my better half introduced him to it and the jungle. After all, we never left Manas, we carry it in every day of our life. 

As the day we spent in Manas was a rainy one, peacocks were everywhere, waiting for the mates. We spotted swamp deer, sambar, wild elephants, wild buffalos, and rhinos. But the stars of the day were the birds. Hundreds of birds too graced us with their presences. If you want to visit this amazing place, here is the needed information.

Where is Manas National Park?

Manas National Park, situated in the Himalayan foothills near the Indian-Bhutan border, is a World Heritage Site. As they say in Manas, if you want to explore the wild, come here! Crowned with as many as five conservation statuses, Manas is home to  61 species of mammals, 354 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibian, 79 species of fish and more than 187 species of butterfly and 100 species of invertebrates. It has more than 600 species from plant kingdom making it one of the suitable habitat of wildlife wonders.

The park boasts of having the largest number of Scheduled-I species than any other Protected Areas (PAs) in India. It is home to 21 species of mammals which are highly endangered. Among these 21 species, 3 are restricted to only Manas and its immediate locality. They are Golden Languor, Pygmy Hog, and Hispid hare, which are exclusively endemic to the Manas National Park. All three animals are also included in the critically endangered list of the IUCN Red Data Book. World’s 80% of endangered Bengal Florican resides at Manas. It is also home to Wild Buffalos and Asiatic Elephants, Assam Roof Turtle etc.

The park is divided into three main ranges and several bits for monitoring and protection. The main ranges are… Bahbari (central range), Panbaari (western range) and Bhuyapara (eastern range).

 

How to Reach Manas National Park?

Manas is best reached by roadways and railways. It is situated 176 KM far from Assam’s capital city, Guwahati. Well connected by roads and railways, the nearest transit town and railway station is Barpeta Road. Barpeta Road also has the Field Director’s office, Manas National Park. The central range of Manas National Park, Bahbari is situated 22 KM away from Barpeta Road. The nearest airport is Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Borjhar, Guwahati.

What is the Best Time to Visit Manas National Park?

The best time to visit Manas National Park is from October to April.

Manas National Park

Accommodation and Safari cost at Manas National Park

There are several private as well as Govt resorts at Bahbari and Bhuyapara ranges where you can stay and take a safari to Manas National Park. The packages start from 3,500 Indian Rupees. 

If you want to know tidbit of life at Manas National Park, here is a blog that documents everything about this destination by my better half.

What to see at Manas National Park

Manas is home to 61 species of mammals, 354 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles, 9 species of amphibian, 79 species of fish and more than 187 species of butterfly and 100 species of invertebrates. It has more than 600 species from plant kingdom making it one of the suitable habitat of wildlife wonders.
The park boasts to have the largest number of Scheduled-I species than any other Protected Areas (PAs) in India. It is home to 21 species of mammals which are highly endangered. Among these 21 species, 3 are restricted to only Manas and its immediate locality. They are Golden Languor, Pygmy Hog and Hispid hare, which are exclusively endemic to the Manas National Park. All three animals are also included in the critically endangered list of the IUCN Red Data Book. World’s 80% of endangered Bengal Florican resides at Manas. It is also home to Wild Buffalos and Asiatic Elephants, Assam Roof Turtle etc.
You can do-
1. Jungle Safari
2. River Rafting
3. Village tracking
4. Enjoy Traditional Dance
5. Relish Traditional Food
6. Enjoy Assam Tea and many more…..
 
Contact number

Head Quarter Beat at Barpeta Road for Tourism Contact
Mr. Kripa Nath Forester-I
Phone number-+91 73998 62555