After encounter with langurs and after taking a fall on paddy field, we were on the national highway number 37 moving towards Manas from Kakoijana. We moved through Barpeta town. Barpeta is a typical Indian small town. It has grown on either sides of Barpeta railway station. It is chaotic, it is unregulated, there is no traffic rule. Come to think of it, it is not different from Muzaffar Nagar in UP or Kurukshetra in Haryana. I asked driver, why it is called Barpeta, is it because grooms (bar) are beaten up (peta) in this town. After a hearty laugh, the driver said there are enough room for beating up grooms, but Barpeta is named after big (Baro) peti (peta) of fruits and vegetables that are dropped in the town. True to his statement, there was a big sabzi mandi, full of trucks and big stacks of vegetables on one side of railway satiation.
Road from Barpeta to Manas run by Manas river. Road is mostly broken. We were told damage was done by overflowing Manas river. No repair has been done since monsoon? More so, so many visitors from Delhi were to visit in early part of the year. Well it was not done.
On this road to Manas, we realised our promised AC car did not have a functional AC. So India remains essentially the same, be it Punjab in north or Assam in east. We also realised drivers also remain essentially the same all through out India. Callous, impulsive and lack training on basic driving practice. Driver of our car would open pan masala sachet while driving at high speed. Then, he would spit out pan masala juice from his mouth, opening car door while driving at high speed. Driver would check his phone message, without slowing down. Even approaching heavy trucks, from the opposite side on an undivided road, would not instil fear of god in him. Repeated request to stop by road side and complete his business yielded a derisive laugh but no change of behaviour.
We covered 20 km distance between Barpeta and Mansa in an hour and reached Birina tourist lodge beside a tea garden.
Lodge was fine. Room had three beds and an attached bath. Breakfast was complimentary. Lunch, dinner, tea and snacks we had to pay for.
After a brief rest, we set out for jeep safari into Manas National Park.