By Prakriti Sharma
Advocate, Gauhati High Court
Ever since the announcement was made, that Raimona has been added to the list of National Park’s of the state (6thin number),I Was Excited to Pay a visit.
Supposedly, Raimona (mean’s don’t say bad things/use cuss words in local Bodo Language),locals of the area say that their ancestors refrained from saying bad things/using cuss words against the flora and fauna and respected them as seen with many other communities in India as seen with the Bishnoi community of Rajasthan(of Chipko movement fame).
If one wants to enjoy the calmness and serenity of nature, then Raimona should be the go to place bereft of the maddening crowd/tourist’s.
There are two entrances to it one from Kachugaon side which leads to ‘Jamduar Range and the other end of the leash side,it can be reached from gossai gaon side,it shares its border with Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan.
I took the former route. Apart from having a rich flora and fauna base, such as elephants, spotted deer etc.The place is full of history, In fact, there was a British era ,railway line from Fakiragram Railway junction(nearly 5 kms from Kokrajhar) connecting Kachugaon(near the National Park).
The Britishers used the said rail route to export the timber of Saltree, which was considered to be of a fine quality. It was however, a Goods only route.
But, post independence it’s usage became less and ultimately, it shut down. This place has a lot of Legends and myths as well, which have been passed down from generations.
It was supposedly believed that the Jamduar'(a cave,now apart of Bhutan),which could be reached after crossing the Sankosh river. The locals believe that the name holds true. It’s like the entrance to hell.The caves leading up to it,was a gate to hell and one who entered cave which lied just above the Sankosh river,could not come out,and eventually drowned to death.
Locals supposedly believe that the Peppsurange had a place known as ‘Sona Bhandar’.It was believed that gold was found there and people used to visit the place to change their fortune by collecting gold from there. Similarly, it is believed that the famous Hornbill bird is said to pay a visit to a spot in the said National Park called the Daozang Bonding.
The Gypsy car shall drop one near the last motorable point,one can peacefully observe the Bhutan Border officials guarding the border and then take a walk up to the ‘Jamduar Point. If one has taken a walk along the river bank Bhalukpong/Nameri(Jia Bharali river),one can resonate with the walk.
As the place was a comparatively virgin place till now,at present there is just one place to stay which is near last motorable point,it is known as the Jamduar Guest House,I would suggest that if one intends to put up one should do the necessary such as food,products of everyday use,one can shop leading upto the forest gate or Saraibil area.As of now there total
3 rooms for the guest with two beds each and there is provision for extra mattresses.
Some of the locals have planned to setup homestays in the near future along with restaurants to cater to a global crowd.It is next in line to be a biodiversity and tourist hotspot Assam.
I Fundit Lamentable, when I asked a local about the tourist’s, he had replied, that the frequency of tourists was more from places such as Alipurduarside(WestBengal),I secretly thought, it was nothing new for people of Assam. We tend to value orcherish a place only after people from outside have given it the necessary sanction or patronage.
The locals are however, happy with the National Park status as some of them believe that it will reduce problems such as poaching or illegal timber mafia and also improve road connectivity and promote local tourism and culture.
Interestingly, one can also notice a lot of English medium missionary schools and church leading upto the ‘Jamduar Range, the drive of evangelization is very much reflected in such remote corners as well.