Narayanpur, Assam – off the beaten trail

Assam is a mosaic of unique travel destinations, some little known ones offering you the chance to walk off the beaten trail and find the perfect Instagrammable photo. One such destination, steeped in spirituality, is Narayanpur, on the north banks of the Brahmaputra. There is Letekupukhuri, 12 kms from Narayanpur, which claims pride of place as the birthplace of famous Vaishnava saint and important preceptor of Ekasarana Dharma, Mahapurush Madhabdev. There are also the nearby Bor-Khamti and other villages—with the distinction of being crime-free—populated by Tai-Khamtis, followers of Theravada Buddhism and one of the smallest Tai ethnic groups of the Northeast.

Walking through these villages, each with its own monastery, you learn that their years are filled with spiritual festivals and rituals. That their society is hierarchical. That they have their own script – Lik-tai much like the one used by Mon in southern Myanmar. That while they are largely concentrated in Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh, some also reside in Narayanpur.

Narayanpur is also home to the Deoris, the tribe of wise people and children of the sun and moon. Experiencing life in a traditional Deori home, an exotic mix of bamboo, cane, reed and wood with a fireplace around which the family gathers, can be calming for the city-weary. Men dressed in Ikhoons or loin cloth while they stay at home and women in Ujaduba Igoon (blouse), Jokachhiba (skirt), Gathiki (Gamucha) to cover their heads and many ornaments, all going about their daily lives, make for attractive pictures.

So, while Narayanpur might appear obscure, it has a charm that few can match. Exploring the lifestyle of the indigenous tribes here, with their distinctive languages and customs, dance and music is inimitable and unforgettable. A visit here can be clubbed with Majuli—a ferry from Kamalabari to Dhunaguri Ghat and then by road to Narayanpur.

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