Deepor Beel – A Morning Done Right

“We’ll leave at dawn”, announced my brother-in-law (BIL) in his usual style as we were getting done with dinner. BIL and I are partners in crime when it comes to exploring nature and have our tiny little adventures each time we meet in my hometown, Shillong. This time we were at Guwahati, about 100 Km. away from Shillong as I had accompanied them – BIL and cousin sister – for some work they had in the city.

Whenever in Guwahati, BIL never misses an opportunity to visit Deepor Beel, which is quite understandable given his hobby of bird watching and bird photographing. It was my demand that he takes me along sometime, which he was acceding this time.

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Pic 1: Fisherman are already way into their day’s chores even as morning just breaks in

I was up before dawn. The anticipation and excitement of going for an early morning drive was incentive enough to get me out of the laziness of a cozy bed on a chilly December morning. It was Christmas Eve and the dip in temperature was as expected.

Soon we set off towards our destination, which was a good 45 minutes away. We drove along the well tarred road with easily navigable twists and turns, chit-chatting in the warm coziness of the car accompanied by a light music in the background. The darkness of the night was gradually fading away with the sun peeping in the horizon spreading its soft and warm glow.

A perfect start to the morning it was!

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Pic 2: The sun peeps through giving way to morning light

Located in the south western part of Guwahati city, Deepor Beel is a freshwater lake that is surrounded by highlands on the northern and southern side. The word beel means lake in the local Assamese language while dipa means elephant in one of the indigenous dialects. So, Deepor Beel literally translates as Lake of Elephants.

With a total area of 40 sq.km, it is considered to be the largest lake in Brahmaputra Valley and is fed by Kalmani and Basistha Rivers. A part of the lake has been declared as a wildlife Sanctuary and that is where we were headed that morning.

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Pic 3: A tiny island of a place somewhere in the vast lake

As we drove along, I noticed the lake making its appearance on the right side of the road illuminated by the soft rays of the morning sun. We parked the car and stepped out when I noticed a railway track right in front of us just on the other side of the road. So focused I was on the lake that I hadn’t noticed the railway line until now.

I wondered just how nice it would be to see a train pass by and instantaneously, as if by magic, along came a train chugging away. Taken by sheer delight, BIL and I cheerfully waved at the passengers and made our way towards the lake.

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Pic 4: The train that delighted us

The beel is a natural habitat to many varieties of birds and aquatic vegetation like water hyacinth, aquatic grasses, water lilies and other submerged and floating vegetation. On the entrance was a signboard that mentioned about the lake providing direct and indirect livelihood to fourteen indigenous villages comprising of about 1,200 families that are located in its precincts. Woah! Quite a number I thought!

Another signboard mentioned about this being an elephant corridor making me wish to see a herd pass by right then, which sadly didn’t happen.

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Pic 5: Aquatic vegetation submerged and floating

At the lake, I stared at the vast expanse of water trying to figure out if I could see land at the horizon; I watched the fishermen diligently cast their nets every now and then, wondering what kind of fishes they were catching; I followed BIL trying to make sense of the various birds he was photographing while he tried explaining some of the species to me; and most of all I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the early morning hour with nobody other than the two of us.

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Pic 6: The train line continues as a bridge on one side of the lake

With our Christmas Eve started right, we soon headed back home where my sister greeted us with warm tea and hot breakfast.

Leaving you with pictures of Kites, Swallows, and Herons that BIL clicked that day.

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Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

43 thoughts on “Deepor Beel – A Morning Done Right”

  1. Such was your quieter moments:

    In quiet moments, like these, one can be related with higher world and one sees one’s remoteness from it and one has remorse. In these moments, one has been freed from the usual worldly moments, and one is quiet and receptive.

    And, in midst of life, there are stronger moments, when one too can connect with nature and universe beyond our usual worldly affairs, and one is related with higher, one can feel the same with affirmation. One affirms oneself, but only because one is related with higher energy.

    Thank you for sharing…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for reading. Just got to know from a friend about the fragile ecosystem that this place has become and that many elephants have lost their lives in the railway track 😦
      A very good weekend to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s amazing narration and the setup Neel. I have been to Guwahati once and I really fell in love with the simplicity of the region. I don’t know where this place is with respect to the place I was in (IIT Guwahati Campus) but then I did travel to Shillong and on way stopped over a place they called “Bada Pani” it was one of the best scene ever I have seen in India. Yes, morning setup is very very special to me too. Wherever I travel I make a point to get up early to see the golden lights. Check this post where specifically focuses on that morning glory. https://www.expresseddigitally.com/travel-halebid-dwarasamudra/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Raj for visiting, reading, and commenting. So good to know that you have been to Guwahati. I am from Shillong, born and brought up there. Have written a couple of posts on Shillong too. As for Barapani, I can’t stop if I get started! It’s very special and close to my heart. For two years I have worked on the lake researching its water quality and fishery potential as part of a project on the lake. That was my best job ever! The lake, also known as Umiam Lake remains my all time favourite. I plan to write about my experiences of the lake sometime.
      I will go and read your post, thanks for sharing.
      Have you written anything about Barapani Lake? Would so love to read.

      Like

  3. This is such a serene..beautiful and engaging read and that is credited to your pictorially flawless narration…U just took me into this beautiful journey in absolute solitude and nature itself👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Among all the other water bodies, lake has always been more sacred to me. I love to see the life throbbing beneath and over it, and our world that is reflected on its surface. It inspires me to be more calm, so that I can see myself more clearly.

    While reading the post, I tried to relate your enthusiasm with my own, of visiting the lake in the early morning. It also helped me relive some good old memories by the lake side. And I thank you for that. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s an interesting way of looking at lakes. Never thought of it that way. Really like how you connected it to calmness.
      I connect more with rivers, especially the gushing ones in the mountains. They make me feel alive and give me the feeling of focus as the go about their path towards their destination. The river runs its course in just the same way without being perturbed by the things around it, which keeps changing. It remains same within and continues its journey in just the same way.

      Like

  5. Sounds lovely; a place to remember. Thanks for the description and the beautiful photos. Often, when visiting the Northeast, I’ll land in Guwahati and drive out immediately. If I spend a night in town I’ll try to make it to Deepor Beel.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Arvind, it is a wooded area. I also thought the train line was nice until I got to know after creating this post that the train line has caused death to many elephants. ….also this place is in a fragile ecological state due to necessary human interference 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Human intervention is difficult to control unless the areas are remote and difficult to access. That’s exactly a reason why we are encroaching into territory of other living beings. It seems there is no way we can control it.

        Like

  6. Beautiful, scenic writing as always, accompanied by wonderful photos. Your style of writing puts me right in the moment and I always enjoy reading it.

    I really need to find a way to make it to the northeast. It sounds truly like a bit of heaven on earth.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So BIL goes to bil/beel 😀😀..nice touch there.

    By the way, bil means lake also in Bengali (possibly dialects). There are lakes in Bengal too with ‘bil’ as part of their names, eg, Rasikbil in Cooch Behar district.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice informative write-up. I’d heard about this lake before.
    (And I would say it’s a good thought on your part to put that picture of the board describing Deepor Beel. Sort of gives legitimacy to what you’ve described).

    Liked by 1 person

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