Kala meaning ‘color black’ and Mati meaning soil, Kalamati would be the name of a place where the soil is black – in fact, one of the blackest we have ever got our eyes upon — thanks to the abundance of various salts and other ores. Kalamati is situated on the banks of a stream, also named as Kalamati that works as the border for India and Bhutan. Not quite famous in the tourism scene of India, Kalamati is a popular picnic destination for locals of Chirang district in Assam. However, the locals of Chirang district are not the only ones who frequent this place for their vacations or day outs! The elephants from the neighboring forest cover are also a very common sight here, for they have genetically accumulated knowledge about this place for their needs of nutritious salts found in the waters of the stream.
On our trip as the Ambassadors Of Bodoland with Bodoland Tourism for the Dwijing Fest 2019, we got onto an excursion to this place so remote and charming, we thought why not share our experience and the knowledge of this.
What and Where is Kalamati
Kalamati, among the foothills of North East Indian Himalaya and a bit south of Bhutan, is one of the famous tourist destinations of the newly formed Chirang District in Assam, with parts of already existing districts of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta. All these districts are part of BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council).
In 2006, an additional 350 sq km of forest cover was added to the Manas National Park and Kalamati is this additional land located about 48 KM from Bongaigaon.
Getting to Kalamati
It is an hour drive from Bongaigaon to Kalamati, but there are no roads, only dirt tracks. One can enter into Kalamati through the dense forests of Manas National Park. Being a totally unexplored destination, the tourist requirements and support systems are being set up and it is advised that one gets in touch with the local officials.
A visit to any national park requires a lot of diplomatic formalities, but for us it was taken care of by the lovely team of Root Bridge Foundation.
Highlights of Kalamati
If the hour long drive through the dense forest of Manas National Park was not enough we were greeted by a sight that is so unique to this place. A wild Himlayan stream coming down from the high altitude, its banks laden with boulders of almost white color in all shapes and sizes and an unknown peace — all works so well just like the water hops on these boulders, even for a person who’s been down for a while.
Admiring all the natural beauty spread across a giant Himalayan canvas, I heard someone say something about finding something exotic. Turned out it was about some colonies of beetles! Now you would say what is so exciting about finding some beetles, well these weren’t any ordinary ones. This species of beetle is one of the most sought after edible insects and it has a very good market value too! As told by locals it goes around 40,000 rupees per kilo. When you see something so exotic and rare with an added advantage of trying your taste buds on, take our advice – just don’t miss it!
Apart from the beetle, we got our hand on locally made Pitha, a mix of sticky rice, sugar and sesame seeds. As the sun got higher in the sky we bid our goodbyes to Kalamati and headed back to our hotel.
Well, among the other information that one might need would be those usual “the best times to visit” and “the best places to stay in Kalamati”, the answers would be the winter season and nothing as such, respectively for now. These hidden gems of Assam are definitely a new definition of the ‘offbeat’ and if you are up for it, do let us know so that we can get you in touch with the local contacts around here in Bodoland.