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Day 99: Majuli to Kaziranga

Michael Palin - HimalayaAt 6.30 in my monastic cell in the satra's guesthouse in Kamalabari town, I'm woken with a cup of 'bed tea'. The tea, milk and sugar have been boiled up together in the Indian fashion. There are no windows in my room but I can tell the sun's up by the pattern cast on my wall from a ventilation grille. A cow moos brusquely, crows screech in the trees nearby.

A bucket of hot water is delivered next and I take it into my dark, stained cubicle of a bathroom, looking round rather hopefully for the giant spider with whom I shared it last night. He seemed a friendly sort. Unable to find him, I wash carefully, nose pursed against the reek of the drains.

I'm at the satra by seven. From inside the Kirtanghar comes the sound of ragas being practised, and outside a class of a dozen young boys are being taught the 64 exercise positions needed to learn dancing. They're pretty good at back rolls and walking on their hands but less deft at the ora position, which requires them to balance on one leg, with the other straight out, almost doing the splits.

A young monk who has just finished milking the cow is washing himself clean under one of the old handle pumps. There's no running water here.
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  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 99: Majuli to Kaziranga
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Majuli Island
  • Book page no: 231

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  • Eating
  • Day 5 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 3 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 6 
  • Pole to Pole