“Kaziranga” our guide declared, “We will go to Kaziranga today.” The journey from Kohima in Nagaland to Dimapur was bad. It is being broadened, new road is being made. Dust everywhere and big huge trees on the side. Perhaps we should visit this during monsoon, but that thought is frightening! Forest is quite dense.
Dimapur to Kaziranga is not exactly a good road, but when you travel from Kohima to Dimapur, you define ‘good’ differently!
“Why do they call this town ‘Kaziranga?’” I asked Lulu, my parrot. If there was a prize among avians for GK [general knowledge, silly!] it would have gone to Lulu, no doubt.
“Must be something to do with rhinos”
“You equate rhinos with Kaziranga, ha ha! There is a lot of wild life in Kaziranga. Have you heard of ‘Kajir Ronghangpi’?”
Nope! I nodded. Lulu fluttered his wings and jumped on my shoulder. “Let us go, I will guide you to Kajir Ronghangpi’s statue.” Guides all over the world parrot history, here I was having a parrot as my guide! “Here” he said and stopped.
There was a statue of Kajir Ronghangpi.
“Read the inscriptions below the statue” Lulu reminded me of my primary school teacher. [I can only confide that they were as beautiful as this Lulu! Oh, we are digressing…]
“Okay, Let me read it aloud …..
‘Legend has it that Kajir Ronghangpi, daughter of Hok Ronghang, was taken to and brought up in the abode of Gods and Goddesses. On attaining divinity and being blessed with certain divine powers, Kajir Ronghangpi came down to earth in search of her natural parents and brothers. Kajir Ronghangpi rebuilt the territory built by her father in and around the present Kaziranga National Park area. She brought ‘Kindu’ [Rhinocerous] with her for tilling with. Kajir Ronghangpi went back to the abode of Gods leaving the Kindu [Rhinocerous] in the territory.
The name Kaziranga came from the blessed Kajir Ronghangpi.’”
“Yes sir! One question.”
“Are there places in India named after women, like Kaziranga?”
“Why, there are at least a hundred Indira Nagars in India”
“Oh yes. And a few after Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi”
“And Kalpana Chawla…. A hill on Mars will be named after her. But nobody leaves a rhino behind!” Lulu spotted the difference in pictures. “And read this in Livemint ‘Within about 10km from each other in central Delhi lie three roads named after women. Once you have crossed leafy Amrita Shergill Marg, made your way past Kasturba Gandhi Marg and stopped at Mother Teresa Crescent Road, you’ll have to look pretty hard to find another named after a woman.’ Delhi, like other cities, exists in a manscape!” Never ever ask a GK question to Lulu, you feel as if you are dud as a dodo.
“Okay, okay. This story of man’s world takes the cake! But tell me, did anybody ever use a rhino for tilling?”
“I don’t know. You are going to visit the Kaziranga National Park early morning tomorrow. Check if you would like to try domesticating a rhino” Lulu jumped from my shoulder on to my head and laughed.
Vivek S Patwardhan