6/16/2011 to 6/20/2011 | Assam , India

Guwahati

I had passed through Guwahati on a number of occasions always en route to somewhere else more interesting. But I had never really given the city a shot, being turned off by relatively high price of accommodation, at least that in which foreigners are permitted to stay.  Despite a wall full of keys behind the reception desk indicating rooms unfilled by customers I would get the “all full” response and be directed to the most expensive hotel in town.  My lodging problems in Guwahati were solved when Aiyush, a freelance writer, from Guwahati offered to host me.  A friend of a friend, Aiyush had contacted me about using some pictures in a book he was writing on the food of the Northeast.  With the accommodation problem solved and a local to help me explore the city, I decided to give the city another shot.  My visit had fortunately coincided with the preparations for the upcoming Ambubachi Mela at Guwahati’s most revered temple the Kamakhya Mandir.  For a photographer it was perfect timing, as Sadhus and pilgrims descended on the Kamakhya Mandir from all over the Northeast and Bengal.  After my first visit to the Kamakhya Mandir and immediately recognizing the photographic potential I decided I would stay in Guwahati through the festival.In addition to a couple visits to the temple I accompanied Aiyush to a number of local events he was writing about in his weekly column on Northeast culture in the local newspaper.  I even became the subject of one his reporter friend’s article. Prompting a minor celebrity incident, where I man came up to meet me not just because he wanted to meet the foreigner, but because he had just read about me in the paper and recognized me from the accompanying picture.  My 5 seconds of fame.  It only happened once.

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