Monday, June 6, 2011

River Dolphins Of Kulsi In Assam

This post is also published in 1. 
                                          2. Clay clubmahindra blog
River Kulsi
                                                              Happy World Environment Day
This year we planned to celebrate the Environment Day by visiting Kukurmara a very small township at 40 kms west of Guwahati .This place attracts a lot of visitors because the river Kulsi here(one of the tributaries of river Bhramaputra)  has the presence of approx 30 odd fresh river Dolphins.Around the world only four species of fresh water Dolphins are found ,one of them being in India River Dolphin -Platanista Gagentica Gagenticahave the status of National as well as state aquatic animal of Assam.It is called Xihu (pronounced Khi-hu) in local language.In the year 1996 the IUCN(International Union For Conservation Of Nature)
gave them the status of 'Endangered Species'.

  We reached Kukurmara town in about 90 minutes.The picture above shows the way which deviates from the highway and leads toward the peaceful and an isolated spot where the Dolphins are mostly  seen.Sand mining ,poaching ,fishing and the scarcity of food are the constant threat to their numbers.The oil extracted from Xihu is believed to cure Rheumatism .
The road ahead was very narrow .Most of the people living in this area are very poor .As we parked our car in an open field we saw two men standing there.We asked them about the spot ,without any question this man(the picture below)named Moni Kalita became our voluntary guide.
 We followed him
and walked some more as the site was nearly half kilometers away .On way i asked him if they killed Xihu for eating ,he replied that it is considered  bad luck if someone kills this creature.'Xihus and we  live like good neighbors', he said.
He took us to the best spot and within few seconds after we reached we saw our first River Dolphin.After that there was no stopping ,it was amazing.The hardest part was to capture them in camera as they are pretty fast ,they just disappear in seconds.Moni told us that visitors from around the world come here carrying huge cameras and choose this very spot .
Me and my poor tiny camera. I managed to click pictures like this .It is not full and clear but i am sharing it anyway.
There were some very curious and interested audience - Gauri (daughter),Kaustubh(son) and this girl named Geeta .I could tell that they were having a great time.They asked many questions like what these fish eat and why they jump over the water .Moni explained that these Dolphins jump up to get some air and they eat small fish .
 We saw them in couples - these two Dolphins were very big in size .(bad picture ,sorry).
I managed just one shot where the mouth of the fish is visible .I have zoomed it ,look at the picture below.
 For a great picture click here .

Unlike us most of the visitors coming here hire a boat to see the Dolphins.We saw one such boat coming towards the spot.
The boat stopped nearby .The group tried to take the pictures but gave up later realizing that it was almost impossible to do so.
This boat man  shouted when he saw the camera in my hands "Baido ,mur chobi lobi ,magazineot dibi de,mur bor mon zaye "(meaning ...hey sister ,click my picture and give it to some magazine ).I promised that i will try my best.

 We sat there for almost two and half hours .We sure felt that we saw more than 30 Xihus(may be there number increased) .By that time the group got very friendly with each other.I am glad that we met them as they were so helpful and friendly .Later they refused any tips too.After shaking hands ,few hugs and saying thanks to them  we moved back to our car.
On our way back we saw  these cows.One of the boatman left his boat  unattended so these cows took the chance until
the man returned and chased them .
 We walked back to our car.Had some light refreshment we had brought along.
 On our way back we saw this very disturbing sight of 'Sand Mining '-one of the main reason threatening these beautiful creatures.To ensure their survival there is a need to take strong protective measures.


  1. कविता जी आपने तो चलो घूम ही लिया !अब हम भी देखो विचार बना रहे है !मेरे ब्लॉग पर् आने के लिए आगे लिंक पर् क्लिक करे ""

  2. interesting trip, I learned lots from your experience and photos...thanks!

  3. I was not aware of the existence of river dolphins.In a place like ours,where people would eat anything for food,such sentiments like 'endangered' would hardly work.But dolphins in general are supposed to be friendly creatures,arent they?

  4. It was a wonderful trip with you! it hardly mattered that you couldn't get close-ups of the dolphins; that's the way wildlife will always be, elusive and mysterious and exciting!

    Sand-mining is a grave problem. There are strict laws against sand-mining in Kerala, though like everywhere else, flouted without a care...

  5. Looks like a very interesting trip to undertake. I assume tourist are still not aware of this spot, otherwise they would all come in a big way and spoil the environment of this peaceful village.
    Even the picture in the newspaper is not all that clear though they have managed to capture it to some extent, it goes to show that in photographing such animals one has to have lots of patience, and be willing to wait hidden from them ready with the camera, just like the wild life photographer.
    Such good village people, you are indeed fortunate to have come across them.

  6. Wonderful shots of picturesque countryside. I ha d never heard of river dolphins and this certainly is a interesting spot for picnic.

  7. I can feel the trip was wonderful. I wonder if WWF has the river dolphins in its list of endangered creatures.
    What does poor dolphins matter in the face of money from mining?

  8. Wow dolphins near your home. had no clue they could be found in rivers too. A few years back when we had gone to Goa, we had chased them in the sea. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Hawaii's sweet sister-land!

    Aloha from Waikiki :)

    Comfort Spiral




  10. a wonderful trip for the better cause of-course....
    you celebrated the 'DAY' beautifully......

  11. that was a wonderful post!!! loved it!

  12. A beautiful post. I have learnt a lot about Assam through your blog.

  13. Kavita, I love dolphins!
    Loved this post!
    What a wonderful trip you had!
    Loved all the fantastic pictures!
    Thank you!

    Margie x

  14. Very apt post for 'environmental day', Kavita!

    'Xihus and we live like good neighbors', he said....these superstitions of our people help them and other birds survive. I remember reading about some village in Tamilnadu worshipping the migratory birds and helping them to breed there. They nearly mingle with the local people there without fear. I will get the link sometime.

    Spending 2 and a half hours in this serene place is divine, Kavita. You are bringing up your children also as 'nature loving' people, like you! They will always remember these trips!

    Nice pictures with so much greenery, thank you!

  15. beautiful , I remember there was this place near bhubhneshwar we had gone there to see dolphins.. It was a nice experience ..
    loved the pics


  16. Great,
    I remember spotting a dolphin while crossing the river Ganges. "Shushuk" is the name in Kolkata

  17. Wow.

    Good pictures. First time for me about dolphins in river. Seems like you had good time.


  18. Kavita, this is very interesting post. And I? I did this weekend was in town, in a large city in Germany, it was a very interesting trip. Thank you for this wonderful post. I wish you all the best. Enjoy life

  19. first of all until now I didn't ralize that such dolphins exists:)
    what a wonderful nature and plants!

  20. Upendra Shukla :Thanks for your visit and comment.

    Lin Floyd:Thanks.

    Dr. Antony:Yes,they are friendly and in fact seemed to love the presence of humans.

    Balachandran V :You are right ! Thanks.

    Rama : In a way it is good that the place is still unknown to many .Good for the Dolphins.Thanks.

    Rajesh :yes,it was like a picnic .River Dolphins is now our National aquatic animal.Thanks.

    Anil Kurup :yes,it all comes down to money.Thanks.

    Abha Midha:Yes,they are just forty km away from my home.Thanks.

    Irfanuddin :Thanks a lot.

    Cloudia:it is indeed .Mahalo .

  21. Magic Eye:thanks.


    Margie:they are lovable creatures.Thanks:)

    Sandhya:i felt the same way that superstitions do work in favor at times.I too have heard about the link you mentioned here.Thanks for the compliments,means a lot to me.


    Bikram:these are found in Orissa too.Thanks.

    Sumandebrae:hey,nice to see you.Thanks.

    A :we had a great time Amrit.Thanks.

    Grandmas Scrapbook:i totally loved that one.Thanks.

    Ola:many are unaware of these beauties.Thanks for liking the post.

  22. Lovely! Never seen dolphins yet :) It must be a treat for sure.

    Sad about the sand mining. Its happening everywhere I guess. They dont understand what harm it could cause for the ecosystem

  23. What a WONDERFUL outing you and your family had, Kavita!!! I loved every photo you posted. Too bad you couldn't get good photos of the dolphins, but such is life. lol. Your kids are adorable. So cute.

  24. That was a lovely trip! Thank you for taking us along.

  25. ohh I have never been there though heard a lot about Xihu ...
    beautiful captures... must be fun for the kids :D

  26. Amazing landscape, excellent natural beauty and stunning pictures!

  27. Amazing trip, never seen Dolphins myself... Must be a fabulous experience... Beautiful pics and you have given a very detailed account of the journey... Loved it.
    Have a nice day:)

  28. Very beautiful pictures with amazing landscape and marvellous photopraphy. I am sure that you had a lovely and memorable trip.

  29. Insignia :it was a treat specially for the kids.Thanks.

    Gigi :lol:)than you so much Glenda.

    NRI Girl:thanks a lot:)

    @Rajlakshmi:it was fun,you must visit it sometime.Thanks.

    @Phivos:thank you so much.


    Arti:thanks a lot:)


  30. Getting to see a lot of places through your blog. I really enjoyed the pictures. They tell it all about how serene the place is. And about sand mining , yes its a real great threat for the life in water. Not sure how to put an end to it, but we need to.

  31. Lovely Trip and Lovely Pics. :)

  32. oi tesouro.
    passei para te desejar um ótimo inicio de semana.
    com muita saúde serenidade e amor.

    bacione da itália

  33. I love the way you include a photograph alongside every step of the journey. A wonderful post, I've enjoyed my virtual trip, thank you.

  34. The best thing a mom can do to make her kids aware of the environment on such a day ....great read.

  35. very nice pictures like a story book...
    it fun to visit these places

  36. This is very interesting and I enjoyed all your pictures. I never knew there were river Dolphins, thanks for sharing this. I always like it when my friends show parts of the country they live in, and thanks for the link.

  37. Ashwini:glad you enjoyed the post.Thanks.

    Juxtaposition:Thanks Jyothi.

    Casas de fifa:thanks a lot.

    Petty Witter:thanks for liking the post.

    Harman:Than you so much.

    Bhavya B:Glad to see you here.Thanks.

    Margaret Cloud: blogger is a nice platform to tell and learn about each others places and culture.Thanks a lot.

  38. You always share such interesting things Kavita. First time I heard of this one and lovved it :) Hope I get the chance to visit all these places sometime :)

  39. Those are wonderful pictures even though you could not capture the dolphins :). On our recent trip to Goa, we went to see the dolphins. It seems that at the stretch where the river meets the sea one can locate the dolphins. But, as we went from the tranquil river to the frothy sea, the boat started jumping up and down. The waves were rough so the boatmen turned back and we could not see the dolphins. I wish there were river dolphins there too. Like here, even goa is plagued with iron ore mining which is killing the environment. The place you went to is lush green and so beautiful. Good that you took your kids in the lap of nature. Nice post.

  40. nice pictures .....specially they three child !! good work ....

  41. Bou, you know I went to this place some 12 years ago. And, it looks just the way it was then. Great to see that there are people who despise spice and change. Its a beauty and as he said, A thing of beauty is joy forever. Loved it.

  42. that seems to be a delightful trip...
    actly never heard of River kulsi before...
    thanks for lettign us know..

  43. What a wonderful and interesting trip, Kavita! Love your photos and I, too, learned a lot from your experience! Hope your week is going well! I do appreciate your visit/comment! Thank you!


  44. Swaram:i hope you do Swathi:)Thanks.

    Rachna:even i want to visit Goa ,just waiting for my son to grow up little more.Thanks .

    Vivek :thanks a lot.

    Tituraj:well well well -look who was here.Thanks Moon:)

    Deeps:thank you so much.

    Sylvia:was away from blogger for a long period so could not visit earlier.Thanks.

  45. I enjoyed seeing the pictures and reading your descriptions. Tried to see the dolphins in your pictures too.
    Thanks for comment on my blog.

  46. Thanks Kiran .I repeat ,you are an inspiration.Thanks to Amrit introducing you to us .

  47. super post with super pix...hey u r a born motivational Dr..v r lucky 2 have u as friend..

  48. hii


    I really long to visit such natural places. btw i love dolphins, they seem to be smiling all the time :)

  49. Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!

  50. wow! lovely place... and must be wonderful to spot river dolphins

  51. Wow..!! i heard a lot about Assam's river dolphins from my room mate.Now this was good that you gave photo tour.Its a nice environment day gift to all of us and your kids.
    Keep writing :)

  52. क्या बात है.. पहली बार आपके ब्लाग पर आया। सच में बहुत अच्छा लगा।

  53. That was really thoughtful of you to take the kids for such a outing on the World Environment Day. Thais love of Nature instilled in them will certainly add to efforts of conservation of the river dolphins. And as usual good natural shots. Loved it.

  54. wow! the pics are beautiful! I would love to travel to that part of India sometime soon! Lucky you :)

  55. Interesting read and trip. I love countryside

  56. Kavita,

    Where did my comment vanish? Cyber-space, is it? Enjoyed the good description and photographs. Tempted to make a visit.

    Take care

  57. 。˛♥



    。˚ ˚ ˛✿♪♫♪

  58. This is such an interesting post, Kavita and I love all your photos! I'd have sat there several hours too.

    Thank you so much for your visits. I'm still so horribly jet lagged. I don't know what's the matter with me. I'm trying to get through the thousands of photos that were taken by three cameras and it's exhausting! Sigh.

  59. Nice pics... I enjoyed your post! :)


  61. I never knew such simple places exist where you find so much of fulfilling expereinces.

    Thanks for sharing it with people like me.

  62. Wow. Love the pictures. So glad that you decided to share them..