Highway On My Podcast Ep 8: Ghost peppers in Tezpur, and searching for the white-winged wood duck

A trip down memory lane.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Has the coronavirus pandemic disrupted your plan to take that long trip? Is the ongoing lockdown making you crave going off-road? Fret not. If you can’t go to the highway, Rocky, Mayur, Prashant, and Abhinandan — the team behind shows like Highway On My Plate, Vital Stats of India, Jai Hind, and Rocky and Mayur's Food Xpress — will bring the highway to you!

So, here goes the newest offering from Newslaundry: Highway On My Podcast. The creators of the much loved TV travel show revisit their travels across India, sharing stories, anecdotes, trivia, and — for when the roads are open and inviting again — recommendations on food, culture, people, and much more.

In this episode, Rocky, Mayur and Abhinandan return to the land of the Brahmaputra: Assam.

Rocky talks about what makes Assam one of his favourite states, saying time slows down when you’re there. To feel the essence of the state, he says, one must listen to Bhupen Hazarika’s music.

Before driving out of Guwahati, the gang visited the Kamakhya temple in the capital city. As Abhinandan reminisces about the beautiful view of the city from the temple, Rocky issues a brief caveat for anybody planning to visit: Because of the religious beliefs associated with the temple, you might stumble upon animals, big and small, being sacrificed in the wee hours which, as he puts it, might be difficult for the “faint of heart”. Abhinandan reiterates that if you avoid dropping by in the early hours of the day, the temple is a must-visit for anyone travelling to Assam.

Abhinandan talks about his favourite Parampara Thali and scrumptious mutton curry and amla shots at the Paradise hotel. Mayur also describes trying “pithika” for the first time here. Delving into their food memories from Assam, Rocky recollects seeing boards saying “Pijon Curry” everywhere, only to realise later that it’s a pigeon curry. The curry is so famous in Assam that pigeon meat is the most consumed bird meat in the state.

Heading towards Tezpur, Rocky, Mayur and Abhinandan talk about their experience of trying what was then the spiciest chilli in the world: the Bhootjholakiya, or “ghost pepper”. While Mayur, being a zoologist by qualification, explains the scientific metric by which spice is measured. Rocky, being a foodie at his core, explains the preparation they ate. Mayur also narrates the folklore behind how the chilli got its name.

Moving out of Tezpur, Rocky talks about the Nameri National Park in Sonitpur and the adventure of looking for the white-winged wood duck, which is also the state bird of Assam. The gang discusses the wide variety of sweets that Assam has to offer, the dense and vivacious range of flora and fauna, the experience of shooting in one of the most beautiful boarding schools in the country, the Assam Valley School, and what makes Rocky return to the Kaziranga National Park again and again.

On a side note, you’ll also discover the story behind Rocky Singh’s name. All this and more, only on Highway On My Podcast.

For more trivia and behind the scenes moments from Rocky and Mayur’s travels across India, sign up for the HOMP newsletter.

You can also find the podcast on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Castbox | Pocket Casts | TuneIn | Stitcher | SoundCloud | Hubhopper | Overcast | JioSaavn | Podcast Addict | Headfone


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