Assam : The Land of Rhinos, Tea Gardens, Red-Rivers & Blue Hills
Assam is a state in Northeast India which is divided into 32 administrative districts and its state capital is Dispur. Guwahati is the commercial hub of Assam and recently coined as 'One of the smart cities in India' by the GOI. Assam comprises the Brahmaputra Valley and the Barak Valley along with the Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts with an area of 30,285 square miles. Assam is surrounded by Seven States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Sikkim. Geographically Assam and these states are connected to the rest of India via a 22 kilometres (14 mi) strip of land in West Bengal called the Siliguri Corridor or "Chicken's Neck". Assam shares international border with Bhutan and Bangladesh. Assam became a part of British India after the British East India Company occupied the region following the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824–1826.
Assam is a celestial tourist destination and has a lot of overwhelming attractions to offer to travelers. From its lush green meadows and fertile plains to the enormous Brahmaputra River and the beautiful hills or the Blue Mountains and the wonderful looking tea plantations to the rich flora and fauna. Assam is endowed with natural beauty, no wonder Assam Tourism has flourished over the years and still growing every day. Tourism in Assam is essentially nature based, therefore, natural parks and sanctuaries, rivers, lakes, warm water springs, forests, wild life, are the principal components of tourist attraction.
Art & Handicraft
The richness of the art and handicrafts of Assam beautifully reflects the bountifulness of its culture. The craftsmen here have long perfected the art of creating wonderful objects from very ordinary products. The craftsmen make several handicrafts apart from the famous silk fabric and cane and bamboo products. Different regions of Assam are known for their different forms of art and handicrafts.Typically, Art and Handicrafts Of Assam include - Pottery, Bamboo, wood and Cane products, Metal Crafts, Brass-wares, Hand-looms etc.
Dance & Festival
Assam's love for life is vividly reflected in their dance and music. They dance for harvest, they dance for marriage, they dance for religious ceremonies, for dance and music are the indispensable components of their lives and festivities. Assam is a home to several tribes and each tribe has its own dance form. In Assam, this art form is not only meant for entertainment but holds profound religious importance too. Famous Dance forms & festivals of Assam are Bihu Dance, Sattriya Dance, Bodo dance, Bramhaputra festival, Tea festival, Elephant festival etc. Bihu dance and Huchory are performed during the Bohag Bihu festival every April of the year.
An attractive feature of the Assam’s forestry is its colourful wildlife. Some of species are exclusive to the state. Assam is famous for its one-horned rhino. Some of the endangered species found in the state are hollock gibbon, the stamp tailed macaque, the capped langur, the golden langur, the pigmy hog, the clouded leopard, the golden cat, the white winged wood-duck etc. All these can make Assam as one of the best destination of the tourists. There are five National Parks and eleven wildlife and bird sanctuaries for protection and preservation of wildlife in the state. The five National Parks – Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Orang and Dibru-Saikhowa.
Food, Hotel & Climate
Food - Most of the culinary delights of Assam are prepared from rice. Some of the rice dishes are joha, indica and japonica. The non vegetarian delights are different varieties of fishes. Tenga is an important traditional dish of Assam. Assamese prefer non-spicy food. Accomadation - Being a famous tourist destination Assam is dotted with numerous hotels. From four star hotel to budget hotel Assam offers several accommodation options to its tourists. Most of the hotels are located in the centre of the city. Climate - The best time to visit Assam is From October to April. The climate is very pleasant during this period.
How to reach
Air: The only international airport is at Guwahati. Domestic airports are Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and Silchar.
Rail: A good network of rail connect the state with all the major cities of India.
Road: Good network of National highways and other roads make the state accessible from the major cities of India.
The primary language is Assamese. Bengali and English are also spoken. Come and witness the the sprawling beauty of Assam which would leave you mesmerized urging you to visit again
POPULAR ATTRACTIONS & TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN ASSAM
1) GUWAHATI : Guwahati is the largest city of Assam, a major riverine port city and one of the fastest growing cities in India.
a) Kamakhya Temple: Kamakhya Temple is one of the most famous temples in Guwahati. This temple is dedicated to the Mother Goddess Kamakhya, the essence of female energy. It is one of the 108 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Durga. Myth says that Kamakhya came into existence when Lord Shiva was carrying the burnt corpse of his wife Sati, and her "yoni" (female genitalia) fell to the ground at the spot where the temple now stands. The temple is a natural cave with a spring.
b) Bhuvaneswari Temple : Perched on tip of the Nilachal hill further above the Kamakhya temple, this age old temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is located. The panoramic view of the entire city can be enjoyed from the Bhuvaneswari Temple. Since, it is also a temple dedicated to Goddess Durga the Ambubachi a fair takes place in large scale here.
c) Umananda temple: The Umananda temple is located on a small island on the Brahmaputra River. The island is called Peacock Island and perhaps is the smallest river island in the world. To visit this place you will need to take a ferry ride from the banks.
d) Botanical zoo : Assam State Zoo is one of the most prominent attractions of Guwahati , the zoo is home to an astounding collection of rare and endangered species of wildlife. Some of the most photographed animals here include the rare one-horned-rhinoceros, the rarer white tigers, swamp tapirs and leopards. The zoo also comprises of animal exhibits, a museum, a reptile house, a botanical garden and a herbarium collection.
e) Assam Rajyik State Museum: It is world of knowledge where you can discover and bask in the history, culture and heritage of Assam. The library at the museum has a plethora of ancient books and scripts. The museum has on display the dress, the jewelry and the weapons used by the tribal folks in Assam. The exhibits in the museum include ivory paintings, metal idols, wood items, costumes and ancient sculptures.
2) MAJULI : The biggest river island in the world, Majuli is located on the river Brahmaputra in Assam and is formed by Brahmaputra in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti joined by the river Subansiri in the north. Majuli has been the cultural capital of the Assamese civilization since the 16th century and its main village, Naghmar, hosts all the important events, festivals and prayers. A good learning center for neo-Vaishnavite philosophy, there are 22 Vaishnava Satras in the city, the first of which was established in the 15th century by Sankaradeva, the father of Assamese culture. These attract a lot of tourists and the The festivals of Majuli are another crowd puller.
3) HILL STATIONS:
Diphu: Diphu is the Head Quarter to Karbi Anglong District and 271 kms from Guwahati by road. It is connected by N. F. Railway and State Transport Buses from Guwahati. Nearest Airport is Dimapur 54 kms.
Umrangshu: The distance from Guwahati to Umrangshu is 224 kms by road. The biggest Hydel plant has come up under North East Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) with dams in the Kopili river. Near Umrangshu, there is a Hot spring (GARAMPANI), the water of which is believed to have medicinal value.
Jatinga: Jatinga is situated 9 kms from Haflong town. It is especially famed for its mysterious migratory birds which arrive in the district in the month of August and September, making the place picturesque and colourful. The place is also intriguing owing to the sad phenomenon of the suicide of migratory birds in this place. It is said that in the moonless foggy night accompanied by gentle drizzle, when the breeze blows from south to north, these migratory birds commit suicide and descend to the ground.
Haflong: Up in the rugged terrains stands Assam's only hill station Haflong where one can see the rainbow down below. It is the district Head Quarter of North Cachar hills District. A beautiful big lake "Haflong Lake" is located in the heart of the Haflong town. Haflong is 345 kms by road from Guwahati and connected by N. F. Railway and State Transport Buses ply from Guwahati.
Maibong: Located on the Bank of Mahur river and 47 kms from Haflong. Maibong once flourished as the capital of Dimasa, Kachari Kingdom. Stone house and temple of Kachari king can be seen at Maibong.
4) NATIONAL PARKS
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary: Situated in the floodplains of the mighty Brahmaputra River, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the endangered one-horned-rhinoceros. Although quite small for a sanctuary, the density of rhinoceros in Pobitora is quite high. You can even get very close to the rhinos during an elephant ride in the sanctuary. The swampy marshlands of Pobitora are not only ideal for rhinos but also provide shelter to other animals such as feral semi-wild buffalo, wild boar and jackal. Jeep safaris and elephant rides are a must do for every wildlife enthusiast in Pobitora.
Orang Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary sprawled over an area of 72 sq. km, is only 65 km from Tezpur. The animals which this area includes are the one-horned rhinoceros, buffalo, leopard, sambhar, barking deer and tiger.
Nameri National Park: Near the Jia Bhoroli river, the Nameri National Park spreads over from Assam to Aruachal Pradesh. As in Kaziranga, the best way to travel within the Park is atop elephants. There are no roads inside the park. The park is home to the Mithun or Indian bison and the rare White Winged Wood Duck, among the most endangered avian species in the world.
Manas National Park: Manas National Park is famous for the Majestic Tigers. This park is the only Project Tiger in Assam. The sub-Himalayan hills forms the back drop of this park. Manas is also noted for its population of the rare golden langur - found only in this part of the country. Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog and Golden Langur are some of the rare species of animals to be found in the park apart from the Tiger. Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Sambar, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer are some of the animals which are easily spotted at this park. Come winter and Manas is full of Migratory birds like the Riverchats, Forktails, Cormorants and ducks like the Ruddy Shelduck. There are regular woodland birds like the Indian Hornbill and Pied Hornbill.
Pabha or Milroy Sanctuary: Located in Lakhimpur Dist., Pabha Sanctuary spreads in an area of 49 sq. kms. This Sanctuary was created to protect the wild water buffalo. Details can be obtained from the Chief Conservator of forest, Wildlife, Zoo- Narengi Road, Guwahati- Assam.
Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary: Slightly larger than the Pabha Sanctuary, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 175 sq. kms. It is located along the foothills of Himalayas in Sonitpur District. This park combines scenic beauty with the exotic wildlife. It is the home for Elephant, Indian Bison and many other species of birds & animals.
Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary: Famous for wild horses.This sanctuary is a safe haven for extremely rare white winged wood duck and many migratory birds. Speciality of Dibru Saikhowa is it's wild horses, called Feral Horses. Margherita- 14 kms east of Digboi, this is the centre of Tea Gardens, Plywood factories and coal mines. Namdapha National Park- 100 km east of Digboi in Arunachal Pradesh beyond Margherita is a true wilderness, not widely known and is a vast stretch of enchanting beauty of lush green vegetation.
Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary: It is situated in the Nagaon Dist. Laokhowa wildlife Sanctuary is just 15 kms from Nagoan town so the park can be visited while staying at Nagaon. This park is famous for one horned Rhinos, wild buffalo, Swamp deer and many varieties of birds.
5) SIBSAGAR: The town, which literally means 'the ocean of Lord Shiva', is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire. The most remarkable landmark of the town is the 200 year old Sibsagar tank. On its banks are three significant temples - Shivadol, Vishnudol and Devidol. Modern Sibsagar is a fast developing urban settlement. It is the headquarters of the district Sibsagar, a leading tea and oil producing centre. Places to see -
Kareng Ghar & Talatal Ghar - These historical monuments were built by King Rudra Singha during 1696-1714 AD was the military station of the Ahom Kings. It is a seven storied palace having three storeys underground- known as Talatal Ghar and the the upper storeys known as Kareng Ghar. The entire structures are of historical and architectural interest.
Gargaon Palace - Gargaon, the erstwhile capital of the Ahoms, lies 13 km east of Sibsagar. The old palace built in 1540 was destroyed, and the present seven-storeyed palace, known as Kareng Ghar, was rebuilt around 1762, by King Rajeshwar Singha.
Rang Ghar - This amphitheatre was built by King Pramatta Singha. This two storeyed oval shaped pavilion is one of the largest of its kind.
Charaideo - An another old capital of the Ahom kings, Charaideo, built by the founder of the Ahom dynasty, Sukapha lies 28 km east of Sibsagar. It is famous for the 'maidans' or burial vaults of the members of the royalty.
Joysagar - Joysagar, believed to be the largest man-made lake in India, sprawls over 318 acres on the edge of Sibsagar town. Another highlight is the Ahom Museum on the bank of the Sibsagar, which houses artifacts of the Ahom rulers, which include clothes, swords, manuscripts, goblets and platters.
Jaysagar Tank and Temples - The Jaysagar tank was built by King Rudra Singha in 1697. On its bank are three highly revered temples - Joydol, Shivdol and Devidol.
Gaurisagar Tank and Temples - The Gaurisagar tank was built by Queen Phuleshwari Devi. Standing on its bank are three temples - Vishnudol, Shivdol and Devidol.
Rudrasagar Tank and Temples - The Rudrasagar tank was built by King Lakshmi Singha in 1773. It is 8 km from Sibsagar.
Namdang Stone Bridge - the Namdang Bridge, cut out from a single solid rock over the Namdang river, was constructed by king Rudra Singha in 1703. Today, the National Highway 37, passes over this bridge.
6) TEZPUR: Undulating green valley’s surrounded by the lofty hills and snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, and lush tea gardens render Tezpur a tourist's delight. Places to see:
Cole Park - It is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful places in Tezpur. Established by a British Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Cole, the park has two massive ornamented stone pillars, and the sculptural remnants of the famous Bamuni Hills.
Agnigarh - This is the site of the legendary romance of princess Usha (the only daughter of king Bana) and Anirudha. Usha was imprisoned inside the palace which was surrounded by a wall of fire. The present day Agnigarh, now only a hillock facing the Brahmaputra, provides a panoramic view of the great river and Tezpur.
Bamuni Hills - The ruins of Bamuni Hills are famous for their exemplary artistic finesse. The sculptural remains date back to the ninth and tenth century A.D. The Bhairavi and Mahabhairab (where king Bana worshipped Mahabhairab, an incarnation of Shiva) temples and the twin tanks of Bar Pukhuri and Padum Pukhuri are the other architectural attractions of Tezpur.
The Hazara Pukhuri - It is a large tank which preserves the name of Hazara Varman in Tezpur. It was excavated in the early part of the 19th century. This is the third largest tank in the area sprawled over 70 acres.