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Assam : - Regarded as the gateway to the North East, Assam is flanked by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh in the North and the East, respectively. With a history that can be traced back to the ancient times, Assam is a land of rolling plains and shady forests. The Brahmaputra River charts its course through this state. The tourist attractions in Assam act as a potential lure for the tourists visiting this state. Indianholidays.com is your indispensable e-guide that provides you with the requisite inputs on tourist attractions in Assam.
Assam boasts of a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Seldom will you find a place that enjoys the choicest gifts of Nature ranging from the wooded hills, valleys and mountains to diverse species of plants and animals. The Kamakhya Temple is a popular tourist draw in Assam. People visiting Assam rarely miss paying a visit to this renowned Hindu shrine. Haflong is a hill station that boasts of an admirable scenic beauty. The historical city of Sibsagar is well worth a visit and features a tank that dates back to almost two centuries. The Manas National Park, counted among the popular tourist attractions in Assam has been attained the status of a World Heritage Site and is reputed tiger reserve. Any discourse on the tourist attractions in Assam is unlikely to achieve completion without the mention of the Kaziranga National Park that provides asylum to the famed one horned Rhino.
Main Cities / Town
GUWAHATI , the capital City of Assam
Guwahati is the capital of the state of Assam in the republic of India. It is the biggest, most populated, economically and technologically advanced city of north eastern India. The district of Kamrup has a very fine head quarter indeed in the city of Guwahati.
Cotton College is the foremost educational establishment in the whole of this region while Assam Engineering College (AEC), Guwahati Medical College, Assam Ayurvedic College etc. allow a lot of specialisation for those interested in further education. In recent years, the new IIT here has developed to a great extent lending credence to the avenues for excellent education in this region.
Tourist attraction of Guwahati
Umananda Temple : - The
Shiva temple of Umananda stands on an island bluff in the middle of the
Brahmaputra. Its location, at the top of a flight of steep steps up from the
beach, is more dramatic than the temple itself. Ferries and motor launches
leave from Umananda Ghat, on the shore between the State Bank of India and
the Ashok Hotel.
Kamakhya Temple :- On the commanding Nilachal hill, overlooking the river 8-km west of the centre, the important Kali temple of Kamakhya, with its beehive-shaped 'Shikhara', is a fine example of the distinctive Assamese style of architecture. As one of the 'Shaktipiths', it marks the place where Sati's 'Yoni' (vulva) landed when her body fell to earth in 51 pieces, and is one of the three most important tantric temples in India. A short walk up the hill brings one to a smaller and emptier temple with great views of Guwahati and the Brahmaputra.
Nagagraha Temple :- East
of the town centre, atop another hill, is the atmospheric Navagraha temple
popularly known as the "Temple of the Nine Planets", an ancient seat of
astrology and astronomy - surrounded by large trees that shelter tribes of
monkeys. Housed in a single red dome, again in the beehive style, the
central lingam is encircled by a further nine representing the planets.
Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalashetra : - Further from the centre of the town, the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, on Shillong road in the Panjabari district, was opened in late 1998 in order to celebrate the cultural identity of the Assamese by promoting dance, drama, music and art. Sankaradeva was a saint, poet, scholar, social reformer and preacher largely responsible for the 15th century Assamese renaissance. It houses a museum, art gallery, open-air theatre and traditional Vaishnavite temple.
Janard Temple :- Janardan Temple, built in the style of Hindu and Buddhist architecture, at Shukaleswar hillock near Shukaleswar Ghat of Brahmaputra, the heart of town, is worth seeing. It was renovated anew in 17th century.
Assam State Zoo :- Guwahati's leafy and well-managed zoo and botanical gardens are 5-km east of the centre. Animals include the one-horned rhino, the state symbol of Assam, as well as tigers and leopards.
Pandu : - A little further is the Railway Township of Pandu, named after the King Pandu. Over here is situated the temple of Pandunath on the hillock. While in forest exile, Pandavas came and lived here in the guise of Ganesha. The images of Lord Ganesha and 'Pancha Pandava' brothers are present in the temple besides other images. The image of Nrisingha (also spelt as 'Nrusimha') incarnation maintains a difference from others. Further west, the sunset at Brahmaputra is simply touching.
Basistha : - Besides a
picturesque waterfall 11-km southeast of Guwahati, two small red-domed
temples at Basistha (also spelt as Vashistha), in Assamese beehive style,
commemorate Vashistha Muni, the author of the Ramayana. Nestling within an
impressive grove of trees, with rock carvings in the stream to add to the
air of antiquity.
Hajo :- The small town of Hajo, 32-km northwest of Guwahati, has a special place in Assamese culture, having been sacred even before the Ahom arrived as Buddhists, let alone after their conversion to Hinduism? Holy to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims, it attracts pilgrims from all faiths, in apparent harmony. A long palm tree-lined stone staircase climbs a hill to the small Hindu temple of Hayagriba Madhab where, locals claim Lord Buddha gained Nirvana. Praying at the mosque of Pao Mecca situated nearby grants Muslims a quarter (Pao) of the spiritual benefit of Mecca.
Sualkuchi :- Hajo's nearby village of Sualkuchi is known for the production of golden Muga silk, that involves virtually every household and for which Assam is famous.
Madan Kamdev : - Some 40-km north of Guwahati, Madan Kamdev was the site of a tantric temple of 'Shakti' (Durga) dating back to the Pallava dynasty (11th and 12th centuries). The temple, mentioned in the tantric scriptures known as the "Yogini Tantra", was evidently destroyed, though the cause is unknown. Much of the site remains unexcavated, but a museum preserves many finds including figures in various erotic postures, indeed some archeologists claim only Khajuraho rivals the expressiveness of its erotica.
HALF LONG - hill
station of Assam.
While Shillong Hill is out of the state of Assam, a new hill emerges, at 680m high, Upper Haflong. The main language spoken over here is Dimashi. In Dimashi, Haflong means "White Ants Hillock". Haflong is a land of pleasing blue orchards and pera, pineapple and oranges. The nature of Haflong is a great attraction in itself. Add to it the picturesque beauty of Haflong Lake situated within the heart of this hill town. The scenic hill resort of Haflong, 84-km north of Silchar, is the seat of the North Cachar Hills autonomous district council, where members of several ethnic groups including Dimasas, Hmars, Nagas and Mizos, belonging to different religious denominations - Christian, Hindu and Buddhist - live together in apparent harmony.
9-km south of Haflong on the Silchar road and covered with Blue Vandas Orchids, Jatinga is famed in local folklore as the place where birds commit mass suicide. The more brutal truth is that on certain foggy, moonless nights in autumn, local migrant birds can become disorientated while flying up the valley over the saddle of the hill and are attracted with lights by local people, who clobber them to death with bamboo poles and eat them. There is a bird watching centre in Jatinga, where one may be able to stay if one can get permission from the district forestry office in Haflong. Buses to Silchar pass through, but it may be easier to make a day-trip from Haflong by auto-rickshaw.
Along the river Brahmaputra is situated Dibrugarh, the largest TEA exporting town in India. It is also the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh. Dibrugarh surrounded by tea gardens with the misty outlines of the Himalayas in the background , is worth to visit.
NH-37 links Dibrugarh and other important towns of Assam, from where A/C and non A/C deluxe coaches are availble daily. Dibrugarh is linked with Guwahati by a broad gauge line. It is also connected with other cities of country by express and superfast trains. Dibrugarh has regular air flight from major cities like Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati from its Mohanbari airport which is 17 km from the town. In Dibrugarh one can go around the tea gardens which are located in and around the town. A large number of tea estates are located along NH-37 covering large area of Dibrugarh district.
A city situated at 180 Kms. from Guwahati, steeped in Mythology, Legend and folklore--Tezpur the city of blood is an ancient city. Today ancient temple ruins and monuments are witness to its past glory. Digboi Tucked amid the blue hills and gently undulating plains carpeted with emerald green tea plantations is a place which still retains its colonial ambience.
Tourists attractions of Tezpur
Bhairabi Temple is among the oldest temples in Assam situated on the borders of Tezpur. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. From the back side of the temple, one can see the famous Kolia Bhomora Setu. On the stones of the temple, you can see intricate carvings and images that date back to 9th century. You can buy ghee lamps, sweets and fruits and can offer it to the Goddess. The temple still carries out sacrificial offerings of goats and bulls regularly.
Agnigarh literally means 'residence amidst fire'. Agnigarh is a big fortress constructed on top of a hill on the banks of Brahmaputra. To reach the top of the hill there is a circular staircase that also is a good option for trekking. On your way to the top of the hillock, you will see lot of images relating to the legend behind the construction of the fort. It is said that the fort was build by King Bana to keep her daughter away from her lover, Anirudha who was the grandson of Lord Krishna. The fort was surrounded by fire on all times which prevented anyone to come in or go out without permission. They were later saved by Lord Krishna himself. The fort is a great place to get some mesmerizing views of the surrounding low lying areas.
Situated in the center of the Tezpur, Cole Park is among the most visited attraction in the city. The parks is an an exceptionally picturesque spot that sees tourists almost on all days, but the number jumps up when it hosts a painting exhibition. It has been a venue for such exhibition since long. The park is also called as Chitralekha Udyan and is famous for Bhomaraguri inscription which is the ancient plan for building a bridge across River Brahmaputra. Apart from that you can also indulge in boating in a small lake in front of the park.
Ketakeshwar Dewal is one of the most important Hindu shrines in Tezpur. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva is said to have one of the biggest Shivalingam in the world. There are actually two parts to the temple, one where which is said to be the original place of the Shivalingam and another where the Shivalingam is located presently. Legend has it that the Shivalingam shifted its position during an earthquake. The temple is regularly
Assam's oil city with a history going back to the early 18th century, when oil was first discovered in the area. The place still continues as a tiny island of Raj culture. Digboi boasts of two modern wonders of the world-- a hundred year old oil-field still producing and the world's oldest operating oil refinery and also British life-style complemented by clubs and Golf Courses. This place is well connected by road, rail & air communication. NH-38 runs through Digboi. The nearest airport of Dibrugarh is 65 km from Digboi. A/C and non A/C deluxe coaches ply regularly from Guwahati to Digboi both day and night.
JORHAT , the tea capital of world
Nestling on the northeastern part of Assam and along a tributary of River Brahmaputra, Jorhat is an important agricultural town for Assam. It is famous for its vast lying tea gardens and is also called the 'Tea capital of the world'. Since the time of British rule, Jorhat has been the main center for tea cultivation. Before the British Raj in 1824, it was the capital of Ahom Kingdom. Then also it was a commercial center, but was destroyed completely due to numerous Burmese invasions. Though it recovered nicely to become a dominant player in Assam.
Tourist attractions of Jorhat.
Majuli Island is the largest river island in the world. Located in the middle of Brahmaputra valley, it covers an area of 1080 sq. km. There is a population of around 1.5 lakh people on the island making it the largest inhabited riverine island in the world. There are number of Satras (Monasteries) on the island that one can visit to understand the lifestyle of people living here. Around a decade ago, there were nearly 65 Satras on the island, but the number has drastically reduced to 22. This is because, every year, large chunk of Majuli gets disintegrated due to floods. This forced them to move to the main land on the shores of River Brahmaputra. The most important of the remaining Satras are Kamalabari, Auniati and Garmur. Being a wetland, it is home to some endangered species of flora and fauna. You can see number of rare species of birds, both locale and migratory. Majuli Island is a great place, if you are looking for a quite and serene vacations in nature's lap. It is located around 20 km from Jorhat mainland. The best time to visit the island is during the three day Ras Purnima festival where every person on the island participates.
Dhekiakhowa Bar Namghar
Situated close to Majuli Island, Dhekiakhowa Bar Namghar is a place of worship for Hindus. It was build by Saint Madhavdeb and its construction was completed in the year 1539. It took around 42 years to complete the grand structure. There is a throne inside the hall on which is kept a religious book that is worshiped by hundreds of Hindus everyday. Inside the room there are idols of Lord Hanuman and Lord Ananta.
Jorhat Gymkhana is one of the oldest clubs of India and is world's third oldest golf club still to be in use. Started as a recreational option for British tea planters in the year 1876, it was under the lead of J. Huttman, the then superintendent of Jorhat Tea Co. It's location was changed in the year 1885 to the place it is located at present. It remained inaccessible to Indians for more than half a century. The beautiful building that was build in 1885 by workers and raw material imported from Calcutta, still stands making it a heritage site in North Eastern part of India. It is also famous for an annual pony race that attracts many tourists and sports lovers.
Kaziranga National Park in Assam
The Kaziranga National Park is the only National
Park in the State situated in central Assam with an area of 430sq. km. It is
the home of the great Indian one horned Rhinoceros (Unicornis). The
landscape of Kaziranga is of sheer forest, tall elephant grass, rugged
reeds, mellow marshes and shallow pools.
Kaziranga has a history of its own. Lady Curzon first heard about the Rhinos of Kaziranga from her British tea planter friends and came to Assam in 1904-05. Although she could not see the animal, she spotted hoof prints with three toes and believed that such an animal did exist. On her return, she persuaded lord Curzon to do something to save this animal from total annihilation.
Lord Curzon set the wheels of the British bureaucracy rolling, and on June 1, 1905, a preliminary notification announcing the intention of the Government to declare 57,273.60 acres of Kaziranga as a reserved forest was issued. Finally, Kaziranga was declared as reserved forest on January 3, 1908, and was officially closed for shooting.
On January 28, 1913 the area of reserved forest was expanded with the inclusion of another 13,506 acres. Kaziranga was declared a Game Sanctuary on November10, 1916. In 1938, the then conservator of forest, A.J.W. Milroy stopped all poaching and opened Kaziranga to visitors. Because the word 'game' connotated animals for hunting, in 1950, the then senior conservator of forest Mr P D Stracey, changed the term to 'wildlife sanctuary'.
Gradually the sanctuary, begun as a nucleus encompassing a small area, expanded to its present size. Finally on February 11, 1974, the name was changed to Kaziranga National Park.
The one horned Rhinoceros, Elephant, Indian bison, Swamp Deer, Samber, Hog Deer, Sloth Bear, Tiger, Leopard cat, Jungle cat, Hog badger, Capped langur, Hollock gibbon, Jackal, Goose, Hornbills, Ibis, Cormorants, Egret, Heron fishing eagle etc. all form a part of the very complex ecological balance of the park. During Winter a large number of migratory birds are also seen here.
MANAS NATIONAL PARK
The only Tiger Project in Assam, Manas is one of India's most magnificent National Parks. It is situated on the bank of the river Manas at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a well known World heritage site with it's unique combination of scenic beauty and rare wealth of wildlife.
Covering an area of 519.77 Sq. Kms, it has a core area of 360 Kms and is situated in Barpeta District. Manas is one of the nine tiger reserve sanctuaries in India. Tigers however are not the only wildlife to be found here. Manas has its own peculiar faunal features, the rarest species of which are Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog, Golden Langur, Indian Rhinoceros, Asiatic Buffalo etc. Other commonly seen animals are Elephant, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Himalayan Bear, Wild Boar, Samber, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer etc.
FAIRS FESTIVALS OF ASSAM
Bohag Bihu :-The most widely celebrated festival in the state, Bohag Bihu marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year. It is also the time when local delicacies like pithas, narus and other mouth-watering sweets are ritually prepared in the households.Rongali or Bohag Bihu is the main festival of Assam. It derives its name from the Sanskrit Vishuvam when day and night are rendered equal through the vernal equinox. People welcome the spring season and pray for a bountiful and rich harvest. This festival is celebrated in the month of Bohag (mid-April), the first month of the Assamese calendar. The exact date in the English calendar varies, but the festival normally starts from the 13th day of the month of April. Other Bihus are Bhugali Bihu (also Magh Bihu) and Kangali Bihu (also Kati Bihu).
Ambubasi Mela is a fair held in Guwahati, the capital of Assam, and is closely related to Tantric rituals.
Other important festivals of Assam are Bathow Puja, Kheraj Puja, Rajni Gobra, Harni Gobra, Ali-ai-ligang, and Po-rag.
FAMOUS DANCE OF ASSAM
The Bohaag Bihu or Rongali Bihu :- The Bohaag Bihu marks the New Year at the advent of seeding time. Bohaag Bihu is also called the Rongaali Bihu or the Festival of Merriment.
The Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu :-The Magh or the Bhogali Bihu, the harvesting festival is celebrated in January by community feast, buffalo fight and such other entertainment. The Maagh Bihu marks the end of the harvesting period. Maagh Bihu is also called Bhogaali Bihu or the Festival of Food.
The Kati Bihu to The Kongalli Bihu :-Compared to "Rongali" and Bhogali Bihu, "Kati Bihu" is a tame affair celebrated in the month of Kartika. the Kaati Bihu marks the completion of sowing and transplanting of paddies. Kaati Bihu is also called Kongaali Bihu or the Festival of the Poor.
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