The vibrant and happening land of Assam possesses a significant position in the map of India. Blessed with immaculate natural beauty of the wild, peaceful villages, and lush green tea gardens, this North-Eastern state calls every enthusiastic traveller to get bathed in its scenic charm. The historical monuments at Sivsagar, the ancient temples at the heart of Umananda, the tea gardens of Jorhat and the wildlife population of Kaziranga paint the canvas of Assam with vibrant shades. In addition to that, the diverse population and distinctive cultural panorama of Assam brought it the stature of the most happening state of North-East India. The dance forms like Bagarumba, Ali-Ai-Ligang, and Jhumur Nach are particular to Assam only and hardly have been into limelight. Also, the food habit, cuisines and desserts prepared here are much distinctive than rest of the country.
So, it is obvious that a traveller won’t be able to explore all exciting elements of Assam at a go. Thinking about the concern here we talk about those particular things of Assam which you should not miss at any cost during your first visit.
Located at a distance of around 189km from Guwahati, Agnigarh Fort is a historical splendour in Tezpur town of Sonitpur District. Agni means fire and Garh means fort. So, the literal meaning of this tourist spot is the fortress of fire. It is said that the fort was built by the demon King Bana to keep his daughter, Usha in seclusion. According to the myths, Usha, the beautiful daughter of Bana fell in love with Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna. But, Bana was not ready to get Usha married to Aniruddha. As a result, a terrible fight took place between Bana and Krishna. Finally Bana could not stay firm on his decision and Usha eloped with Aniruddha. Today, the tourists can see a well maintained fort on a hill top etched with impressive designs.
Nearby Attractions: Nameri National Park is around 40km from Agnigarh. Also visit the Chitralekha Udyan or Kol Park. The hallowed Mahabhairav Temple of Tezpur is only around 3 km from Agnigarh.
If you are a history buff and love to study the relics and remains of the heritage spots, I am sure you would love the temple complex of Da Parbatiya. It is a small village close to West Tezpur and maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. The ruins of this site date back to 6th to 7th century. The temple complex houses the oldest temple in Assam where a brick temple of Lord Shiva is found. The stone carvings on the remains of Da-Parbatia temple depict the feature of the early Gupta School of sculptures.
Assam is known for its handloom industry. And almost every Assamese household in village possesses a weaving machine. But to see the best use of this machine you should visit Sualkuchi, the ‘Manchestar of Assam’. Located at a distance of around 35km from Guwahati, this small block of Kamrup District is inhabited by the weavers’ family, who produce the best quality silk attires in Assam. While passing through the village huts, you will hear the sounds of wooden weaving machines. The Pat silk, Muga silk, Eri silk and Endi cloth produced in this region of Assam are highly praised over the country.
The historical town of Sivasagar is around 360km north-east of Guwahati. And I would suggest you to be at this city at least once to have a look at the ancient historical sites of Assam. Associated with the chivalric tales of Sati Joymoti and the cruel deeds of Swargadeo Sulikphaa this popular tourist spot calls travellers of all classes and taste. The site is dotted with some of the famous temples of Assam like Sivadol, Devidol,Vishnu Dole and Joy Dole. The tank named Joysagar was dug by King Rudra Singha in memory of his mother Joymoti who sacrificed her life to save Ahom Kingdom from an oppressive King. The main attraction of Sivasagar is Karenghar, the last palace of Ahom kings, and Rang Ghar, the amphitheatre. Tourists who are fond of bird watching can visit the Panidihing Bird Sanctuary. Also Sivasagar Tai Museum is another worth-visiting element.
Assam and tea fields are almost synonymous and it would not be wrong to say that Assam produces almost half of the India’s Tea Production. Even though almost every district of Assam has a light or dense tea plantation, I would suggest you to go for Jorhat. Located at a distance of around 307km from Guwahati, this small town has rightly blended the charm of British days with the feel of modern era. The city mesmerises travellers for its lush green hill slopes of tea plantations. The Tocklai Tea Research Institute is dedicated to the invention of tea with various flavours. In case you are travelling to Assam during the months of November to January do keep an eye over the dates of Tea Festival.
Majuli, the largest river island of Asia needs no introduction to the travellers for its biodiversity and scenic views. But what makes it more prominent are the Satras, the inseparable part of Assamese culture. Set up by the followers of Sankardeva, the proponent of Eksarana Dharma, these monasteries are the hub of well nourished Assamese dance forms, music and dance drama. The Gurus or the teachers living in these Satras dedicate their life to the development of Ankiya Naat, Bhaona, Borgeet and different other forms of performing art. I am sure you would love the masks and attires used by them. Majuli is located at a distance of around 200km east from Guwahati.
One of the most happening wildlife destinations in Assam, Kaziranga National Park is around 195 km from Guwahati and a delight for the wildlife lovers of the globe. The most fascinating part of this renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site is the presence of one horned rhinoceros which are found roaming across the park. Kaziranga National Park is also claimed to be the best place for tiger sighting in northeast India. This wildlife reserve is home to a good number of wild buffalos and the only population of Eastern Swamp Deer. The park encompasses 150 perennial water bodies along with a very rich collection of aquatic creatures like tortoise, along with seven species of turtles.
Every travel freak adventure lover should go for rafting in Nameri National Park. It is close to Tezpur Town and can cater to the needs of thrill lovers perfectly. The Jia Bhorali River running across the national park serves as an ideal place to go adventurous. Tourists can opt for Mahseer fishing as well.
Digboi Oil Refinery is believed to the oldest oil refinery in Asia. It is located in Tinsukia district at a distance of around 510 km North-East of Guwahati. The small city is dotted with old buildings, exclusive bungalows and particularly the golf ground which was set during the British rule in Assam. Digboi Oil Refinery is the oldest continuously running refinery in the country.
If you are a devoted soul and love to believe in the miracle of Supreme Being, then Kamakhya Temple in Nilachal, Guwahati is a must see pilgrimage spot in Assam for you. One of the 51 Shaktipeethas found in Indian sub-continent, this religious hotspot is considered to be the most hallowed seat of Deity Kamakhya, the Goddess of Tantrik sect. The temple complex is strategically built at the top of the hills whereas, the main seat of the Goddess is found underground. The temple complex encloses the shrines of Das Mahavidya, Bhairava, Ganesha, Gauri and several other deities along with a holy pond. Associated with several mythological beliefs, this gigantic temple has remained a witness of several historical incidents. Ambubachi Mela happening during June-July is one of the most vibrant festivals of Assam.
Hazo is only around 24km from Guwahati on the banks of mighty Brahmaputra and gains popularity for being the religious centre of three religious beliefs. It is in Hazo you can see the religious sites of three major different beliefs existing together. Hayagriva Madahava Temple is the seat of the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu and also considered hallowed by the Buddhists. The Hajo Poa Mecca is a sacred place for the Muslims as it is believed to have some significance as that of Mecca. Kedareswara Temple, and Madan Kamdev Temple are the other religious attractions of Hazo.
The excitement and thrill of exploring the hidden treasures of Assam floating on the heart of river Brahmaputra is hard to express in words. A must enjoy element of Assam Tourism, river cruising offers various exciting views to capture in digital lens and awe-striking landscape to recall through the entire life. There are two different ways to board this journey, one upstream and another downstream. In case of upstream you will board board from Guwahati. The cruising starts from Mahabaahu and sailing through Silghat it will let you close to Kaziranga National Park. The views of Vishwanath Ghat and Mazuli Island are the highlights of this trip. Witness Satriya Dance in Majuli.
There are plenty of options available when it comes to authentic Assamese cuisine and it includes a wide range of dishes starting from hot and spicy picks to boiled ones. But I would advise you to taste the delicious Machor Tenga, a sour non-veg dish prepared with fish, preferably Rohu. Apart from Machor Tenga, another must have dish in Assam is the Duck Roast which is prepared by roasting duck.
Silchar is the lifeline of Souhern Assam as well as a couple of North-Eastern states like Mizoram or Nagaland. This is another culture-centric city in Assam next to Guwahati surrounded by wild beauty. But what I am telling you to enjoy is not just the surroundings of Silchar, but the road trip from Guwahati to this city. The buses which ply from Guwahati to Silchar drive through the breathtaking views of Shillong. While passing through the scenic views of Meghalaya, you will get to see a number of lakes, mountain streams, cloud-clad hillocks, rivers and last but not the least abundant greenery. To bring the best out of this trip, do travel during day time or else you will be missing the real charm.
You must be thinking that I am telling you to travel a distant land just to see a river that changes its colour. Well, Fret Not! I am not giving you any such suggestion. River Lobha runs across the road on the way to Silchar from Shillong and you can see the river before reaching Sonapur. The best thing about this serpentine river is the colour of the water that keeps changing with the changing season. During winter, the river turns blue or sometimes even green.
Udharband, a small town near Silchar, preserves the historical remains of Kachari Kingdom. Though the remains are mostly in ruins but you can actually study the style of architecture and the way the palace was designed. The remains include the place where the queen used to take bath, the Baro Dwari, the Lion Gate, the Sun Gate and aged Old Kings Temple.
Well, enough of talking about my opinion and likings. Now, it’s your turn to revert. I believe by the time you were going through the blog, you must have liked some of the aforesaid things desperately and some of you might have decided to try a few.
Let me know, if you have any query. Also covering the attractions of a vast state like Assam in a single post is quite challenging. So, I would like to know about your favourite things to do and see in Assam soon.