Assam is undoubtedly a paradise for tourists. With a 5000
year old civilization it is rich in natural and cultural
treasures. With endless greenery and fresh, cool and soothing
climate Assam has a large number of tribes with varied
traditions, cultures, dances and dresses. Assamese literature
is as rich and old as its history. The ancient treatise on the
elephants, the "Hastirvidyarnabha" is one of the prized
possessions of Assamese literature.
With five national parks, eighteen wild life sanctuaries and a
number of reserved protected forest areas Assam stands
unparalleled in bio diversity. Out of the five national parks
two are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two are bio sphere
reserves and three are Project Tigers. These protected areas
are home to a large number of wildlife many of them are
endangered and listed in the schedule-I of the Wildlife
Protection Act of India. Assam is the home to the One Horned
Rhinoceros with the single largest concentration of the
mammal. There is also a good number of the species like the
Royal Bengal Tiger, Asiatic Elephants, Eastern Swamp Deer, and
Asiatic Water Buffalos apart from a host of other wildlife.
With the discovery of Eastern Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock
leucondys) in a survey conducted between March and May, 2010
in three reserve forests of Hallow Gaon, Kukurmara and Kundil
Kolia on the north bank of Lohit river located in Sadiya range
of Tinsukia district, Assam harbours the highest density of
primate species in the country with a total of 10. North East
India harbours as many as 12 primate species out of the total
26 species found in India.
Assam and Tea... both are inseparable. Assam is the single
largest tea producer in the world with a share of more than
20% of the total world produce. It has around 2472 big lush
green tea gardens mostly owned by big companies. However, in
the last 15 years there has been a revolution in Eastern and
central Assam, being the main tea belt with locals becoming
small tea planters making small tea gardens with their own
capacity and thus contributing further in the production of
tea. Assam Orthodox tea has the coveted GI (Geographical
Indications) status in India and Assam exports about 50
million kg of Assam orthodox tea. It is now possible to stay
in a Colonial British era heritage tea bungalows inside a tea
garden and see the process of tea plucking and tea
Weaving has been a traditional craft of the Assamese and women
of almost every household in the villages take pride in their
possession of a handloom in which three different silk of
mulberry, muga and eri designs are made. The Lovely golden
colour of muga, the creamy eri and glossy mulberry are
considered prized textiles by customers locally and abroad. Assam
is the proud state to have GI status (Geographical
Indications) in India to its prized Golden Silk Muga.
Special festivals of the Assamese are the three Bihus, the
Rangali Bihu (April) which marks the advent of the cropping
season, the Bhogali Bihu or the harvest festival (January) &
the Kongali (October) or the Bihu of the lean period. The Bihu
dance is one of the most joyful and fascinating dances in the
The Ahom royal remains at Sivasagar and the temples,
vaishnavite monasteries, huge water tanks built under the
patronage of the Ahoms in various parts of Assam showcase the
600 years golden age of Assam history. With the start of the
Ahom rule in Assam in 1228 AD the state came to be known as
Assam from the earlier names of Pragjyotishpur or Kamrup. And
the Ahom royals made the great effort to unite various ethnic
groups living in the state to make a greater Assamese society.
The impact of the great rule of the Ahoms could be seen in
almost all spheres of Assamese society today. The Ahoms,
belonging to the great Shan Tai race migrated from the Yunan
province of China, accepted Hinduism apart from their own Tai
traditions with Buddhism. During their regime Vedic Hinduism
reached its peak in the region. The Ahoms were patriotic and
great warriors and they were successful in repulsing as many
as 18 invasions from the mighty Mughals of Delhi.
The mighty Brahmaputra which is one of the 25 longest rivers
in the world with a total length of 2,900 km is the life line
of Assam. River cruise is now available for tourists in luxury
vessels on the Brahmaputra. The cruise is an opportunity to
see Assam through the river route which was used prominently
by the mighty Ahom rulers for transportation especially during
the decisive battles with the Mughal rulers of Delhi.
If you are scared of spicy Indian cuisine, then we have
Assamese cuisine for you which is with very little or no
spice. Assamese cuisine is very tasty, healthy and nutritious.
Bhalukpung and Nameri NP
Bhalukpung on the border of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is
made picturesque by the sparkling river Jia Bharali. You can
nature walk here or go rafting and angling on Jia Bharali. The
Jia Bharali has a long and glorious history of Mahseer angling
since the days of the British. It is always pleasant &
thrilling to raft down the Jia Bharali river in a rubber
dinghy amidst the verdant green and serene surroundings.
Nameri National Park is located by the side of the Jia Bharali
River. It came into International focus with several sightings
of the rare and endangered white winged wood duck a few years
back. It is now evident that there are at least 25 birds
thriving within the 137 sq. km. of semi evergreen and mixed
deciduous forests and wet lands of the parks. Besides,
elephant, tiger, leopard, sambar, barking deer, wild boar,
gaur, bear, and wild dog the park abounds in a variety of
birds including 4 species of hornbill.
Guwahati is not just the capital of the state of Assam, it is
also the gateway to North East India. It is ringed around
three sides by a chain of hills that stretches to the distant
horizon. The Northern side is bordered by the awesome
Brahmaputra river. A cruise on the Brahmaputra is an uplifting
and peaceful experience. The following places are also worth
visiting in Guwahati -
Kamakhya is atop the Nilachal hill near the western rim of the
city. Mention of this important shrine is made in ancient
treatises. It is one of the important centres of the Shakta
form of Hinduism. It attracts pilgrims from all over the
architecture of this temple, the rites and rituals associated
with Tantricism which have an important seat here, are of
absorbing interest to the visitor.
However, even those who are neither religiously inclined nor
archaeologically minded would enjoy the drive up to the top of
the hill for a breathtaking view of the city below, the curve
of the river ahead, and the blue hills stretching hazily away
to the horizon beyond. The sunset on the river, seen from this
vantage point, is simply glorious.
Assam State Museum houses important artifacts. A visit to it
is a must if one is to get an idea of the richness and
diversity of the region's historical past.
Zoo cum Botanical Gardens
location of the state zoo cum botanical garden is one of the
best in the country. Several species seen here are success
stories in conservation and have been bred in captivity. The
botanical gardens are great source of interest.
Vashishtha Ashram situated on the southernmost rim of the city
on the Sandhyachal hill, is a tranquil spot to visit. Thick
forests surround the area. It is said that sage Vashishtha had
established his "Ashram" here. Three gushing rivulets meet at
this point. The temple here is also worth a trip.
Shrimanta Shankar Deva Kalakshetra
Shrimanta Shankar Deva Kalakshetra has been conceived as a
grand exposition of the life and culture of the people of
Assam, of its many ethnic groups and tribes, the people who
have made the cultural mosaic of Assam, in all its beauty and
splendour. Named after the great unifier of Assam and one of
the greatest integrators of the Indian society in the 15th
century, Shrimanta Shankar Deva, the Kalakshetra has been
attempting to capture and convey the essence of the great
seer's spirit, who preached the message of unity in diversity,
sang the song of universal brotherhood.
complex is spread over 10.28 hectare and has a) literary and
dance drama department b) an art department c) a cultural
museum d) a heritage park e) an open air theater and f) an
Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the
oldest national park in Assam. It is situated in central Assam
with an area of 860 sq. km. It is the home of the Great Indian
One Horned Rhinoceros. The landscape of Kaziranga is of sheer
forests, tall elephant grass, rugged reeds, mellow marshes and
shallow pools. So far as the history of Kaziranga is
concerned, Lady Curzon, the wife of British Viceroy in India
Lord Curzon, first heard about the Rhino 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, which convinced her that such an animal did
return she persuaded her to do something to save this animal
from extinction. Lord Curzon set the wheels of British
bureaucracy rolling and on 1st June 1905, a preliminary
notification announcing the intention of the Government to
declare 57273.60 acres of Kaziranga as a reserved forest was
issued. Kaziranga was declared as Reserved Forest on 3rd
January 1908 and was officially closed for shooting.
on 11th February 1974 Kaziranga became a National Park.
Visitors can go round the park either on trained elephants or
drive around in vehicles. Elephants move slowly and so they do
not cover as much ground as a vehicle might. But then the
chances of getting close to wild life are much higher on
elephant back than they are in a vehicle. However, the main
attraction of Kaziranga, the Great Indian One Horned
Rhinoceros is very easy to see. Rhinos graze like domestic
cattle in the grassland and marshes around the park and can be
spotted belly deep in the marsh, chomping contentedly on
Kaziranga was brought under the Project Tiger recently. There
are 86 Royal Bengal Tigers as per 2000 Census. Kaziranga has
70% of the world population of Eastern Swamp Deer and Asiatic
Water Buffalos. Out of 2006 rhinoceros found in Assam 1855
could be found in Kaziranga as per 2006 Census.
wild population :
Horned Rhinoceros, Elephants, Indian bisons, swamp deer,
sambar, hog deer, sloth bear, tiger, leopard, leopard cat,
jungle cat, hog badger, capped langur, hoolock gibbon, wild
boar, jackal, porcupine, python etc and a host of birds both
resident and migratory.
stroll through the lush coffee and rubber plantations of
nearby Karbi Anglong, or you can visit the Karbi villages,
meet the tribal Karbi people, observe their lifestyle. Or,
romp through enchanting tea gardens and watch how you get your
daily cup of tea.
Situated at a distance of 350 Kms. from Guwahati, Sivasagar
town is the district headquarter of Sivasagar district. The
mighty Ahoms ruled Assam from 1228-1826 setting up capitals in
various places of Sivasagar district. Sivasagar town (earlier
known as Rangpur) was the capital of the Ahom Kingdom from
1699 to 1788. The town dedicated to Lord Siva - its name
literally meaning the ocean of Siva - is strewn with tell -
tale ruins of a powerful empire. Presently, Sivasagar presents
the unique spectacle of industrial transformation of a silent
town in the backdrop of relics of bygone days. The following
are the places worth visiting.
Karenghar & Talatalghar
storied palace having three storeys underground known as
Talatalghar and the upper storeys known as karenghar, the
capital and military station of the Ahom kings is only 4 kms
from Sivasagar town. First constructed by the Ahom King Rudra
Singha in 1700 AD, alterations, additions and new
constructions to this palace were made by the successors of
Rudra Singha. The Talatalghar made of brick and an indigenous
type of cement was constructed by king Rajeshwar Singha. There
were two underground tunnels from Talatalghar connecting
Dikhow river and Gargaon Palace which were later blocked by
the British East India Company.
little distance towards the North East from this Royal Palace
and by the side of the Assam Trunk Road stands another
imposing 2 storied building. This is Ranghar, the royal
sports-pavilion of Ahom kings which was constructed during the
reign of King Pramatta Singha in 1746. This Ranghar happens to
be the oldest amphitheatre in Asia.
the principal town of Ahoms built by Ahom King Suklenmung in
1540, lies 13 kms. east of Sivasagar. The structures were made
of wood and stones. The Old Palace was destroyed and the
present seven storied palace was rebuilt around 1752 by King
Rajeshwar Singha. King Pramatta Singha constructed the brick
wall of about 5 kms. in length surrounding the Gargaon Palace
and the masonry gate in 1747.
largest tank in India and perhaps the biggest man made tank in
the world comprising an area of 318 acres of land including
its four banks, out of which 155 acres is filled with crystal
clear water. An earthen water pipeline runs from this tank to
the Rangpur Palace (Karenghar) which is about 2 kms in length,
for supplying water of this tank to the Royal Palace.
tombs of Ahom Kings and Queens at Charaideo hillock which are
comparable to the Pyramids of Egypt are, even in the present
time of astounding scientific progress and development,
objects of wonder revealing the superb skill of sculptors and
the fine form of architecture of Assam in those days. About 30
Kms. from Sivasagar town towards the east and at the foot
hills of Nagaland, the first capital of Ahom kingdom was
established by Swargadeo Sukapha.
also the place of ancestral Gods of the Ahoms and the sacred
burial floor & stone pillars of "Deo Sal" are still lying on
the summit of the hillock Deo Sal in Dol Bagan.
1734, the second Queen of Siva Singha had the Sivasagar Tank
dug to commemorate the victory of her husband, and named the
tank "Sivasagar Tank".
tank covers an area of 129 acres of land excluding the 4
banks. The total area of the tank is 257 acres of land.
Although situated within the heart of the town the water level
of the tank is above the level of the town. On its banks are
three temples - the Sivadol, the Vishnudol, and the Devidol.
The Sivadol is believed to be the highest Siva temple in
India. Its height is 104 ft. and the perimeter is 195 ft., at
the base. It is capped by an 8 ft. high golden dome.
Dibru-Saikhowa N.P. Situated in the Dibrugarh & Tinsukia
districts of Eastern Assam, is just 13 km. off Tinsukia town.
sq.km national park consisting of extensive grassland, swamp
forest and shallow waterbodies is located in between the
mighty Brahmaputra river and the Dibru river.
for the feral horse the park also has mammals like Tiger,
Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Elephant, Sambar, Slow Loris,
Asiatic Water Buffalo, Capped Langur, Indian Wild Dog etc. One
can see the Gangetic Dolphins in Dibru river.
300 species of birds have been recorded.
Interesting Bird Species: Marsh Babbler, Jerdon's Babbler,
Black-breasted Parrotbill, Rufous-vented or Swamp Prinia,
Jerdon's Bushchat, Pale-capped Pigeon, White-tailed Rubythroat,
Black-breasted Thrush, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Mountain
Tailorbird, Smoky Warbler, Rosy Minivet, Green Magpie,
Ferruginous Flycatcher, Spot-winged Starling, Red-headed
Trogon, Sultan Tit, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Swamp Francolin,
Blyth's Kingfisher, Bengal Florican, Pied Harrier etc.
the largest river island in the world, is a civil sub-division
of Jorhat District. It is located 20 km. off Jorhat town. It
is a pollution free fresh water island. Total area of the
island was 1250 sq.km., now it is about 650 sq.km.
length from east to west is about 90 km. & width from north to
south is avg. 16 km. Majuli is a natural & cultural heritage
site. With water bodies covering most of the areas , Majuli
attracts plenty of birds both local & migratory.
25-26 Satras are remaining now in Majuli of which the Satras
of Kamalabari, Auniati & Garmur are worth mentioning. These
Satras are propagating the religious ideology of great
Assamese medieval Vaisnavite Saint Sankardeva & Madhavdeva,
preaching Satria culture.
National Park is a tiger reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in Assam. It is one of the most fascinating National
Parks in India and the home to some rare mammals like the
Golden Langur, Hispid Hare and the Pygmy Hog. The Golden
Langur, a blond species of the Langurs is more common in
forests on the Bhutanese side .The Hispid Hare or Assamese
Rabbit is darker brown than the Black- Napped Hare, and is
covered in coarse bristly hair.
pygmy hog, a small hairy version of the wild boar with a more
attenuated snout and rounded rear is found nowhere else in the
world. Both the Hispid Hare and the Pygmy Hog inhabit thatch -
scrub and grassland and were thought extinct until
rediscovered in 1971. Other mammals include Wild Buffalo,
Indian Bison, Elephant, Rhino, Tiger, Hog Deer, Sambar,
Barking Deer, Swamp Deer, Spotted Deer, Himalayan Bear, Wild
Boar, Leopard, and Clouded Leopard etc.
has survived decades of insurgency & it was recently re opened
to visitors. But the Great Indian One Horned Rhinoceros has
become extinct here & researches are on to re introduce the
same in the near future. Consisting of grassland, dry and
moist deciduous & also rain forests, Manas has an area of 520
sq km & with the Bhutanese govt. protecting the Bhutanese side
of the jungle there is a stretch of about 3500 sq km of
protected area on both sides of the border.
has recorded 380 species or more birds.
Interesting Species: Swamp Francolin, Bengal Florican,
Wreathed, Oriental Pied & Great Hornbills, Collared Falconet,
Speckled Piculet, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush, Ashy Wood
Pigeon, Thick-billed & Orange-breasted Green Pigeons,Pale-capped
Pigeon,Barred Cuckoo Dove, Red-headed Trogon, Rosy Minivet,
Sultan, Yellow-cheeked and Black-throated Tits, Rufous-vented
Laughingthrush, Pied Harrier, Black Francolin, Bengal Bushlark,
Chestnut-capped & Striated Babblers, White-tailed Nuthatch,
Wallcreeper, Ashy-throated and Grey-hooded Warblers, Rufous-bellied
Eagle, Grey and Savanna Nightjars, Ruddy Kingfisher etc.