Tourist Places in Assam
Assam, as a destination corresponds to a world of contrasts and excitement with each place of the state having something amazing to offer. Some people call it a magic land while others call it a green paradise. There is hardly any other state which has greater variety and colour in its natural scenery and in the cultural treasures of the people that inhabit it.
There are a variety of tourist places in Assam. This is one of the most beautiful regions of India where history unites with myths and religion, splendid gifts of nature come in the shape of wooded hills and valley and the mountains. Rich flora and fauna, rarely available elsewhere, add the variety of tourist attractions in Assam.
Guwahati’s best known temple is Kamakhya Temple on Nilachal Hill, eight km west of the city. These temples honour the Mother Goddess Kamakhya, the essence of female energy. Kamakhya is one of the 51 Hindu ‘Pithas’ where as per the mythology the genital organ of the Sati ( Parvati ) – the eternal wife of Lord Shiva – had fallen down after death in one of her incarnations.
It is considered as one of the most important centres of Shakti worship and Tantric Hinduism. The Temple was rebuilt in 1665 after being destroyed by Muslim invaders, but its origins are much older than that. It was probably an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, sacrifices are still very much part of worshipping here. Group of devotees arrive each morning with goats to offer to Shakti. It attracts pilgrims from all over India, especially during the Ambuchi Festivals which usually falls around July. This is a celebration of the end of the earth’s menstrual cycle.
It is a picturesque hill – station where one can see the rainbow down below. Jatinga, famous for the unexplained phenomenon of migratory birds ‘committing mass suicide’.
Hilly Assam is a land of sensuousness. A heaven to the senses where one touches the sweetest dream with one’s fingers. The mountains float in the distant sky. The clouds descend and snugly lie below one’s feet. A beautiful lake ‘Haflong Lake’ is located in the heart of the town.
Jatinga 9 kms. from Haflong, is famous for the unexplained phenomenon of migratory birds ‘committing mass suicide’. The migratory birds come during the month of August to November and it becomes the Or inthologists attraction. From the elevated watch tower one can see them yielding to their death wish and their little plumage dropping down. Season to visit is from August to April.
Other attractions include exciting trekking in Borail Hills, watching the traditional dances of the Tribals and a visit to the Orchid Garden.
Guwahati derives its name from two words, guwa ( meaning betel nut ) and hati ( meaning little market ). It is customary for anyone on his first visit to this city to visit the Kamakhya temple, dedicated to the Mother Goddess. The importance of the temple is second only to the mighty Brahmaputra, the river with an undeniable presence in the town. In the center of the city, with the magnificent backdrop of the Brahmaputra and atop Sukleshwar Hill stands the Janardan temple. West of Chitrachal Hill is the unique temple of Navagraha dedicated to the nine planets.
Sibsagar is 369 kms. towards the east of Guwahati and is the headquarters of a district of the same name. It is also a leading tea and oil producing district. The Eastern Regional Headquarter of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission is located at Nazira, 18 kms. from Sibsagar. Modern Sibsagar is a fast developing town.
Sibsagar was the capital of the Ahoms who ruled Assam at a stretch for six hundreds years before the advent of the British. It is a beautiful town located around the huge Sibsagar tank, an artificial lake constructed by Queen Madambika in 1734 A.D. The Shiva dol or Shiva Temple on the bank of this tank is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India.
Assam is famous for Majuli, the world’s largest river island. Majuli situated in the midst of river Brahmaputra, is the centre of Vishnava culture. The total area of Majuli has been steadily decreasing due to strong erosion of the river Brahmaputra. The area of the island has reduced from 2,82,165 acres in 1853 to less than 886 sq. kms today.
There are over fifteen Vaishnava monasteries or satras on Majuli. The major satras are Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari, Auniati, Garmur, Samoguri, Dakhinpat and Bengenaati. These satras are regarded as the main centres for Assamese art, music, dance, drama, handicrafts, literature and religion etc. Auniati is famous for its considerable collection of Assamese old utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.
Upper Majuli is inhabited by tribes like the Mising and the Deoris and is the centre of a living heritage of colourful costumes and festivals.
Plenty of migratory birds of great varieties are also seen here.
Manas National Park
Manas National Park ( 176 km from Guwahati ), situated amidst the gentle slopes of the Himalayas, is the only tiger reserve of its kind in the entire region. The park covers a large part of Barpeta district in Assam and extend to the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan. Apart from the growing population of tigers, Manas is also home to the rare golden langur, the hispid hare, the pigmy hog, the one-horned rhinoceros, and at least twenty other species of animals and birds that are listed as highly endangered. Manas derives its name from the Goddess Manasa. The forest stretches beyond Indian territory to the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, with the crystal waters of the Manas River demarcating the international border.
Kaziranga National Park, situated at a distance of 217 km from Guwahati, is one of the most picturesque wildlife parks in India. The natural habitat of the one – horned rhino, Kaziranga lies on the southern banks of the Brahmaputra River, northeast of the capital city. The park’s original inhabitants – the rhino and the elephant being the most noticeable – now thrive in a serene environment to the sheer delight of nature lovers. Viewing wildlife at Kaziranga Park because of its vast open spaces, the presence of the mighty Brahmaputra, and adjoining Mikir hills makes a trip to Kaziranga a complete ‘jungle’ adventure.
Located 32 kms. from Guwahati on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, it is a place where three religions meet – Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.
It has a large number of temples, the chief among them being Hayagriva – Madhab Temple. There is a belief that this temple contains the relic of Lord Buddha, while a section of the Buddhist hold that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. Large number of Bhutanese visit this temple every year during the winter season.
There is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims here known as Poa – Mecca. According to mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in this region during their agyatvas or the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima during this agyatvas.
Preserving the sweet memory of young lovers, Agnigarh or the rampart, surrounded by fire, is perhaps the most beautiful tourist spot of Tezpur. According to legend, Princess Usha, the only daughter of King Bana, was kept inside the palace which was surrounded by rampart of fire. The present Agnigarh, now only a hillock facing Brahmaputra, provides the tourist a soul touching panoramic view of both Brahmaputra and Tezpur.
Da – Parbatia Temple
The ruins of the door frame of Da – Parbatia Temple is a few kms. from Tezpur town, is perhaps the finest and oldest specimen of sculptural or iconoclastic art in Assam. Its carving has the characteristics of the style of early Gupta School of sculpture. The door-jambs having two goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, standing below with garlands in hands in artistic pose and elegance are decorated with beautiful ornamental foliage.
A natural lagoon and fine picnic spot which is 64 kms. from Guwahati. The lake and its surroundings, broken by cliffs and forests, is an ideal holiday resort and has the added attraction of fishing and rowing opportunities in the lake itself. The place is easily accessible by bus from Adabari, Guwahati. The best season to visit is from November to Apri.
It is one of the most beautiful places in the Tezpur town. The park which was first established by a British Deputy Commissioner, Mr Cole, is the place for peace loving people. One can see here the two massive ornamented stone pillars and the sculptural remains of the famous Bamuni Hill.
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated in the Morigaon district Pobitora is one of the major wildlife sanctuaries of Assam. It is about 50 km. from Guwahati City. Covering an area of 15.9 Sq. km., Pobitora is mainly famous for its Great Indian One – horned Rhinoceros. Other animals such as the Asiatic Buffalo, Leopard, Wild Bear, Civet Cat etc. have also found this sanctuary to be their ideal habitat. More than 200 birds and various reptiles are found in this sanctuary.
Orang Wildlife Sanctuary
A miniature Kaziranga – covering an area of 72 sq. kms. The animals to be seen in this sanctuary are one – horned rhinoceros, elephants, leopard, sambar, barking deer, tiger, varieties of water birds, green pigeon, florican, teal, geese etc.
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