Tourism in Assam
Assam is a northeastern state of India. Its capital is Dispur, located on the outskirts of its largest city, Guwahati. Located south of the eastern Himalayas, Assam comprises the Brahmaputra and the Barak river valleys along with the Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills with an area of 30,285 square miles (78,438 km²). Assam is surrounded by six of the other Seven Sister States: Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and
Table of Content
- 1 Tourism in Assam
- 1.1 Wildlife
- 1.2 Kaziranga National Park
- 1.3 Manas National Park
- 1.4 Nameri National Park
- 1.5 Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
- 1.6 Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park
- 1.7 Kamakhya Temple
- 1.8 Nabagraha Temple
- 1.9 Umananda Temple
- 1.10 Basisthashram
- 1.11 Mahabhairab Temple
- 1.12 Kamrupa
- 1.13 Da-Parbatia
- 1.14 Agnigarh
- 1.15 Guwahati
- 1.16 Bamuni Hills
- 1.17 Chitralekha Park
- 1.18 Dibrugarh
Stretched out like a soaring bird, Assam is comprised of three main geographical areas: the Brahmaputra Valley, the Barak valley and the North Cachar Hills. Assam is synonymous with unspoiled natural beauty, teeming wildlife, immaculate tea gardens and warm, beautiful people.
It’s a strategic location in the northeast of India, and its accessibility from the rest of the country makes it the gateway to the northeastern states.
Assam also shares international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh. The Brahmaputra Valley is an alluvial plain about 724 km in length and 81 km in breadth. It is enclosed on the north by the mighty Himalayas, south by the Garo, Khasi, Jaintia and Naga Hills.
The Brahmaputra, the lifeline of the valley which shares its name, floods the nearby land with fertile silt every year to ensure a rich harvest. To the south of the valley are the charming hills of Karbi Anglong.
Further south are the North Cachar Hills. Located here, amidst beautiful orchards, is Assam’s only hill station, Haflong. The southern part of Assam is the Barak Valley, which derives its name from the Barak river. This region is a treasure trove of untouched natural beauty.
Green is the predominant colour of the state with an impressive 35% forest cover and thousands of hectares under tea cultivation. Assam has five national parks including the World Heritage Sites of Kaziranga and Manas, and 20 Wildlife sanctuaries. The great Indian one-horned rhinoceros is one of Assam’s most famous denizens.
Supporting the state’s abundant wildlife and luscious vegetation are the monsoons which stretch from late May to September, but there are intermittent rains even in the winters. Winters begins in late November and continues till February. Winter mornings in most parts of Assam are marked by dense fog giving the land an aura of ethereal beauty.
Over the centuries, people of various ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds have been attracted to the fertile valleys of Assam making it a mosaic of various cultures. It is no wonder then that Assam is said to be like a miniature of the whole country itself.
With five national parks, two of which are designated World Natural Heritage Sites by UNESCO, and several wildlife and bird sanctuaries, Assam is a blessed land for wildlife enthusiasts. At the heart of its mind-boggling biodiversity is the rich topography of Assam with its lush hills and valleys dissected by the majestic Brahmaputra and its many tributaries.
Assam is home to over 180 species of mammals, including rare and endangered species like the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, the royal Bengal tiger, the golden langur and hoolock gibbon, and a spectacular range of avifauna Assam’s most famous parks are Kaziranga and Manas. Both were conferred World Heritage Status in 1985.
Kaziranga National Park
Kaziranga National Park is spread over 858 sq. km and is located in the floodplains on both sides of the Brahmaputra. Patches of mixed deciduous forests are interspersed with vast stretches of savannah grasslands, wetlands and chars of river islands formed by the shifting course of the Brahmaputra.
The park is divided into five ranges – Central (entry point at Kohora), Western (entry point at Bagori), Eastern (at Agratoli), Western-most Burha Pahar (at Ghorakati) and Northern. The first four lie on the southern side of the river while the last is on the northern bank.
A memorable way of exploring Kaziranga is on elephant-back as these gentle creatures tread through the tall grass. The park’s prized possessions, the rhinos, are usually found in good numbers grazing with deer and buffaloes.
Originally established as a reserve forest in 1908, Kaziranga has declared a sanctuary in 1916 to counter extensive poaching of the rhinoceros. In 1974, the Indian Government demarcated the present area as a national park. Then, in 2007, it was declared a tiger reserve under the Central Government’s Project Tiger scheme.
The Park is the abode to more than 70% of One Horned Rhinoceros in the world. The highest density of tigers’ prey including the large prey biomass of tiger found in the country. Harbours more than 60% of India’s wild buffalo population along with the only population of the Eastern Swamp deer and seven species of turtles and tortoises.
The other important wildlife found are – Leopard, Fishing Cat, other Lesser cats, Large Indian Civet, Small Indian Civet, Sambar, Barking deer, Hog deer, Gaur, Hog Badger, Hoolock Gibbon, Capped Langur, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Sloth Bear, Gangetic Dolphin and Otter etc.
How to Reach: Rowraiah (Jorhat) is the nearest Airport which is 97 Kms. away and LGBI Airport (Guwahati) is 239 Kms. away. The road distances from nearest cities & towns to Kohora are: from Jorhat is 89 km, from Nagaon is 96 Km, from Guwahati is 219 km, from Golaghat is 73 Kms. and from Bokakhat is 21 Kms.
Best Season to Visit: November to April
Manas National Park
It is located in the Himalayan foothill bhabar area in western Assam, Manas was originally a game reserve in 1928 and became a Tiger Reserve in 1974, a World Heritage Site in 1985, a Biosphere Reserve in 1989. Then declared as a National Park in 1990. The park is contiguous with the Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal and in 2003, it was declared part of Chirang-Ripu Elephant Reserve which serves as the international corridor for elephant migration between Indian and Bhutan.
Spread over an area of 500 sq. kms, the park has extensive grasslands and is famous for its unique scenic beauty. The park harbours more than 20 endangered species. Considered one of the world’s rarest simian species, the golden langur was first spotted in Manas in the mid 20th century.
Other mammals commonly found here are Rhino, Elephant, Tiger, Pygmy hog, Hispid hare, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Leopard, Golden Cat, Clouded leopard, Fishing cat, Leopard cat, Jungle Cat, the Large Indian civet, the Small Indian civet, Common palm civet or Toddy cat, Himalaya palm civet, Binturong, Common mongoose, Small Indian mongoose, Himalayan black bear, Sloth bear, Gaur, Water buffalo, Sambar, Hog deer, Barking deer, Swamp deer, Wild pigs etc.
How to reach: Located 176 kms from Guwahati and Barpeta Road Railway Station is
20 Kms. away.
Best season to Visit: November to April
Nameri National Park
It covers an area of 200 sq. km. and is located in the Sonitpur district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh. It is also the core area of Nameri Tiger Reserve (344 sq. km). Its beautiful deciduous forests and the adjacent river jia Bhoreli, fringe the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. This is therefore a popular stop en route to Bhalukpung in Arunachal, where anglers congregate to fish for the famous golden Mahseer.
Animals found here are Tiger, Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Elephant, Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Hispid hare, Slow Loris, Capped Langur, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Burmese ferret Badger, Binturong etc.
The park is home to several rare bird species including the endangered White Winged Wood duck and a huge variety of butterflies, including the prized Atlas Moth, considered the largest moth in the world with a wing surface area of 400 sq km and a 25-30cm wingspan.
How to Reach: Nameri National Park is 210 km from Guwahati, 40 km from Tezpur, 215 km from Jorhat, 110 km from Nowgong and 125 km from Kaziranga. The nearest airport, Salonibari Airport in Tezpur is 34 km away.
Best season for Visit: November to April
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is a National Park as well as a Biosphere Reserve having an area of 340 sq. km. in the Tinsukia district. A unique habitat endemic to Dibru-Saikhowa only, a habitat which has undergone a radical transformation after the great earthquake of 1950.
It is famous for its feral horses and Gangetic dolphins. The migratory birds are also a major attraction. It is an identified Important Bird Area (IBA) having more than 382 species of birds, some of which are Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Greater Crested Grebe. Large Cormorant, Openbill Stork, Black-necked Stork, Large Whistling Teal. Grey leg Goose, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Griffon Vulture, Osprey, Crested Serpent Eagle, Spot Billed Pelican, White Winged Wood Duck, Baer’s Pochard, Greater Spotted Eagle, Pale Capped Pigeon, Great Pied Hornbill, Marsh Babbler, Jerdon’s Babbler, Black Breasted Parrotbill, etc. The Park is renowned for the natural regeneration of Salix trees.
How to Reach: The Park can be visited by staying at Tinsukia town. Mohanbari (Dibrugarh) Airport is the nearest airport, which is about 40 km away from Tinsukia. The distance between Guwahati and Tinsukia is 500 km. Tinsukia is well connected with Dibrugarh town by NH. 37 and the distance is 55 km. Dholla is the nearest township of Saikhowaghat entry point.
Best season to Visit: November to April
Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park
It is spread over 78.81sq kms and is the oldest game reserve of the State just on the northern bank of river Brahmaputra. It is an important breeding ground for many fish varieties. Mammals found here are Rhinoceros, Tiger, Maljuria Elephants (male elephants in group), Hog Deer, Wild Pig, Civet Cat, Porcupine and Gangetic Dolphin.
222 species of Birds have so far been recorded, some of which are Spot Billed Pelican, White Pelican, Greater Adjutant Stork, Lesser Adjutant Stork, Brahminy Duck, Pintail Duck, Bengal Florican (2nd.highest concentration) etc.
How to Reach: The nearest Airport Salonibari (Tezpur) is 80 kms. and the LGBI Guwahati Airport is 150 kms. The National Park is located 18 km. south of N.H. 52 at Dhansirighat and the distance to Mangaldai is 70 km. and Guwahati is 150 km.
Best season to Visit: November to April
Tea is an agriculture-based industries, tea occupies an important place in Assam. The plants used to grow naturally in the Upper Brahmaputra valley. Robert Bruce, an official of the British empire, who is credited with the discovery of tea in Assam in 1823, gave publicity of the existence of the plant, the leaves of which were boiled to prepare the tea. In Assam, tea is grown both in the Brahmaputra and Barak plains. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur are the districts where tea gardens are mostly found. Assam produces 51% of the tea produced in India and about 1/6th of the tea produced in the world.
In 1911 a Tea Research Centre was started at Toklai in Jorhat for developing more scientific and fruitful methods of cultivating tea plants, applying fertilizer, testing soil, selecting sites for gardens and processing tea leaves. This is the oldest and largest Tea Research Centre in the world.
The instant tea project was established at the Tea Research Centre of Toklai Experimental Station in 1974. Instant tea is a golden coloured powder which dissolves in hot or cold water easily.
For a better marketing of the tea produced in Assam and the entire North EasternStates, a Tea Auction Centre – Guwahati Tea Auction Centre – was established in 1970 at Guwahati. This is the world’s largest CTC tea auction centre and the world’s second largest in terms of total tea. It now auctions more than 150 million kg of tea valued at more than Rs 550.00 crores annually. Tea industry has contributed substantially to the economy of Assam. About 17 per cent of the workers of Assam are engaged in the tea industry.
Temples & Monuments
Nestled in the Brahmaputra valley this state has Tantrik Shaktism, Shivaism and later Vaishnavism flourishing in its laps. From time to time people from different races, religion and cultures have migrated to this place.
The Mohmmedan invasions brought Islam into the state. Sikhism flourished here, Buddhist communities have kept the flag of Buddhism flying high. The famous Gurudwara at Dhubri established by the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur is held in high veneration by the Sikhs throughout the country. With the advent of new faith & religion, many temples and monuments were built all over Assam.
Most of these architectural granduers belong to the medieval period and represent the architectural style of the Koch, Kachari and Ahom royal courts. These temples and monuments spread almost all over Assam, bear silent witness to a glorious past.
The Shakti Temple of mother Goddess Kamakhya situated on the top of Nilachal Hills, overlooking river Brahmaputra, is 8 Km away from the railway station of Guwahati.
The greatest shrine of tantric Shaktism find mention in the inscription of the Allahabad pillar of Samudragupta. Devotees from all over India converge on this holy place during Ambubashi and Manasha Puja. City buses ply regularly to Kamakhya. It can be easily reached by auto-rickshaw as well.
The temple of nine planets is situated on Chitra Chal Hill in Guwahati. It is 3 km away from the Railway Station. In ancient times, it was said to have been a great centre of study of astronomy and astrology. This is also one of the reasons why Guwahati is referred to as Pragjyotishpur or the city of eastern Astrology. It can be approached by taxi or auto-rickshaw.
The great Shiva temple situated on the Peacock island in the middle of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati attracts devotees from all over the country during Shiva Ratri. One can visit the temple by crossing the river by country boat plying from Kachari ghat. On the north bank of the Brahmaputra, opposite Guwahati, where the third Pandava Arjun is believed to have watered his horse while undertaking journey during Ashwamedh Yajna. Regular ferry services are available to this place.
Situated in the southern-most rim of Guwahati city on the Sandhyachal hill is a well known holy cum picnic spot, called Basisthashram, after the great vedic Sage Bashistha, who is said to have lived here. Three rivulets named Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta meet here and flow perenially adding scenic grandeur to the place. It is 12 Kms. from the Guwahati Railway Station. City buses ply regularly to the Ashram.
An ancient temple where King Bana worshipped Mahabhairab, another incarnation of Lord Shiva. A place of pilgrimage.
Madan Kamdev Barely 40 km. away from the sprawling metropolis Guwahati, on N.H. 52 Madan Kamdev is an enigma, a mystery, a marvel and in the words of Omar Khayam, “a veil past which I could not see”. Very little is known about the origin of these magnificent archaeological ruins. Written history is almost silent on it, leaving wide room for conjectures and hypotheses.
Kamrupa, the ancient name of Assam, is believed to have derived its name from the legend that love God Kama or Madan, after being turned into ashes by an angry Shiva, was reborn here. One school believes that Madan was reborn and united to Rati on this tiny hillock. The season to visit is from October to May.
The ruins of the door frame of Da-Parbatia Temple a few kms. from Tezpur town, is perhaps the finest and oldest specimen of sculptural or iconoclastic art in Assam. It’s 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 their hands in artistic pose and elegance are decorated with beautiful ornamental foliage.
Preserving the sweet memory of young lovers”, Agnigarh or the rampart, surrounded by fire, is perhaps the most beautiful tourist spots in Tezpur. According to legend, Princess Usha, the only daughter of King Bana, was kept inside the palace which was surrounded by a rampart of fire. The present Agnigarh, now only a hillock facing the mighty Brahmaputra, provides the tourist a soul touching panoramic view of both the river and Tezpur town.
To the spiritually oriented, Guwahati is home to the goddess Kamakhya; to history buffs, it stands on the very spot where the brave people of this great land thwarted the mighty Mughal army in the battle of Saraighat in 1671; to the inhabitant, it is the child that has been, over the years, nurtured, fulfilled and at times, even admonished by the mighty Brahmaputra.
Guwahati is commercially and spatially one of the fastest-growing cities in India. From a humble population of 2 lakh in 1971, presenting Guwahati is a teeming metropolis with 808,021 people (2001 Census). The city stretches for 45 km from Gopmath Bordoioi International Airport in the west to Narengi in the east and from the southern bank of the Brahmaputra to the foothills of the Shillong plateau for around 15 km.
Guwahati Municipal Corporation administers an area of over 216 sq km. The town derives its name from two Ahomiya words – guwa or an areca nut and haat or the weekly market, thus tracing its origins to a time when it was a trading post on the Brahmaputra.
The sculptural remains of Bamuni hills date back to 9th Century A.D. A cross- shaped bracket lintel ornamented with horned Kirtimukha panels contains the figures of 10 incarnations of Vishnu. The Bhomoraguri stone inscription of the Ahom general Kalia Bhomara Barphukan and Harjjar Varman’s 9 line inscription are located near Tezpur.
The picturesque stone inscription of yore is endowed with hillocks, gardens and lakes. The Chitralekha Udyan, the most beautiful garden of Tezpur has impressive ornamental stone pillars, sculptural relics, water sports facility, lush green walkways and a small amphitheatre too. Here, the ancient and the modern co-exist in harmony.
Sonitpur district has 73 tea gardens including the world’s biggest tea garden, Monabari. A visit to a tea garden provides insight not only into tea making and the unique culture associated with it but also gives the flavour of a bygone era of the Raj. Getting here Tezpur is well connected by air, road and rail
Air Link: Direct Alliance Air flights to Tezpur from Kolkata are available on Thursdays and Sundays.
435 Kms North East of Guwahati, Dibrugarh is a major town of upper Assam and important commercial centre of the state. It’s often referred to as the ‘Tea City of India. Oil and Timber are the other two big industries in and around Dibrugarh. Situated on the bank of Brahmaputra River, the town is also an important education centre in upper Assam.
Assam Medical College was formally established on November 3, 1947 at Dibrugarh. It was, however, earlier known as Berry-White School of Medicine, which was founded in 1900. It has the distinction of being the first medical college in the entire North-eastern region of India.
Dibrugarh has had a fluctuating relationship with the River Brahmaputra. Back in 1950, the river changed its course because of the Medog Earthquake, resulting in widespread destruction in the town. The earthquake and the resulting flood destroyed almost 75% of the town of Dibrugarh.
The town has recovered from the aftermath since then, and people have come to accept the mercurial nature of the river while staying in its shadow. Dibrugarh, apart from being one of the largest producers of tea in the country, is also known for its oil and natural gas reserves Dibrugarh is well connected by air, road, and rail.
Places to Visit in Dibrugarh
Koli Aai Than
It’s a sacred place dedicated to ‘Ka Aai’, the daughter of the head priest of the `Dibaru Satra’. Legend states that due to lack of a male heir, the Satra started declining. However, Koli Aai kept it alive by preaching its ideals and the principles to the masses. It is believed that Koli Ai was bestowed with divine powers and she vanished from the site one day, leaving behind a strong religious legacy in the minds of the people.
Medieval Memorial Grounds (Maidams)
In and around Dibrugarh, there are a number of memorial grounds raised during the regime of the Ahoms. Some of these Maidams are Barbarua Maidam, Bormechlow Maidam, Lekhai Chetia Maidam and Bahikhowa Maidam.
The ruins of this famous Satra from the times of King Rajeswar Singha, lie along the banks of Dehing River. During the famous Moamoria revolution, the Satra received royal support.
Dima Hasao district (formerly North Cachar Hills)
It is a pristine picturesque dreamland of undulating hills, valleys, gently flowing streams and waterfalls, where the very breeze that wafts across the paddy fields and bamboo forests is redolent with fragrance of the land of which man and animal live in perfect harmony with nature. It is the No.1 district in India with the highest concentration of the number of ethnic tribes (15)
A fascinating mosaic of an ethnic, cultural and tribal mix, the people of Dima Haso embody all the values derived from centuries of shared living in the lap of nature. Equally enticing is the flora and fauna of the land, which has the famed Jatinga village where, drawn by some mysterious alchemy of earth and sky, disoriented bird come in thousands in the cloudy months of September and October to take part in an extraordinary suicide pact.
Though there is no direct Air connection to Dima Hasao district, one can fly up to Silchar or Guwahati or Dimapur from where easy road & railway services to Haflong are available. Haflong is a beautiful hill station in Assam, at an altitude of 680 m above sea level. It is about 85 km north of Silchar and 345 km from Guwahati
112 km from Haflong & 224 km from Guwahati. The huge Hydel plant has come up under North East Electric Power Corporation(NEEPCO) with dams in the Kopili river. Near Umrangso, there is a Hot spring,the water of which is believed to have medicinal value.
Approximately 120 km away from Haflong, & 8-10 km from Haflong Tiniali,The Kopili River turns into a thrilling waterfall, rolling over the rocks of Panimoor.
Just 9 km from Haflong. World wide famous for bird mystery (Birds Harakiri). The migratory birds come during the months of August to November & it becomes the ornithologist’s attraction. From the elevated watchtower one can see them yielding to their death wish & their little plumag plumage dropping down.
Located on the bank of the river Mahur and 53 km from Haflong. Maibang once flourished as the capital of Dimasa, Kachari Kingdom. Stone house & temple of Kachari king & other ruins of the kingdom are the main attractions of the place