The magic land Assam is a verdant land of the eternal blue hills, a treasure of flora and fauna, a mystic land of tea, the home of one horned rhino”uni-corn”, together with a numbers of fairs and festivals. The word Assam is derived from the Sanskrit word “Asom” meaning ‘peerless’. The ancient history refers to Assam as Pragjyotishpur, until in 1228, the Ahoms from North Thailand invaded this land and established a kingdom, which came to be known as Assam. So here I was glad to know about the Thai connection with Irene smiling. The irresistible tourist attraction of Assam lies in her immense green stillness, the lush green forest, and the bewildering variety of wildlife.
By Air: LGB International Airport is conveniently connected to all major cities of India. With daily three flights to Delhi and five to Kolkata and weekly flight to Bangkok with connecting flights to rest of the world.
By Train: Guwahati Railway station is the Hub all Train services. It is connected to rest of India with convenient train connections.
By Road: Guwahati is connected with all other state capitals of North-East India through a network of government and private luxury buses, which are perhaps the best in the country.
Digboi have the oldest operating & second oldest oil field in the world and Digboi refinery became a centenarian in 2001. Oil was struck in Digboi long before it was found in Middle East. Along with the coalmines and Tea Estates it is richest area in entire North-Eastern Region.
60 kms from Digboi is the Dibru – Saikhowa National Park. Covering an area of 340 sq kms the park have seven parts, one being wetland and rest are mainly grassland and dense forest. Some rare species found are Semi Wild (feral) Horses and white- winged Wood Duck. Apart from it Leopard, clouded Leopard, Elephant, Sambar, slow loris, Asiatic Buffalo, Capped Langur, Gangetic Dolphin, Indian Wild dog, etc. More than 250 varieties of local and migratory birds are also found here.
Majuli is interesting for its 22 Satras, Hindu Vaishnavite monasteries. Assamese poet, composer and philosopher Sankardeva founded the institution of satra in 15th century. Majuli reveals the concept of Assamese Hinduism, which beliefs in Vishnu as pre-eminent deity, without a form.
UNESCO has recently notified the Island as ‘World Heritage Site’ for its unique preservation of Vaishnavite Culture.
Sonitpur, as ancient Tezpur was known in the olden days is a city steeped in Mythology, legend and folklore. The “city of Blood” (Sonit- Blood pur-city) conjures up images of the romantic legend of Usha and Anirudha and of the fierce battle between “Hari” and “Hara”. Situated on the North Bank of Brahmaputra, present Tezpur town of Magnificent scenic beauty and exquisite archaeological ruins is headquarter of Sonitpur District. With snow-capped peaks of Himalaya as the northern backdrop, lush tea gardens and magnificent archaeological ruins have all contributed to make Tezpur a tourist delight.
The gateway city of Guwahati is an absolute must on the itinerary of any visitor to to this part of the world. Its a commercial Hub for the entire region and an entry point the world of wonders. This erstwhile capital of Demon king ‘Narakashura’ of ‘Pragjyotishpura’ finds mention in the Great Indian Epic ‘Mahabharata’. It is also the ancient land of ‘Kamarupa’ from which the present day name of Kamrup administrative district under which Guwahati city comes was derived. “Kama-Rupa” was the land where the Hindu god of Beauty, fertility and source of life was reborn.
Hajo, 24km from Guwahati, lies the three different religions- Hindu, Muslim and Buddhists. Both the Hindus and the Buddhists offer prayer in the same temple of Hayagriva Madhava. According to the Buddhist claim, the image inside the temple is that of Buddha and the Hindus claim that the horseheaded form of the image is that of Vishnu. It is a rare instant to be Hindu temple and Muslim mosque in a close proximity.
Sualkuchi is 32km from Guwahati and on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra river. Assam silk, viz Pat ,Muga and Endi , the designs on which perfectly showcase the craftmenship of the artisans of Assam and which have occupied a remarkable place in state`s economy, is produced in Sualkuchi.
Madan Kamdev is 40km from Guwahati. It is a historical spot getting mention in Yogini Tantra. Images and icons of griffins, nymphs, dancing fairies, gods and goddesses , six headed Bhairava, four headed Shiva are scattered in this tiny hillock.
SIBASAGAR: AHOM’S CAPITAL OF ASSAM
Bathed in the scenic splendor of nature, Sibasagar, the modern name of an ancient town, now throbs with the activities of full-fledged industrial town.
Ahom Dynasty, which ruled Assam for 600 years had their capital in Sibasagar. It is now an important centre of tea and oil industries.
Remains of Ahom’s days can be seen here in this town. Some of them are man made artificial lake created by Queen Madambika in 1734, Shivdol-the tallest Shiv temple in the world, palaces of Kareng Ghar and Talatal Ghar, Gaurisagar Tank, along with three temples.
Ahoms, who invaded Assam in 12th century were of Thai origin but embraced the culture of local people, which were predominantly Aryan Hindus. Thus, a mixed blend of culture is prevalent in this region.
Kaziranga National Park is spread over an area of 430 sq. kms consisting of dense forest, rugged reeds, marshes and shallow pools. Elephant grass grows up to a few meters making it an ideal grazing ground for the famed One Horned Rhinoceros. Wildlife to be seen in the central range is Rhinoceros, Herd of wild Asiatic buffalos & Elephants, naughty Languor’s and deer’s. Some of the rare species to be found in Kaziranga are Indian Bison, Swamp Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, Sloth Bear, Tiger Leopard, Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Hog Badger, Capped Langur, Hoolock Gibbon, Jakel, Goose, Hornbill, Adjutant Stork, Ibis, Cormorant, Egret, Heron, Fishing Eagle, and a lot more. A no of migratory Birds can also be seen during winters.
Tucked away in the foothills of Bhutan. This Tiger Reserve of Assam is one of the most Magnificent National Parks of India. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Covering an area of 519.77 sq. kms is one of the Dense, Most wild and least frequented National Parks. It is also famous for its unique biodiversity. Some rare species found here are Wild Boar, Swamp Deer, Golden langur, Rhinoceros, Tiger and Hundreds of Winged species.
Nestled at the foothills of Eastern Himalayas, Nameri National Park covers an area of 200 Sq. Kms. With river Jia Bhoroli bifurcating the park, it is the most scenic of all the national parks of Assam. Its in the eastern border of Assam in the valley and mountainous Arunachal Pradesh, Nameri is home to some of of the endangered species like white winged wood duck, Sloth Bear, Tiger Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Sambar, Gaur, Indian Wild Dog, four varieties of Hornbill and many other winged species.
The other reason Nameri is famous for, is the herds of elephants. The park have a high density of elephant population and due to lessening of forest cover, they sometimes invade human inhabited villages, which have attracted the attention of wildlife conservationists worldwide.