ASSAM

Home of the Brahmaputra

The stunning grandeur of its dense tracts of tropical forests, interspersed with emerald patchwork quilts of paddy and lush tea gardens, showcase the life giving largesse of the mighty River Brahmaputra that dominates the world of this land its people. ‘Son of Brahma’, the great river that wends its way from the Mansarovar Lake in the higher reaches of the Tibetan Plateau through Arunachal and on to the plains of Assam ,the second largest state in North East.

Temperature In summer varies between 18 d C and 35d C, in winter, ranges from 7d C to 26d c. Best Time to Visit From October to May. The torrential monsoon period is best avoided as the swollen Brahmaputra causes havoc in its awake.

Getting there
By air – Guwahati is connected by daily flights from Delhi and Kolkata by Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Jetlite, Kingfisher, Deccan, Indigo and Spicejet. Kingfisher also has a daily direct flight from Mumbai. Guwahati is also connected by air with other airports in Assam and with Imphal, Dimapur, Aizawal, Agartala and Baghdogra. Jorhat is connected with Guwahati and Kolkata by Jet Airways, Deccan and Alliance air while Dibrugarh is served by Jetlite and Deccan. By Rail – Guwahati is the headquarters of the North East Frontier Railway and is linked to all parts of the country through express trains. Some important trains are Rajdhani express from Delhi, Dadar express from Mumbai and Bangalore express.

WILDLIFE

Kaziranga National Park
The oldest park in Assam ,Kaziranga on the bank of Brahmaputra river, is world famous for its great Indian one-horned Rhinoceros. It is a dazzling mosaic of dense rain forest, tall elephant grass swathes of reed interspersed with vast tracts of marshes and shallow pools that are a favourite haunt of this celebrity pre-historic beast. It’s a world Heritage site and has recently been declared a Tiger Reserve. Other important wildlife include Indian elephants, Bengal Tigers, Swamp deers, Hog deers, Otters and over 500 species of birds.

Asiatic wild buffalo

Elephant safari, Kaziranga
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Indian one horned Rhinoceros

Indian elephant

Swamp deer

Birds
Bar headed goose

Grey headed fish eagle

Manas National Park a project tiger reserve and a World Heritage Site. Other denizens of the dense jungles here are the one horned rhinos, tigers, hispid hare, gaurs, pygmy hogs and rare golden langurs. Nameri National Park Straddling the lush vistas of Assam and Arunachal, Nameri is ideal for a leisurely angling vacation and river rafting. The mahseer of this region is legendary, particularly the golden mahseer.

FAIRS AND FESTIVALS

Bihu Marking the beginning of agricultural season is Assam’s most important festival. Baishagu Celebrated during mid April, Baishagu is the most cherished festival of boro tribe and heralds the New Year. Ali- ai-ligang Ali- ai-ligang is the colorful annual festival of Mishing tribe. It is held on the first Wednesday of the month of ‘Ginmur Polo’.

Rongker -The most important festival of the Karbis, is celebrated in April to propitiate different gods and goddesses for the well being of the entire village. Baikho -The Rabha tribe celebrates the Baikho festival during the spring season in order to propitiate the goddess of wealth. Bohaggiyo Bishu -Bohaggiyo Bishu, the spring festival of the Deoris-one of the four divisions of setia tribe, is fascinating. Ambubachi Mela - Ambubachi, the most important festival of Kamakhya temple, is celebrated in mid-June every year.

ADVENTURE SPORTS
The stunning variety of terrain, splendid landscapes and sparkling rivers offer adventure sports lovers a vast choice of activities. Amongst the popular adventure activities are angling, river rafting, mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, parasailing, hang-gliding and golf.

Guwahati
Guwahati is the gateway to Assam and to the entire north east region. Straddling the banks of the Brahmaputra , this former capital of the Kamrup kings is a crowded, busy city and a major commercial hub for the region.

Attractions of Guwahati
Kamakhya Temple – It is one of the most revered shrines of the Hindus. The temple offers stunning views of the Brahmaputra river and its surroundings. The reigning deity here is Goddess Parvati. A rush of devotees throngs the temple during the Ambubachi puja.

Basistha Ashram – One of the important holy sites in Guwahati, the Basistha ashram dates back to the time when the great sage Vashistha visited this spot and set up his Ashram here. Navagraha Temple – located on chitranchal hill, this temple is an important centre for the study of astronomy and astrology.

River cruise – A cruise on the mighty Brahmaputra is a wonderful opportunity to get a feel of this legendry river. The best way is to catch a ferry or travel a little more stylishly in one of the state tourism run vessels.

Other important places

Hajo – Situated on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, 32 kms from Guwahati, Hajo is the meeting point of the Islam, Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The Hayagrib Madhav temple here is said to contain a relic of Buddha. An Iraqi prince who became a preacher called Pir Giasuddin Aulia established a mosque here in the 12th century. The mosque is referred to as Poa Mecca, being fourth in the line of sanctity to the shrine at Mecca. Hajo’s bell metal work is renowned and you can buy some interesting artifacts made by the local craftsmen.

Tezpur
Known as the “city of blood” as a result of the great mythological war fought here between Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva, Tezpur is a small town situated on the north bank of the Brahmaputra. Important attractions include the Mahabhairab Temple, Agnigarh Hill, Da parbatia where the remains of 5th – 6th century temples have been discovered and Cole park or chitralekha Udyan which is a recently developed attraction.

Attractions in Tezpur

Bamuni hill

Mahabhairab temple

Chitrelekha udyan

Bhalukpong – Situated on the Assam – Arunachal Pradesh border, around 40 kms from Tezpur, Bhalukpong is another picturesque spot for angling and leisurely picnics. Sibsagar – About 363 kms from Guwahati, Sibsagar is situated close to the site of Charaideo the ancient capital of the Ahom kings who ruled Assam for six centuries between 13th-18th century. Important attractions include Shivadol (one of the tallest Shiva temples in the country), Joysagar tank, Rangghar and Talatal ghar.

Attractions in Sibsagar

Rang ghar

Shivadol

Joysagar tank

Majuli
Best approached from Jorhat, Majuli is the world’s largest inhabited river island. It is also the focal point of Vaishnava culture. Majuli is well renowned for its important Vaishnava monasteries called Satras. For the Assamese, this place is particularly revered as Sankardeva, the 16th century leader of Vaishnava revivalism established the Satras. Majuli is also home to the Mishing tribe, the only riverine tribal community. In winter Majuli also attracts thousands of migratory birds.

Traditional crafts
Foremost amongst the traditional crafts of Assam are hand made toys, made from clay, wood and bamboo and an admixture of cloth and mud. While the bride and groom are common subjects, in the clay toy making segments animals dominate. They are traditionally made by the Kumar and Hira potter communities. Assam is reputed for its silk and the most prominent variety is muga, the golden colored silk exclusive only to Assam. Apart from muga there’s paat and eri, the latter being used for making warm clothes in winter. A wide range of decorative items are also available in cane and bamboo work and bell metal and brass.

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