Assam is one of the most beautiful and ethnically diverse places in this north eastern region. It is blessed with greenery and is home to some of the most rare and endangered species of animals. It also boasts of a rich heritage which traces its roots to ancient civilizations. The main hotspots of this state for tourism are:
Kaziranga National Park
In 1985, this park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has the largest population of the renowned one-horned rhinoceros in the entire world. You can either opt for a jeep safari or elephant safari to have a glimpse of this magnificent jungle. There are also various getaways within the radius and if you have time in your hands then you can maybe go and see waterfalls, tea gardens and so much more.
Just about 20 km from the city of Jorhat, Majuli is a pristine, clean and lush green island which is the world's largest river island. It is inhabited by both tribal and non-tribal communities of Assam. The tribal people include the Mishings, the Sonowal Kocharis and the Deoris. The population of this island is over 1,50,000 who reside in 144 villages there.
A very popular and highly renowned attraction of Majuli are the Satras. The chief Satra patronized by the Ahom rulers is the Dakhinpat Satra which is visited every year by thousands of devotees. A festival named Rasotsava is celebrated here with great pomp and glory.
Another famous Satra is the Kamalabari Satra which is a rich storehouse of the culture, literature, art and classical studies of Assam.
Auniati, Gamur, Dakshinpath and Kamalabari are major holy seats in Majuli. The Vaishnavite spot is famous for preserving ancient articles and artifacts and Bortop is the most prominent among them. Auniati Satra is famous for its Paalnaam and Apsara dances and was founded by Niranjan Pathakdeva. The Satra features a huge collection of traditional Assamese jewelry,utensils and handicrafts.
A popular picnic spot near the Brahmaputra river bank is Tengapania. Bounded by Disangmukh, Dhakuakhana and Machkhowa, it is a major attraction for tourists as well as locals.
Hajo has become a unique tourist place because of its diversity and a centre of three religions namely Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism. The place is at a distance of about 24 km from the city of Guwahati. Adoring the banks of the Brahmaputra Hajo has shrines dedicated to Shiva, Durga, Buddha, Bishnu and others. Islamic saints are found all over the place and the temple Hayagriva Madhava Mandir has a very interesting legend which says that this was the place where the Buddha attained Nirvana. The Poa Mecca is also a place which attracts a huge number of tourists every year.
Guwahati serves as an useful base in Assam. This is the place which gives you the maximum comfort and maximum options. The most developed city of Assam, it is well connected to convenient modes of transport. You can stay here and plan your journey to various other places. This city has its tourist spots too which are beautiful and very popular. The most popular destinations include Maa Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple which is located on the world's smallest river island also known as the Peacock Island and many more. From amusement parks to museums, the city has it all.
This place dates back to the Ahom dynasty and it shows imprints of that culture in the present day. This town is full of the culture, history and glory of the Ahoms. From forts with underground architecture to numerous temples, Sivasagar is a beautiful city. The city provides various tourist attractions which are full of history and culture. The most popular tourist attractions include a water tank called Bhorpukhuri along with Joysagar, a man-made lake, Rudrasagar tank and temples, Ahom Museum, Charaideo, Rong Ghor, Kareng Ghor, Gourisagar Lake and temples and many more.
Manas National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, an elephant reserve, a project tiger reserve and a biosphere reserve, Manas National Park is known for the rare golden langur and the red panda. It is one of the best-kept national parks in India.
Known for its biodiversity and scenic beauty which includes hills and alluvial grasslands and evergreen forests, it is home to India’s second largest tiger population and also renowned for its population of wild water buffalo. Here you can book a jeep safari or an elephant safari and easily spot rhinos and tigers which will become one of the most cherished experiences ever.
The cultural capital of Assam, home to the largest Tea Research Station and also known as the Tea Capital of India, Jorhat is famous for its unique culture, gardens, mosques, tombs and its tea plantations. Jorhat has a glorious history to tell. It was the last capital of the Ahom dynasty which reigned supreme in Assam for about 600 years. You can visit its famed attractions like Bangal Pukhuri, Thengal Manor, Purnananda Buragohain Maidam, Bilvesvar Siva Temple, Magolu Khat, Raja Maidam and Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar.
Serving as a gateway to beautiful national parks and villages with scenic beauty, Tinsukia is a combination of fun, culture and entertainment. it is blessed with natural beauty and has spectacular places to visit. There are various popular tourist attractions like the DIbru-Saikhowa National Park, Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Sadiya, Digboi, Bell Temple, Lakhipathar and many others.
Renowned as the Tea City of India, Dibrugarh is the emerging industrial and communications hub of North-East India. Its economy thrives on three businesses which are tea, oil and tourism. This district is ideal for nature lovers who can satiate their wanderlust at the Jokai Botanical Garden cum Germplasm Centre, Jeypore Rainforest and those among you who are seekers can visit Lord Jagannath Temple, Shrikshetra Dhaam, Koli Aai Thaan, Dehing Satra and Buddhist Monastery at Namphake Village in search for answers.
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
One of the 19 biodiversity hotspots in the world, Dibru-Saikhowa is a river island national park. It is situated 12 km north of Tinsukia. Replete with a plethora of flora and fauna, there are seven parts of this national park of which one is a wetland and the rest is covered with grasslands. Housing endangered species, it is one of the few remaining protected sites in the Endemic Bird Area of the Assamese plains.
Animals which can be seen in their natural habitats include Hoolock Gibbon, Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, White-winged Wood Duck, Bengal Florican, Spotted-bill Pelican, Lesser Adjutant Stork, White-bellied Heron, Yellow Weaver and many more.
You can explore the park only by trekking, hence all the adventure-seekers gear up, though boat service is also available. There are no roads here due to which jeep safari or elephant safari are not available. The two entry points are Saikhowa Ghat and Guijan Ghat.
Nameri National Park
Located in the Sonitpur district of Assam, this park was built in 1978. Covering an area of 200 sq.km, this park is well known for its variety of flora and fauna. It is generally considered an ideal habitat for elephants and tigers. It is also home to Bisons, Leopards, Sambar, Hog Deer, Giant Squirrel, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Himalayan Bear and many more. Around 300 species of birds abound here. The rare White-winged Wood Duck also thrives here in this park.
This place is a newly discovered picturesque spot which is a perfect picnic spot that lies at the mouth of the river Barnadi at the foothills of Indo-Bhutan border in the Baksa district. Popular for Moina Pukhuri, a trekking site where you can trek through rugged hills is an experience of a lifetime and Manas Soushi Khongkhor, an eco-tourism park but the most popular attraction of this district is undoubtedly Manas National Park which is an ideal place to enjoy nature and wildlife.
Orang National Park
Orang National Park is located on the shores of the river Brahmaputra and houses various animals, birds and fishes. A very popular tourist destination, Orang is known for is rhino conservation. The main attractions of this park are Rhinos, Royal Bengal Tigers, Porcupines, Civets, Water Buffaloes, Leopards and many more. You can also observe various birds like fishing eagles, kingfishers, woodpeckers, white pelicans and much more. This park is also an important breeding ground for many fishes.
This village is the centre of Assam’s textile production which gave it the name “Manchester of India.” This place displays the culture and traditions of Assam in its best form. It's a weavers' village which specializes in mainly two types of silk- Muga Silk and Pat Silk. Indigenous items such as Mekhela Chadors and Gamusas are made which are symbols of its culture. It has been declared as a Handloom Heritage Village and thus is steadily growing up as an important tourist destination in the state. Eri silk and Endi clothes from this region are also renowned. This village retains the traditional charm with bamboo houses and the hospitality of the villagers is also very decent. Bird watching is also a major attraction of the place. There are a few budget hotels which provide basic accommodation and the traditional cuisine is also mouth-watering. Do give it a try. There are also various religious institutions like Namghars and Satras which make the place veryt appealing. Also the lush, green scenery of the place makes it very popular among the tourists. The village is famous for its silk products but also for the spectacular environment which it offers. There are also temples like the Siddeshwar Devalaya and Satras like Hatisatra which makes the place definitely worth visiting.
This is the land of Satras. Barpeta is the testimony of Srimanta Sankardeva, the proponent of Neo-Vaishnavism in Assam and his disciple Madhabdeva who came from Upper Assam to lay down a very strong foundation of Assamese culture. They left behind a legacy and this legacy can be seen in the present times. Educational institutions dealing with various branches of arts, music, dance, sculpture drama, ivory work and many others flourish in the region. The most popular Satra of this place is the Barpeta Satra which is about 500 years old.
One of the sub-divisions of Tinsukia, Sadiya seats at the confluence of three major rivers which are Dibang, Dihing and Lohit which creates the mighty Brahmaputra. It is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas and is full of tourist spots which attract a lot of attention. Some famous tourist places include Parsuram Kunda, Mayodia and Kibito among others. There are also a few temples and historical places like Tameshwari which is a Shakti temple that can be reached by crossing the Brahmaputra river in a ferry from Dhola Ghat.
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
Known for its high density of one-horned rhinos, this sanctuary is located in the Morigaon district of Assam which is near about 48 km from the city of Guwahati which is well connected with the rest of the country, spawning an area of 38.8 sq. km out of which 16 sq.km is inhabited by one-horned rhinos. The sanctuary also houses animals like the wild boar, leopard, barking deer, wild buffalo, about 275 species of birds and various reptiles as well. The sanctuary also supports two Critically Endangered, four Endangered, eight Vulnerable and three Near Threatened bird species. One such example is the Marsh Babbler (Pellorneum palustre) which is found in great numbers in Pobitora and is the state's plains endemic bird. Also the perennial water bodies serve as a breeding ground for a variety of fishes which also houses migrant waterfowl along with many mammal species as well. To visit here you can come to Guwahati first and then hire a cab to reach your destination.
A place which is known for its art of magic and sorcery, also known as the 'Land of Black Magic,'' Mayong is located in the Morigaon district on the banks of the Brahmaputra. This place has a rich history of magic and sorcery and it is believed that the Mayong village was the capital of black magic and witchcraft even during the medieval period.
Legends say that the name originated from the word 'Maya' which means illusion. Others state that when North-East was not divided, Manipuris used to reside here and the place was full of elephants. Since elephants are called 'Miyong' in Manipuri the name of the place gradually changed to Mayong. Till date there are plenty of texts which contain valuable sources of the craft that was once practiced there. Some families have retained it from their ancestors and some have destroyed it out of the fear of the text falling in wrong hands. Nevertheless the rich culture and history cannot be undermined and these stories create interest and attract a lot of tourists. The government is also taking initiatives to develop the tourism of the place. So when in Assam you should definitely visit Mayong too and bask in the mysterious and magical sunlight of the place.
Festivals of Assam
The people of Assam celebrate three types of Bihu. They are Magh or BhugaliBihu, Bohag or Rongalibihu and Kati or KongaliBihu. This is one of the most important festivals in the state.The BohagBihu is a festival of joy and happiness and mark the beginning of a new year. People engage in dancing and singing and merry-making. MaghBihu is a festival of 'Meji' and 'Pithas'. Meji is a practice where a huge bonfire is lit and prayers are offered thanking God for a good harvestPitha is a dish made from rice powder, coconut, jaggery etc. Kati Bihu is observed in a time of the year when there is not much to eat and people are generally poor. This festival is a festival of prayers, lighting diyas or earthen lamps and praying for a good harvest. These are the three types of Bihu, observed in Assam, in a nutshell.
One of the prominent festivals of North-East India, Ambubachi Mela is celebrated in the Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam during the month of June. A large number of devotees from all over India and also abroad attend the festival. This Mela is also called the "Mahakumbh of the past." It is believed that at this time of the year, Goddess Kamakhya goes through her annual menstrual cycle. The temple remains closed for three days and is considered unclean but the devotees flock the temple to seek her blessings. It is during this time when the Tantric cult is seen performing various unusual rites. After three days the temple re-opens and prayers are allowed to be offered to the deity.