Haflong is a charming hill station in Assam. The Haflong Lake is located at the heart of the Haflong town and is the pride of the hill station. It is almost impossible to miss the Haflong Lake when visiting this place. This is one of the largest natural water bodies in Assam and thus is also referred to as the ‘Scotland of Assam’ for its beauty.
While visiting the Haflong Lake, tourists should not miss out on boating, one of the recreational activities on the lake. Boating on the Haflong Lake gives a panoramic view of the hill station and the adjoining mountains. Since the town is still free from pollution, while boating on the Haflong Lake, the clear skies and the never ending horizon offer a spectacular view.
The Haflong Lake is located at the centre of the hill station and tourists wanting to stay in the hill station for a few days can definitely spend a considerable amount of time in this picturesque place.
A visit to Tezpur is incomplete without visiting Agnigarh. The site illustrates the romance between Prince Aniruddha and Princess Usha and the fierce battle that was fought later by Lord Krishna and Banasura.
Interestingly, this entire story has been retold by using life-like statues. These statues are spread across the vast fort-like area of Agnigarh. The place is a towering mass of land – a hillock – that can be climbed by a circular stairway that goes round Agnigarh.
There is another interesting story associated with the place. It is believed that Usha’s companion Chitralekha, a talented painter, painted a man’s picture she saw in her dreams. When she brought the picture to Usha, the latter said that it was the picture of her love, Prince Aniruddha. Most of the town can be seen from the top of Agnigarh. It is a famous picnic spot for locals and tourists alike.
‘Maidam’ is an Ahom word meaning graveyard. ‘Mai’ means rest and ‘dam’ means dead person. Many maidams came into being during the reign of the Ahom Swargodeos. Among them, the Bahikhowa Maidam is one important maidam. The Bahikhowa Maidam is dedicated to Bahikhowa Dasarath Dowerah Borphukan.
Borphukan was a title given to the chief of the Army Staff of the Ahoms. Bahikhowa Dasarath Dowerah was the Army Chief during the rule of Rajeswar Singha. The Bahikhowa Maidam is situated within the premises of the Khowang tea estate. However, presently the Bahikhowa Maidam lies in ruins.
There are three smaller maidams close to the Bahikhowa Maidam, but all of them are in ruins today. Moreover, several other ruined maidams can be found in and around the Khowang tea estate all of which lie in dilapidated condition. Dibrugarh has several maidams, the popular ones being the Barbarua Maidam, Sorumechlow and Bormechlow Maidam and Lekai Chetia Maidam.
If you are looking for tropical wet evergreen forests you must visit Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across an area of 111.19 sq km this sanctuary is unfolded between Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Assam Valley.
It is also close to the border of Arunachal Pradesh and also has World War II cemeteries along with the famous Stillwell Road. You will find mammals such as Chinese Pangolin, Stump-Tailed Macaque, Himalayan Black and Malayan Giant Squirrels to name a few.
There are also many species of birds found here including Lesser Adjutant Stork, White Winged Wood Duck, White Cheeked Hill Partridge, Khaleej Pheasant, Grey Peacock-Pheasant, Rufus Necked Hornbill among others.
The best time to visit this sanctuary would be between the months of September and March. This sanctuary is located 80 km from the Mohanbari (Dibrugarh) Airport and also close to the towns of Digboi, Duliajan and Margherita in Upper Assam.
The Digboi Oil Refinery holds the prestigious title of being the first oil refinery in the country and the oldest functional refinery in the world. It was established in the 1901 and has the capacity of producing around 0.65 Million Metric Tonnes Per Annum oil.
The Digboi Oil Refinery is run by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited. The refinery unit also engages in distillation of wax from crude oil. The Oil Refinery is the main tourist attraction of Digboi. Tourists can see how the oil manufacturing unit was built by the British more than a hundred years ago.
Though public are not allowed into the oil fields, special permission can be sought to visit the oil refineries. Over the years, the Digboi Oil Refinery has been improved and steps have been taken to revise the unit. The Solvent De-waxing Unit and Wax Hydro-finishing unit are two such new components of the refinery.
The Hayagriva Madhava Temple is the most popular and most visited temple not only of Hajo but also of the region. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and it is believed that the idol of the Hayagriva Madhava Temple resembles the idol of Lord Jagannath in Puri.
It is also believed that on this site, Lord Buddha attained Nirvana. Thus, the Hayagriva Madhava Temple sees many Buddhists along with Hindus visiting the temple every year. The major attraction of the temple is the Holi festival celebrated in the month of March. Devotees and tourists throng the temple during the Holi festival.
The other festivals which are celebrated with equal aplomb are Bihu and Janmashtami. Though it cannot be rightly said which year the temple was constructed, evidences show that in the year 1543 the Koch king Raghudev had reconstructed it after Muslims destroyed the old structure.
The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Temple is located in the heart of Silchar in a locality named Ambica Patty. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and serves as an important attraction for tourists and the local residents of the town. The temple has idols of Gaudiya Vaishnava (Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) along with the idols of Krishna and Radha.
Standing tall at close to 50 ft the temple overlooks the locality and is famous for its architecture. The temple draws huge crowds during the festivals of Janmasthami and Durga Puja every year where thousands of people are served the Holy Prasad at the temple premises.
The monks at the temple are also involved in much charitable work for the poor and the downtrodden in and around Silchar. The delicious vegetarian meal that is served every day for the devotees is a significant attraction with the tourists visiting this temple.
A visit to Guwahati is considered incomplete without visiting the famous Kamakhya Temple. This is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas according to Hinduism and is counted among the most important pilgrimage centres. Located about 7 km from the city centre at the top of the Nilachal Hills, there are ten individual temples dedicated to ten ‘mahavidyas’.
While the idols of Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala are found inside the main temple, the other seven forms are found in separate temples surrounding the main temple. One of the religious festivals that takes place at the Kamakhya Temple is the Ambubachi Mela around mid-June. This festival is held to commemorate the yearly menstrual cycle of Goddess Kamakhya (another form of Goddess Kali).
Tantric saints from across the country visit the temple during this time. Durga Puja and Manasha Puja are also celebrated in the temple. Tourists should know that only Hindus are allowed within the premises of the Kamakhya Temple.
Kamalabari Satra is the most significant and renowned place in Majuli. The largest river island is known to be the centre for neo-Vaishavinism in Assam that was promoted by Srimanta Sankardeva. ‘Kamala’ means orange and ‘bari’ means garden in Assamese. The Kamalabari Satra was established in the year 1595 by Badala Ata, a celebrated disciple of Madhavadeva.
The Kamalabari Satra is regarded as the centre of art, culture and literature for centuries. It is from Kamalabari that Sattriya Dance got its popularity later getting the status of a classical dance form.
Every year, the monsoon makes the Satra vulnerable and much has been destroyed in the incessant floods that Majuli experiences.
Kamalabari Satra is also famous for creating mythological sculptures. The best time to visit Kamalabari Satra is when the monsoon recedes and the island is not flooded. Tourists have to take a ferry from Nimati Ghat in Jorhat to reach the Satra.
Kaziranga National Park is one of the prides of Assam. It is noteworthy to mention that it is home to the endangered Indian one-horned rhinoceros and also declared as a tiger reserve in 2006, hosting the highest density of tigers in the world.
The national park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a large park covering an approximate area of 429.93 sq km. It falls under two districts of Assam – Golaghat and Noagaon districts. Kaziranga tourism is not just about spotting one of the many one-horned rhinoceros or tigers that gracefully trudge the large grounds, but also to see the three large herbivores that live in the park, namely, the Asiatic Elephant, the Asiatic Water Buffalo and the Swamp Deer.
The Kaziranga National Park has also been demarcated as an important bird-area by the Birdlife International for its effort to conserve avifaunal species. One of the many attractions in the Kaziranga National Park is travelling inside the park on elephants that are steered by trained mahouts.
It is a special treat to move in the open grounds on these majestic animals. The other alternative of seeing the national park is on booked jeeps or 4WD vehicles. These have to be booked in advance from the Park Administrative Centre.
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and its brilliant architecture is considered as the main attraction to the tourists. The temple is situated 1 km from Tinsukia Bus Stand and can be easily accessed with the help of local transportation. The temple is known for its numerous bells tied on the branches of a huge peepal tree by the devotees.
The Sivadol is the tallest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that stands on the banks of the Sivasagar Lake. The temple was built in 1734 by Bar Raja Ambika, queen of Ahom king, Swargadeo Siba Singha. Standing at a height of 195 feet (59 metres) from the ground, it is believed to be the tallest Shiva temple in the whole of India. The temple is capped by an 8-feet-high golden dome that displays magnificent craftsmanship of the Ahom rule.
This place attracts a huge number of tourists every year during the Shivaratri. A huge mela is organised in the temple ground. Alongside the Shivadol is the Devidol and Vishnu Dol that also serve as great attractions to tourists visiting this place. Near these temple complex you can also witness ancient cannons made from iron that have been preserved as relics from the time of the Ahom rule.
The Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra is a cultural institution that has an art gallery, a museum, an open-air theatre and a traditional Vaishnava temple. The cultural institution was established in the year 1990 by the state government in an attempt to highlight the cultural richness of the state.
Named after the saint Srimanta Sankardeva, the religious leader who brought Vaishnavism to this part of the country, the Kalakshetra is situated on Panjabari. Apart from the art gallery and other attractions, the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra also has a library called the Sahitya Bhavan Library, where old Assamese literature along with original manuscripts have been preserved.
For the purpose of exhibition, the Kalakshetra has a special place called the Lalit Kala Bhavan. In the Lalit Kala Bhavan, workshops, art and culture exhibitions are regularly organised. However, the most famous attraction of the institution is the artificial village that has the environment of a typical Assamese village.
Sukapha Samannay Kshetra in a memorial built in the memory of Sukapha, the first Ahom king of Assam. The Sukapha Samannay Kshetra is situated near Mohbandha near Jorhat and Dergaon. Sukapha was the founder of the Ahom kingdom which continued to exist for nearly six hundred years.
A Thai prince, Sukapha came to the region crossing the Patkai range. He is the main person who initiated the unification of the tribal and the non-tribal people of the region. The Sukaphas Samannay Kshetra was built as an attempt to highlight and preserve the remarkable leadership of Sukapha. There are thus several things of interest to be seen at the Sukapha Samannay Kshetra.
Currently, an excavation project is operational at the site. The excavation site is being carried on to find any possible remains of the Ahom kingdom. To reach the Sukapha Samannay Kshetra, tourists can easily find tourist cabs, auto rickshaws and city buses.
Dakhinpat Satra is one of the famous socio-religious institutions in Majuli, which is an island in Assam. It was formed by a disciple of Vamshigopal. It is an important centre of art and culture exhibiting various forms of sculptures, paintings and dances and it was patronised by the kings of Ahom dynasty.
It is also called the house of dance, as a variety of dance forms have been contributed by Shri Sankardeva. It was established in the year 1584. The gateway of the Satra is ornamental and many religious motifs and images of flowers and animals are engraved on it.
The National Festival of Assam, known as Rasleela is celebrated every year here. Thousands of devotees pay visit here during the festival. Banmalidev, the founder of this Satra was a supporter of Rasleela.
The monks who live in Satras are known as bhakats and presently there are ninety to hundred bhakats. The institution is under the surveillance of the Satradhikar. The remains and manuscripts of saint Srimanta Sankardeva have been preserved by the Satradhikars. These Satras follow the Mahapuruxia Dharma. The idol of Mahaprabhu Jadavarai is worshipped in the Satra.