The gateway to the Northeast, Assam, boasts some of the most beautiful and scenic places in India. Be it nature, or religious places, or historical sites, Assam has it all, and much more. Also, the mighty Brahmaputra flowing through the state makes it all the more enchanting. Assam has so much to offer in terms of tourism. However, it is still not as explored as other places in India. So join me as I dive into the different tourist places across Assam and check out the 15 tops attractions to visit in Assam.
If you are in Assam, you should definitely visit the Kamakhya temple. It is one of the most famous of the Shakti Peeth’s in India. The temple is dedicated to Kamakhya Devi, the menstruating Goddess. According to mythology, after Goddess Sati committed suicide following the humiliation of her husband Lord Shiva by her father King Daksha, Lord Shiva got enraged and started his dance of destruction with Sati’s body in his hand. To calm him down, Lord Vishnu had to cut Sati’s body with his Sudarshan Chakra. The pieces of the body fell in different places, which came to be known as the Shakti Peeths. Kamakhya is thought to be the place where Goddess Sati’s womb landed.
The temple is located on the Nilachal Hills and is visited by millions of devotees. It is a big complex, with six temples and six monuments inside it. The temple does not have any sculpture of the Goddess, but only has her yoni (vagina). The Ambhubachi festival in Guwahati is another time when lots of devotees visit the temple. It is believed that in June, the Goddess has her annual menstruation cycle, during which the River Brahmaputra near the temple turns red from her menstrual blood. During this time, the temple is closed for 3 days and opens to devotees on day 4. The holy water is also distributed among the devotees.
Another good time to visit the temple during September and October when there is a fantastic celebration of the festival of Durga Puja for five days.
The entry to the temple is free, and the timings are 5:30 am to 10 pm. You can visit the temple from Guwahati. The distance of the temple from the Guwahati bus stand is around 133 km. However, it is not allowed to take pictures inside the temple.
The Umananda Island, also called the Peacock island by the British, is one of the smallest islands of the world, present in the river Brahmaputra. It is an important religious tourist spot and has the Umananda temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple showcases the craftsmanship of the people of Assam for sculpting beautiful and intricate rock-cut figures of Lord Shiva, along with Lord Surya and Lord Ganesh. It also provides a serene, spiritual ambience with the sound of the temple bells, and the rustling of the river water complementing each other very nicely.
You can easily reach this island and the temple by jetties available on the banks of Brahmaputra. This island is close to Guwahati and can be visited while staying there. There are no entry fees for the temple. The timings are between 5:30 in the morning to 6 in the evening.
Hajo is an ancient pilgrimage place having a blend of three religions- Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Assam. The centre has numerous temples and religious places from all three faiths. On one hand, it has the Hayagriva Mahadeva temple. This temple is dedicated to the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and also revered by the Buddhists. On the other hand, it has the Hajo Poa Mecca, which is a sacred prayer place for people of the Islamic faith.
There are other religious sites in this place, each really beautiful with exquisite sculptures carved onto the same stone. Some of the sites here dates back to the 18th century, during the time of the regional Ahom King. Other than the spiritual aura, the tall green trees around the place and the beautiful view of the Brahmaputra makes this place a must-visit while in Assam.
You can visit Hajo from Guwahati, which is roughly 24 km far. You can also visit this place while in Sualkuchi.
Sivasagar is a town, around 360 km northeast of Guwahati, steeped in the rich ancient history of Assam. It gets its name from the big Sivasagar tank at the heart of the city. The city is associated with the courageous tales of Sati Joymoti. Sivasagar also has many famous temples including the Devidol, Vishnu Dole, Joy Dole and Sivadol.
King Rudra Singha also dug a tank named Joysagar in the memory of his mother Joymoti. Joymoti became a martyr to save the kingdom of Ahom from the oppressive King Swargadeo Sulikphaa. Other main attractions of Sivasagar also include the Karenghar (last palace of the Kings of Ahom), the amphitheatre Rang Ghar and the Sivasagar Tai Museum. You can also visit the Panidihing bird sanctuary if you are into bird watching.
The Majuli Island is one of the largest riverine islands of India in the mighty Brahmaputra river. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site. This island is a perfect blend of nature, culture and history, and a must-visit place while in Assam. The island has an area of around 452 square km. Although most of it remains submerged underwater during the monsoon, some of the bigger islands do not. A lot of beautiful and diverse bird species also visit this place. So you will absolutely love it if you are into bird watching. The people here get their livelihood mainly from agriculture, fishing, pottery, weaving and boat making.
Other than the natural beauty, this place is also famous for more than 600 ‘Satras’ or monasteries set up in and after the 15th century. The Satras are Vaishnava centres and some, like the Garamurh, Kamalabari, Dakhinpat, Auniati are popular for ‘Krishna Rasleela’. During this festival the local people perform the Sattriya Classical dance with drums and cymbals. Majuli is also famous for its handloom, pottery and mask making, and the Ali Aye festival in February. All in all, your sojourn at Majuli island will be spectacular and wholesome.
You can visit this island via a ferry from Jorhat city. There are almost no hotels here, but you can stay at homestays and also mingle with the locals.
Kaziranga National Park
The Kaziranga National Park is one of the most famous tourist places not only within Assam but also in India. It is home to the famous ‘One-horned Rhinoceros. The National park has other large mammals and diverse wildlife, including elephants, tigers, swamp deer, sambhar, Gaur, etc. Inside the park, you can opt for either a jeep or an elephant safari. The Park also offers a variety of flora including elephant grass, water lilies and tropical trees spread all across the park.
The Kaziranga National Park is located in the districts of Nagaon and Golaghat, around 200 km from Guwahati. You can easily reach the park through roads and trains. For those coming to Assam by air, you can land at Guwahati and then travel to Kaziranga. There are many accommodations available in the National Park itself. Although the park is open at all times, the Jeep safari timings are from 7:30 am to 11:00 am in the morning, and 2 pm to 4:40 pm in the evening. The Elephant safari timings are from 5 am to 4 pm. The fees are as follows: For Indians- Entry fee: INR 20, Jeep safari: INR 1500-2000, Elephant safari: INR 250; For Foreign Nationals- Entry fee: INR 250, Jeep safari: INR 1500-2000, Elephant safari: INR 750.
Manas National Park
Another famous national park of Assam, the Manas National Park wears the tag of UNESCO world heritage site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve as well as a Biosphere Reserve. This Park is home to many endangered and rare endemic species including the hispid hare, golden langur, Assam roofed turtle and the pygmy hog, to name a few. Apart from the unique wildlife, nature lovers will also enjoy the dense forests filled with tropical and deciduous trees and the ripple of the Manas River.
You can visit the Manas National Park from Guwahati by road and trains, and is 137 km from the city. The entry fees for the park are INR 20 for Indians and INR 250 for foreign nationals. The Park remains open from 8 am to 5 pm. To go around the park, you can book a Jeep safari, whose timings are from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm, and whose fees are INR 120 (Indians) and INR 750 (Foreign nationals). The best time to visit will be from November to April.
Nameri National Park
Nameri National park is nestled at the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. It is a treat for nature and wildlife lovers, with large areas of lush, green grasslands, and tall trees giving the complete forest experience. It also has a lot of lakes and water bodies inside. The National Park is home to several wild animals including tigers, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, sambhar, hornbills and storks. Also, if you are into adventure sports, then rafting in the Jia Bhorali river running across the National park is a must.
Nameri National Park is 38.8 km from Tezpur. It is also well connected to Guwahati. It is open from 5 in the morning to around 7 in the evening, and the entry fees are INR 20 (Indian nationals) and INR 250 (Foreign Nationals).
Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary
The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is in the Mayong village, in the district of Marigaon. Although not as famous as Kaziranga, this sanctuary is also very beautiful and is fascinating to wildlife lovers. It has diverse biodiversity and is home to the Indian one-horned rhinoceros, Asiatic buffalo, bears, civets, leopards and much more.
You can visit this sanctuary from Guwahati, and it is around 82 km from the Guwahati bus stand. It is open from 6:30 am to 5 pm and has an entry fee of INR 50.
Famously known as the ‘Tea City of India’, Dibrugarh is a small but vibrant city of Assam. Dibrugarh is fast developing into an important industrial and communication hub of North East India. It is also a popular tourist destination of Assam, not only because of its numerous lush green tea plantations but also the variety of adventure activities like mountaineering, trekking and camping it provides its tourists. One can see the turbulent Brahmaputra river from here. Hence, this town gives you a complete vacation experience from the pristine views to adventure sports.
Dibrugarh is around 439 km from Guwahati. It also connects to Guwahati as well as other places of India via different transportation modes. Even though it is a small city, there is no dearth of hotels, homestays and restaurants, ensuring that tourists and visitors have a comfortable stay while here.
North Cachar Hills district
The North Cachar Hills district, also known as the Dima Hasao district, is an autonomous hill district of Assam. This district offers some of the best sightseeings in Assam and offers a pristine calm holiday experience. This district is home to many tribes, each with its unique tradition, dialects and customs, including the Hmar, Kuki, Biate, Dimasa and Hrangkhol. This is the ideal vacation spot for all nature lovers, with the lush green mountains, small streams and waterfalls. Haflong, Jatinga, Umrangso, Panimoor and Maibang are some of the popular attractions in this district.
Haflong, the headquarters of this district, is also called the ‘Switzerland of the North-East’. This is a mesmerising place with green hills and moist clouds above your head. You can visit the enchanting Haflong lake, where you can take boat rides on the pristine waters. While in Haflong you can also visit the local handloom shops in the Haflong bazaar.
The nearest airport to this place is Silchar airport, which is roughly 140 km away. It is a good hill station, in fact, the only hill station of Assam, and is perfect for family and romantic vacations.
Also known as the ‘Manchester of India’, Sualkuchi is a quaint textile town on the northern bank of Brahmaputra. It falls under the Kamrup district of Assam. It is the centre of textile production in Assam and is also a Handloom Heritage Village. The town is famous for its silk weaving, and the products range from silk sarees, shawls and Mekhela Chadar (traditional attire of women). The silk includes the famous Pat silk, Eri silk, Muga silk and Endi cloth. Other than the textile, the village gives a first hand peek into the simple lives of the weavers, with their bamboo houses and mud walls.
Sualkuchi also has religious places, including the Sidheswar Develaya temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and the monastery Hatisala, which spreads the message of Vaishnavism. You can also visit the famous pilgrimage place Hajo, which is near to this place. Hajo is an amalgamation of three faiths in one place (Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism). Apart from this, Sualkuchi also has a rich flora and fauna, a many migratory birds visit this place every year.
Sualkuchi is around 35 km from Guwahati. Other than experiencing some of the best weavers at work, your stay at Sualkuchi will be a wholesome experience due to the various temples and beautiful greenery all around, making it a relaxing getaway for many.
Who does not know about the “Oil City of Assam,” Digboi? Digboi is a town in the district of Tinsukia. It is the first oil refinery in India, and even Asia. It is roughly 510 km northeast of Guwahati and well connected to Guwahati. While here, you will be amazed by the Digboi oil refinery and look around the industry. However, other than the refinery, Digboi also has many other places to visit including tea gardens, the Dibru Saikhowa Natural life Sanctuary (60 km from Digboi, and home to cheetahs, elephant, tigers and around 300 bird species), ridge point and war cemetery.
One will have a wondrous vacation in the scenic town of Digboi with the magnificence of the majestic animals and tea gardens. Digboi is also famous for its handicrafts and textiles. In summary, you will get to see and experience a lot of interesting things while in Digboi.
Although there are many places in Assam with tea plantations, given how Assam contributes to almost half of the tea production in India, if you have to visit one such place, then visit Jorhat. Jorhat is the ‘Tea Capital of the world’ and is a lovely city sprawling with numerous lush green tea plantations.
Other than the beautiful tea plantations, Jorhat is also important historically since it was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom, and has the last burial mounds of the empire. While in Jorhat, do visit the Nimati ghat of the Brahmaputra in the early morning, and visit the Raja Maidam park, Bangal Pukhuri, Thengal Manor, Burigosain devalay temple, Bilvesvar Siva temple, Magolu Khat, Sukapha samannay kshetra, Purnanda Buragohain Maidam and Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar. You can also visit several places from Jorhat, including the Manjuli islands, the Kakochang waterfalls, the Gibbon wildlife sanctuary, Tocklai Tea research centre, and much more.
The Tocklai tea research centre works on inventing teas with various flavours. The Kakochang waterfalls is a beautiful waterfall with pristine waters falling from atop the hill to a pond below. One can also visit these waterfalls from the Kaziranga National Park. You will surely be awestruck by the place, with a fine mist of water all around you, the air fresh and smelling of nature and the water drops brushing against your face. You can also take a dip in the pond.
Jorhat is at a distance of 307 km from Guwahati. If you are visiting here from November to January, so try to plan your trip around the Tea festival held here.
Tezpur is the ‘Social Capital of Assam’. It is an urban town located in the Sonitpur district. Tezpur is an agglomeration of different things all in one place. On one hand, you will get lush green tea plantations and huge paddy fields. And on the other hand, it also has historical places like the fortress at Agnigarh. According to mythology, the demon King Bana built the Agnigarh fort (or fortress of fire) to seclude his daughter Usha and keep her from meeting Aniruddha. Usha was in love with Aniruddha, the grandson of Krishna, but Bana was against this. This resulted in a terrible fight between Bana and Krishna. And finally, Usha was able to elope with Aniruddha.
Other places to visit in and around Tezpur include the Nameri National Park, the Padum Pukhuri (a lotus lake with a small island in it), the Jyoti-Bishnukhelpathar at Dadhara (which hosts several cultural occasions and dances like Bagurumba and Bihu), the Bamuni hills, Mahabhairav temple, and the Cole stop ( Chitralekha Udyan ). Also, if you are a lover of history, you can visit the temple complex of Da Parbatiya, a small village near west Tezpur. The ruins, maintained by the Archeological Survey of India, dates back to the 6th-7th century and has the influence of the early Gupta School of sculptures.
Tezpur is around 189 km from Guwahati and is a wholesome tourist destination. It offers a plethora of places to visit and things to do and appeals to nature, history, mythology and adventure lovers alike. It is best to avoid visiting Tezpur in the summers (March-July) since it is scorching hot, while in the monsoon season (July-September) it rains heavily. The best time to visit here are the winter months of November to February.
With its numerous wildlife sanctuaries, temples and beautiful towns filled with tea plantations, Assam is a place waiting to be explored. Other than the above enchanting places which are there in Assam which you can visit. Also, when in Assam, do not miss tasting the local delicacies and learning about the unique traditions and culture of the locals. Hence, what are you waiting for? Plan your next trip for Assam and you will not be disappointed.