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Assam, popularly known as the land of the red river and blue hills is the gateway to North-East India. It is also known as the tea state of the country. Assam is one of the seven sisters of the northeast. Assam is divided into two parts: the upper Assam and lower Assam.
- The ancient name of Assam was Pragjyotisha. ‘Prajyotisha’ or ‘Pragjyotishpura’, Gait (1992, reprint) writes that Prag means ‘former’ or ‘eastern’ and Jyotisha ‘a star’, astrology, shining. Pragjyotishpur may, therefore, be taken to mean the ‘City of Eastern Astrology’.
- Ancient Kamarupa included roughly the Brahmaputra River valley, Bhutan, the Rangpur region (now in Bangladesh), and Koch Bihar, in West Bengal state.
- Assam was ruled by various dynasties—the Pala, Koch, Kachari, and Chutiya—and there was constant warfare among the princes until the coming of the Ahom people in the 13th century. The Ahom crossed the Patkai Range from Myanmar (Burma) and conquered the local chieftains of the upper Assam plain.
- Ahom power and prosperity reached a zenith during the rule of King Rudra Singh (reigned 1696–1714), before the kingdom was occupied by warriors from Myanmar in the late 18th century.
- By 1842 the whole of the Brahmaputra valley of Assam had come under British rule. A separate province of Assam (administered by a chief commissioner) was created in 1874 with its capital at Shillong.
- In 1905 Bengal was partitioned, and Assam was amalgamated with eastern Bengal.
- Between the early 1960s and the early 1970s, Assam lost much of its territory to new states that emerged from within its borders.
Assam is the sentinel of north-east India and gateway to the North-Eastern States. Located in the northeastern region of India, around the banks of Brahmaputra, it is a major tourist attraction for domestic and foreign tourists as well. The capital of Assam is Dispur. Guwahati city in Assam is called the Gateway to the North East and is the largest metropolis in North East India. Assam is divided into 34 districts.
How to reach Assam?
- Assam is well connected by airline services to most major cities in India. All flights, national and international to and from Assam, operate from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. In total Assam has a total of six airports.
- The airport is around 22km from the city of Guwahati.
- For international travellers from East Asia or South East Asia, the easiest route to travel to Assam is via Kolkata. There are several direct flights from Kolkata to Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Silchar and Jorhat.
- Similarly for travellers from Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and African countries either via Delhi and Mumbai or even Kolkata route is preferable.
- Myanmar citizens can come in through the border post of TAMU-MOREH and take a connecting flight from Imphal to Guwahati.
- Assam is also well connected through Rail Services to Indian cities. Three major routes of North East Frontier Railways (NF Railways) covers the entire Assam and provides linkages to principal zones and cities in north, east and south India.
- Guwahati railway station is the largest in Assam and is served by direct trains from most of the major cities in India.
- There are many direct trains from Delhi (including the Rajdhani Express) and Kolkata for Dibrugarh in Upper Assam. Usually, Dibrugarh is an additional nights journey (12hrs) from Guwahati.
- There are highways from Indian states in the west and buses run between Siliguri (to Siliguri buses are available from Kolkata, Darjeeling and Gangtok) and Guwahati.
- Tamu in western Myanmar is connected to a reasonably good highway to Assam via Manipur; Tamu in Myanmar border is closer to Mandalay.
- The historic Stilwell Road between Assam-Myanmar-China from Ledo in Upper Assam to Myitkina in Myanmar and further to Kunming in China is right now not fully operationalised.
When to visit Assam?
- Assam is a 365 days destination, yet the monsoon season is not very favourable.
- The time period of April to June marks the presence of the summer season in Assam. If you do not mind a little bit of harsh sun over your head and humidity in the air, you should plan your visit to Assam in any of the summer months. The days are hot and the nights are pleasant.
- The winter season in Assam begins at the onset of November and lasts till the mid of March. Assam really is a visual treat and comfort to all the senses during the season, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. The days are pleasant with thin fog protecting the land from harsh sunlight and nights are cold in an ideal manner.
Assamese and Bodo are the local official languages in Assam. Assamese being the main one, and Bengali is also used as the same in Barak Valley. But other than that there are several other languages spoken in the state by the different tribes.
- Summer Season: March to May
- Average Temperature: 23.9 c- 26.1 c
- Winter Season: December to February
- Average Temperature: 18.9 c – 20.2c
- Monsoon Season: June to September
- Average Temperature: 27.3c – 27c
- Post-Monsoon Season: October to November
- Average Temperature: 25.2c – 23c
Fairs & Festivals in Assam
The colourful heritage and rich culture of Assam are reflected in the different types of festivities and celebrations that take place within its borders. The festivals and fairs that are celebrated in the largest Northeastern state are entertaining, engaging, vibrant and nothing less than a spectacular experience. The different tribes who call Assam their home, pay tribute to their culture and customs in their own unique and beautiful way.
The most significant and important of all the cultural and vibrant celebrations in Assam is the Bihu festival. Comprising of Rongali, Magh, and Kati Bihu.
Hosted in the Kamakhya Devi temple in Guwahati, the Ambubachi Mela is organised during the monsoon season, every year. The festival, organized for a span of four days, brings out the Tantric culture practised in many parts of Assam.
Celebrated by the Bodo Kacharis of Assam, the Baishagu festival marks the beginning of the new year. It is observed in the month of Bohag (April) of the Assamese calendar. Similar to other festivals celebrated to welcome the new year, It is a wonderful spectacle filled with colours and positive energy.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
Being one of the sisters of Northeast, Assam holds a heady mix of history, culture, and nature at the same time. Being packed with tourist all year, there are plenty of hotels and resorts in most parts of assam, both pocket- friendly and expensive according to ones own taste and wishes to make ones stay comfortable.
Since assam is a state famously known for its tea cultivation. Therefore, there are many resorts and many home stays in those area as the tea gardens provide for a very scenic view.
There are ample amounts of resorts for tourists to stay and enjoy kajiranga national park to its fullest.
For local transportation, there is a wide range of choices available for tourists such as –
The blue-white coloured bus can be easily seen on the roads of assam which offers cheap and affordable services.
Tourists who really wish to see the authenticity of guwahati and feel the each and every moment of their stay can choose cycle or bikes available at various points or hire them with agencies. Available for few hours, or for full day.
Sharing as well as personal taxies can be hired for visiting the city. Packages of different ranges are available to choose.
Places to visit in Assam
Kajiranga national park
The park is home to two-third of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceros, making it a world heritage site. Apart from rhinoceros, the park is also a place where you will find highest density of tigers. It is also known for conservation of water buffaloes, swamp deer and wild elephants.
Sivsagar, rang ghar
Rang Ghar, the famous double-storied Ahom ruin; and the Kareng Ghar, one of the finest examples of Ahom architecture, are the reasons why one should visit Sivasagar.
Kamakhya Temple, the ancient Shakti temple, is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Tantric worshippers.
The riverine island of Majuli is not only the largest freshwater river island in the world, but also an important Vaishnavite pilgrimage centre.
Also known as Oil City of Assam, Digboi is an important part of Assam’s heritage. With the oldest oil well still in operation.
The ancient pilgrim centre of Hajo finds it uniqueness in being an attraction for three religions – Hindu, Muslims and Buddhists.
Kamakhya Temple, the ancient Shakti temple, is an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Tantric worshippers.
Doul govindo temple
Situated on the banks of Brahmaputra river, Doul Govinda temple is one of the most revered shrines of lord Krishna. It is known to possess immense scenic beauty.
Namghars in Assam
Namghar is a place of worship of the Assamese community.It can be found in almost all the Hindu villages of Assam. Namghar is a kind of an identity for the Assamese people. It is the primary feature of every village, town and city of Assam.
- Manas National Park the Biosphere Reserve of Assam is a must place to visit.
- Kamakhya Temple is a Religious Expedition.
- Majuli Island, the Largest Riverine Island in the world.
- Kakochang Waterfalls, the Magnificent Wonder Of Nature.
- Dibrugarh also known as the Tea City Of India
- Dima Hasao, the Home Of Assamese Tribes is a must-visit as well.
Cuisines to taste in Assam
Aloo Pitika is a simple side dish accompanied by rice and dal. A soul food in its truest sense, aloo pitika is loved by every single person here.
It is a delicious sweet and sour chutney made out of Ouu (elephant apple) and jaggery.
Pitha is one of the most popular snack time dishes, which is usually eaten during breakfast or with evening tea. There is a wide variety of pithas available.
Things to do in Assam
Famed for its lush green tea plantations, rich wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and historical sites, the Northeast is a paradise to be in. But, what is often left unacknowledged are the incredible things to do in here which proves that the state is one of the most shining gem amongst all the other sisters. From getting you close to nature to letting you discover a new side of yourself, Assam offers all kinds of experiences.
- The northeastern state and its tea fields are almost synonymous with each other, and therefore admiring them is undoubtedly amongst the top things to do in Assam, India.
- Cruising in the heart of the Brahmaputra river and witnessing the sunset is certainly one of the top fun things to do here In Assam.
- While every Assamese home has a weaving machine, the best of it can be witnessed in Sualkuchi, as it produces the best quality silk in the state.
- River cruising in the Brahmaputra, visiting the Kamakhya Temple, Kaziranga National Park & Assam State Zoo, bird watching at Dipor Bil, shopping at Paltan Bazaar, and indulging in the famous local cuisines are some of the top things to do in Guwahati.
Souvenirs to buy in Assam
Assam is the largest tea producing state in India. It is very popular throughout India and across the world.
The three main types of silk here are Muga, Pat and Eri silk. From all of these Muga silk is the most beautiful one. It is widely used in Assam and many of the traditional dresses are made out of it.
The state is full of wood, bamboo and various tribes who make these. You can find a variety of handicraft items right here. Handicrafts items are one of the most famous things to buy in Guwahati.Phulam gamusa-The state is full of wood, bamboo and various tribes who make these. You can find a variety of handicraft items right here. Handicrafts items are one of the most famous things to buy in Guwahati.
Jaapi and wooden rhino statue
Jaapi is offered as a sign of respect in rituals, and is positioned as a decorative item around the house, especially near the front door as a welcome sign.
The Gamusa/Gamosa/Gamocha is an article of great significance for the people of Assam and the very symbol of Assamese culture.