Assam is dotted with numerous monuments built by the Ahom Dynasty – one that ruled the State for over 600 long years – also one that could not be subjugated by the mighty Mughal rulers. The legend is that, Chaulung Siu-ka-phaa, the first Ahom King, was a descendant of Lord Indra.
Assam’s history speaks of traditions and cultures of the oldest periods of human civilization. Historical monuments like the Rang Ghar, which is often referred to as the ‘Colosseum of the East’ or Asia’s first sports pavilion, Ahom-era palaces and huge man made tanks in Sivasagar, Maidams of Charaideo – India’s own pyramids are frequented by both domestic and international tourists. Equally important are the Madan Kamdev Temple (also called mini Khajuraho), Sri Surya Pahar in Goalpara, Agnigarh in Tezpur, Deoparbat in Golaghat, etc.
Some of the important Museums and Historical Monuments of Assam are ~
- India’s only Coal Museum at Margherita ~ Awesome Assam
Situated very close to the office of the General Manger of Coal India Ltd. at Margherita in Assam is India’s only Coal Museum. The brain child of the Ex. Chief General Manager of NECF Mr. A. K. Bora a coal mining professional and a war history enthusiast (he has never missed to watch any movie/documentary on the World Wars I & II), this museum of International standard was inaugurated on 29th October, 2012 and is opening for public viewing.
The coal museum contains Relics of the likes of the locomotives manufactured by W G Bagnall, Stafford, England (John, Hassng, David and Shelly), Memoirs of World War II (rare pictures of construction of Stilwell Road, Pangsau Pass and Ledo airstrip, empty shells of bombs used in WW II), the history of the Assam Railways & Trading Co. Ltd (AR &T Co. Ltd.), a rare collection of stamps from over the world, vintage Cyclostyle machines, etc.
- Centenary Oil Museum at the Legendary Oil Town of Digboi ~ Awesome Assam
This Legendary history of the Digboi Oil Story is well preserved at the Digboi Centenary Oil Museum which is built on the fringes of Digboi Well No.1 from which oil is still gently seeping. Inaugurated in January 2002, this museum is a treasure house of memorabilia of the past, tools and equipment of the yesteryear s and elegant wall panels depicting the history of Oil refining in India. While an air raid shelter of the World War II greets visitors at the entrance of the museum, the steel rig of Digboi Well No. 1 stands as a silent sentinel of excellence adjacent to the museum building.
- Treasured Wheels Museum at Sonapur ~ Awesome Assam
Perhaps the greatest example of a man’s power of dreaming, believing in his dream and working continuously to realize that dream is illustrated when you step foot into the ‘Treasured Wheels Museum’ near Guwahati in Assam. Mr. Piklu Deka or Piklu Da as everyone calls him is the man behind this dream. What started as a dream to own a vintage car thirty (30) years ago has finally transformed in the shape of a museum with a collection of over 50 vintage cars, 50 motorbikes and much more.
A short half an hour drive from Guwahati will reach you to the Treasured Wheels Museum. You are greeted at the Museum Entrance by a collection of helmets used by Soldiers during World War II announcing your expeditions across a huge campus filled with the memoirs of the War. From vintage Russian Army Trucks, American Motorbikes to Chinese Paratrooper Cycles you are sure to find them here. The amazing part is that all these Motorcars are in a perfect running condition.
- The Agnigarh Fortress at Tezpur ~ Awesome Assam
Agnigarh aka the Fortress of Fire is located is a hillock on the banks of the mighty River Brahmaputra at the city of Tezpur in the State of Assam. As per Hindu mythology, it is the site of the fortress which was built by ‘Banasura‘ to keep his daughter Usha in isolation. The name itself is derived from the words ‘Agni’ (meaning fire) and ‘Garh’ (meaning fortress or wall) in Sanskrit.
- The Rang Ghar at Sivasagar ~ Awesome Assam
The Rang Ghar (the House of Entertainment) is a two-storied building situated in Sivasagar, once served as the royal sports-pavilion for Ahom kings and nobles – particularly during the Rongali Bihu festival (the Assamese New Year in the month of April) in the Ahom capital of Rangpur. It is said to be the oldest amphitheater in the whole of Asia and has often been referred to as the ‘Colosseum of the East‘. The Rang Ghar is situated to the northeast of the Talatal Ghar, in the Joysagar area of the Sibsagar district. This ancient amphitheater was constructed by the Ahom ruler Swargadeo Pramutta Singha in 1744-1750.
- The Kareng Ghar at Sivasagar ~ Awesome Assam
The Kareng Ghar, also known as ‘the Garhgaon Palace’, is located at Garhgaon (15 kilometers) from present-day Sivasagar, in Upper Assam, India. The Kareng Ghar serves as one of the grandest examples of Ahom architecture to be ever built. The palace basically was made of wood and stones. In 1747 Pramatta Singha, son of Rudra Singha, constructed the brick wall of about 5 kilometers in length surrounding the ‘Garhgaon Palace’ and the masonry gate leading to it.
- The Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar ~ Awesome Assam
The Talatal Ghar is a palace located in Rangpur, 4 km from the city of Sivasagar, in Upper Assam. It has two secret tunnels and many floors below ground level which were used by the Ahom kings and soldiers as exit routes during the wars.
The Talatal Ghar is not a usual kind of a monument. It speaks of Architectural Expertise of the people of Assam several hundred years ago. The Talatal and the Kareng Ghar together constitutes the Rongpur palace. One end of the Talatal Ghar was situated below the Kareng Ghar which helped the kings and the army to escape during the war times. After Swargadeo Rudra Singha’s death, the Talatal Ghar, went through many architectural alterations to its structure, which resulted in its irregular shape.
- Heritage Railway Park and Museum at Tinsukia ~ Awesome Assam
Keeping in mind their objectives to reach the above mentioned mission statements the Assam Railways and Trading Company started the construction of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway and it was on the 15th of August, 1882 that the rail route was opened from the Dibrugarh Port to Dinjan. The construction continued and on 23rd December 1882, the rail route was opened ’til Chabua. The route for the passenger train from the Makum junction was opened to public on the 16th of July, 1883.
The memoirs of the Dibru-Sadiya Railway are well preserved at the Railway Heritage Park and Museum at Tinsukia where one can also view Steam Locomotives that built the success story of one the World’s largest Railway Organization – the Indian Railways!
- Digboi World War II Cemetery ~ Awesome Assam
During the Second World War, Digboi, in the north-eastern corner of the state of Assam, near the Burmese border and on the road to Ledo, was on the lines of communication, and a military hospital was established there. Digboi War Cemetery was started for burials from the hospital and at the end of the war contained 70 burials. Later, the Army Graves Service brought in further graves from burial grounds in Panitola, Jorhat, Margherita, Tinsukia, Ledo, and as well as from the US Military Cemetery at Shingvuoiyang in Burma where permanent maintenance could not be assured.
- The Guwahati World War II Cemetery ~ Awesome Assam
Guwahati War Cemetery, it was started during the World War II, for burials from several military hospitals in the region. Soldiers and workers who couldn’t make it after fighting the enemy and building the epic Stilwell road were laid to rest here. Later, other graves were brought in by the Army Graves service from military cemeteries in Sylhet and Amari Bari and civil cemeteries in Nagaon, Mohachara and Guwahati for permanent maintenance. Some graves were later also brought from isolated sites in present-day Mizoram, Coochbehar, Darjeeling, Shillong, Dibrugarh, Lumding, Dinjan, Dhubri etc.
Among the 9 world war cemeteries in India, Guwahati is the only cemetery which has graves of Japanese soldiers (11 of them). The graves were rested peacefully in the cemetery until the Japanese government decided to dig up the graves (on 19th January 2012) and fly them back to Japan so as to give them a formal burial in their native country.
- The Guwahati War Memorial ~ Awesome Assam
The War Memorial at Digholipukhuri in Guwahati is a one of a kind War Memorial of India. Built with motive of paying tribute to the brave hearts who laid down their lives for safeguarding the territorial integrity of the nation, the War Memorial perpetuates their hallowed memory and inspires and motivates the young generation to make sacrifices for the sake of the motherland.
- The Bordowa Satra Museum at Nagaon ~ Awesome Assam
The Museum at the Bordowa Satra in Nagaon has many relics of the Era of the Ahom Kingdom in Assam. The Ahoms being one of the most feared ruling dynasties of India has an elaborate warfare methodology and certain tactical weapons used in warfare are put up on display at this museum. One can also find artifacts used by the Great Saint Sri Sri Srimanta Shankardeva and Sri Sri Madhavadeva here at this museum
- The Lachit Maidam at Jorhat ~ Awesome Assam
Lachit Borphukan was the most respected General of the Ahom Dynasty. A man so dedicated towards his Motherland that he beheaded his own Uncle towards negligence of his duties in safeguarding his land. The National Defense Academy awards its best cadet with the Lachit Borphukan award. The Lachit Maidam at Jorhat is built in the premises of Lachit Borphukan’s home. The museum here has many relics of the Ahom Kingdom of Assam.