In addition to the renowned Shakti Peetha of the Maa Kamakhya Temple located atop the Nilachal Hills in Guwahati that is visited by hundreds of devotees every day, the State of Assam also houses the famous Navagraha Temple – the ancient center of astrology, Basistha Ashram and Temple – the abode of the Saptarishis, Umananda Temple – situated on an island near Guwahati, Mahabhairav Temple – an ancient Temple built by Banasura and many more. Assam is also known for its Vaishnavite culture with the presence of numerous Satras. The Gurdwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib in Dhubri is a major place for pilgrimage for Sikhs from all over the World.
Important Pilgrim Spots of Assam are ~
|For Hindus||Maa Kamakhya, Hajo, Majuli, Jagannath Temple Dibrugarh, Mahabhairab Temple at Tezpur, Mahamaya at Dhubri, Balaji Temple at Guwahati|
|For Muslims||Poa Mecca at Hajo, Ajan Pir Dargah at Sivasagar|
|For Christians||Guwahati Baptist Church and Tezpur|
|For Buddhists||Margherita, Sivasagar, Amingaon and Naharkatia|
|For Jains||Surya Pahar, Goalpara, Bijoynagar, Guwahati|
|For Sikhs||Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Gurdwara at Dhubri|
Detailed descriptions of important Temples Shrines of Assam are ~
1| MAA KAMAKHYA TEMPLE at GUWAHATI ~ Assam
The Kamakhya is a Hindu temple dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya. It is one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. Situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in the State of Assam, India, it is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Sodashi, Bhuvaneshwari,Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhumavati, Bagalamu khi, Matangi and Kamala. Among these, Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples. It is an important pilgrimage destination for people practicing Hinduism and especially for Tantric worshipers. Situated atop the picturesque Nilachal hill, the Kamakhya Temple is one of the most important and popular Shakti Peethas in India. The temple also holds unique significance in the Tantrism cult and is flocked by Sadhus, Tantrics, Scholars and Researchers related to tantrism around the year.
According to a legend, once King Daksha organized a huge yajna – sacrificial fire – to which he did not invite his daughter Sati and her husband Lord Shiva. Sati, being Daksha’s daughter attended the yajna against her husband’s wishes. Daksha however humiliated her, following which she swooned and breathed her last then and there. This enraged Lord Shiva, who took form of Rudra, picked up her body and began roaming around Tribhuvan – the three worlds. This caused massive upheaval all over, forcing Brahma and other ods to rush to Lord Vishnu to intervene. Vishnu sent out his Sudarshan Chakra, which in turn cut Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Wherever her body fell became a Shakti Peetha; on the Nilachal hill fell her private part – yoni- and the hill turned blue.
With the passage of time the Kamakhya Temple came up here, said to have been built by Naraka, a Kamarupa ruler of the mythical times. Kamakhya is said to be blessed with a special energy and millions of people every year throng the holy temple to get the blessings of Devi Kamakhya. Kamakhya Temple is located atop the Nilachal Hill at a height of approximately 280 meters above sea level in the heart of Guwahati city in Assam. The nearest airport is the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport while the nearest rail station is the Kamakhya station. Till a few years back the only way to reach the Temple from the main road down below the Nilachal hills was to climb a unique flight of stairs up a steep hill constructed by King Narakasura in the mythological era. Now a 3 kilometer winding motorable road takes the devotee up to the temple from the city’s main road.
The Ambubachi Mela is one of the prominent festivals of Assam and it is held at the Kamakhya temple. This festival has also been fondly called the Eastern Mahakumbh. Legend holds it that Kamakhya Devi goes through her yearly menstrual cycle on the three days of this festival. Gates of the temple remain closed though devotees populate the temple in high numbers to seek the blessings of the Goddess.
2| UMANANDA TEMPLE at GUWAHATI ~ Assam
Guwahati is the largest city in the State of Assam and this city like any other metropolitan in the country has seen its roads getting busier with more number of cars as each day passes. To add to the traffic woes this also creates immense pollution and not to forget to unnecessary honking of the great Indian drivers! Window glasses rolled up and with the air conditioning on you can surely eliminate the noise entering your ears but the stress levels cease to eliminate once you are out to take a ‘Darshan’ of this majestic city.
To beat this hell of traffic and to enjoy a day of calm from the city hustle your best getaway will be the Umananda Island – the World’s smallest inhabited River Island on the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Also known as the peacock island, the beauty and greenery of Umananda is sure to leave any visitor mesmerized. This tiny river island is also a famous pilgrimage centre at Guwahati city as it is home to the Umananda Temple. Built in 1694 AD by King Gadadhar Singha of the Ahom Dynasty, the Umananda Temple is located atop the ‘Bhasmacala’ Hillock. It is believed that Lord Kamadeva was burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva’s anger when Kamadeva tried to interrupt Lord Shiva’s meditation here and hence the Hillock is named as ‘Bhasmacala’! Legend also has it that Lord Shiva lived here much to the ‘ananda’ or joy of his consort Uma, another name for Parvati and hence the name ‘Umananda’. The Festival of Maha Shivaratri is widely celebrated in Umananda. Monday is considered to be the holiest day in the temple and the new moon brings bliss to the pilgrims.
There is no denying that the Umananda is unique. Perhaps one of the major reason that make this Island even more unique is its uncanny ability to sustain one of the most endangered species of primates – the Golden Langurs. Long considered sacred by many Himalayan people, the Golden Langurs are found only in parts of Western Assam and the neighbouring foothills and the majestic mountains of Bhutan. Popular folklore is that two youth left a pair of these langurs here some 35 years ago and they have since survived. The species, otherwise hostile, has adapted to human beings especially the tourists who frequent the island. Their number increased to 13 at one point of time but only 5 remain now.
Umananda Island is the World’s smallest River Island on the midst of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Also known as the peacock island, the beauty and greenery of Umananda is sure to leave any visitor mesmerized. This tiny river island is also a famous pilgrimage center at Guwahati city as it is home to the Umananda Temple. Built in 1694 AD by King Gadadhar Singha of the Ahom Dynasty, the Umananda Temple is located atop the ‘Bhasmacala’ Hillock. It is believed that Lord Kamadeva was burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva’s anger when Kamadeva tried to interrupt Lord Shiva’s meditation here and hence the Hillock is named as ‘Bhasmacala’! Legend also has it that Lord Shiva lived here much to the ‘ananda’ or joy of his consort Uma, another name for Parvati and hence the name ‘Umananda’.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Umananda Temple at Guwahati in Assam is located on the Bhamachala mountain. As the story goes, after Sati’s death, Lord Shiva entered into a yogic penance as he was no longer interested in the world. All the demi Gods decided to engage the expertise of Kamadeva to arouse love in Shiva’s cold heart for the Himalayan king’s daughter Parvati who was actually an avatar of Shiva’s dead wife Sati herself. However, Kamdev’s arrow of love enraged Lord Shiva so much that he opened his third eye, which reduced Kamadeva to ashes then and there.
Sivaratri is the biggest festival here, with thousands of devotees flocking here on that day. Devotees also make long queues every Monday, said to be dedicated day for Shiva. Other visitors and tourists find it a different place altogether,, especially going around the tiny island, watching the Brahmaputra and an occasional popping of a river dolphin, butterflies, various reptiles, birds and a pair of Golden Langurs that have made Umanaa their home.
3| SUKRESHWAR TEMPLE at GUWAHATI ~ Awesome Assam
The Sukreswar Temple is located on the Sukreswar or Itakhuli hill on the south bank of river Brahmaputra in the Panbazar locality of Guwahati city and is dedicated in the honor of Lord Shiva. This Temple was constructed in 1744 during the reign of the Ahom King Pramatta Singha (1744–1751). King Rajeswar Singha (1751–69) who also promoted cause of the Saiva cult made financial provisions for the Sukreswar Temple in 1759.
As per ancient legends, it is believed that Sage Sukra (the Guru of the Asuras) had his hermitage on this hillock and he used to worship his Lord Shiva in this temple. Originally dating back to the 18th century, the temple is believed to have the largest Shiva Lingam or phallic emblem in India. The Kalika Purana identifies the hillock as Hastigiri hills due to its shape like the hump of an elephant.
Leading down from the temple compound is a long flight of steps to the Brahmaputra river. This place is specially attracted by the tourists because one can enjoy the natural beauty and religious aroma near the bank of Brahmaputra River. One can gain the pleasure of splendid dawn and dusk if he sits on the steps of Sukreswar Ghat. The view moving boats on the river and the local Hindu people performing puja in honor of their relatives who have left this world, children and older people bathing bestow you to move far from the din and congested life. The adjacent embankment is used for holy bathing and performing rituals. It is believed that the dead gain peaces if the post – death rituals are performed here.
4| DOUL GOVINDA TEMPLE at NORTH GUWAHATI ~ Assam
Situated on the northern bank of the mighty Brahmaputra, the temple of Shri Shri Doul Govinda at North Guwahati is one of the most revered shrines of Lord Krishna. Historical reference to this temple dates back to more than two centuries ago. But folklores hint at an even earlier age for the famous idol of Lord Krishna present at the shrine. Although mostly worshiped by Vaishnavites and Hindus, the temple is thronged by people from all religions, castes and communities. It is believed that the Lord grants the wishes of anyone who offers prayers at this temple with a pure heart.
Miraculous was the Advent of Lord Doul-Govinda who had remained underground in the quiet woods Sandhya-Jhar near village JEKERIA in Rongia Subdivision of Kamrup district. It is said a milch cow was noticed by people to have gone to the same woods every pre-dawn, freeing herself of the cow-shed where her Brahmin owner used to rope her at night. The cow used to take her stand at a fixed spot whereupon milk flowed spontaneously from her udder on a Birina grass bush. This uncommon phenomenon reached the ears of the Sadar-Amin of Nalbari who was none but the late Gargaram Barooah of Rajaduar, North Guwahati, father of the late Anunda Ram Barooah, the first Assamese to hold the ICS under the British regime, and later a great Sanskrit scholar and Orientalist of worldwide fame. One morning Sadar Amin Gargaram Barooah set out for the woods on back of an elephant to see for himself the uncommon sight and he surprised to find a magnificent Image of Lord Sri Krishna playing the flute, when he got the spot excavated.
Sadar-Amin Gargaram Barooah received the Image of Lord Krishna with great reverence and ceremoniously brought the Image in a procession with pomp and grandeur, band beating etc. to his home village Rajadooar where, as advised by his Guru, he installed Lord’s Image as a deity at his village Namghar with Puja-Archana (rituals of worship), in co-operation of his kinsmen and co-villagers. Meanwhile the annual Holi-Festival was nearing in the month of Faguna and the members were in great dilemma, for until then original Namghar deity had been the image of Lord Shyam Rai, another form of Lord Sri Krishna, and unable to decide as to which of the two deities they should place on the doul during the Holi festival days, It is said that priest prayed and left the decision to be indicated by the two deities for resolution of the impasse, and to his surprise, the priest found on the following morning the new image of Lord Sri Krishna to have taken stand a few inches ahead of the image of Lord Shyam Rai on the altar. The priest and members of the Namghar had no difficulty in deciding the preference and they accordingly installed the new image of Lord Sri Krishna on the Doul was an outhouse temple at the courtyard of the Namghar for celebrating the Holi festival.
Since then, the new image of Lord Sri Krishna came to be recognized as Lord Doul Govinda. After some time, the image of Lord Shyam Rai fell down from the throne of the Namghar and lost one hand. Thus the idol of Lord Shyam Rai got itself removed from the sanctum of the Mandir.
The Doul Govinda Temple Today ~
The first structure of Doul Govinda Temple was erected more than one hundred and fifty years ago but it was again renovated in 1966. The Doul Govinda Mandir in Assam is famous for its Holi celebrations in the month of February – March. Holi is observed by the local people for five days with various programs and about five thousand Pilgrims are always assembled at the Mandir premises during this time.
Daily activities of the Doul Govinda Temple start early, with the opening of the doors at seven in the morning. The priest bathes the idol and then performs the Archana. The worshipers start coming in from an hour after this, which continues till the end of the day. In between that, the temple remains closed during the afternoon. In the evening the Arati is performed by singing devotional songs or Kirtaan. Prasada followed by Bhoga is distributed among the devotees in open hall, during afternoon hours daily. A good number of devotees contribute to the temple Management to offer Bhoga and Sarai on their behalf with or without craving. Such devotees get some amount of Bhoga for taking home from the counter.
5| NAVAGRAHA Temple at Guwahati ~ Awesome Assam
The presence of the Navagraha Temple is the very reason why Guwahati is called Pragjyotishpur – the city of astrology, in ancient times. Navagraha or the Temple of Nine Planets is situated atop of the Chitrachal Hill in the heart of Guwahati city in Assam. In early eras, this place was a great centre of study of astronomy and astrology.
The present Navagraha Temple was built by Ahom King Rajeswar Simhain the late 18th century. Enshrined in this temple are nine Shiva Lingas, representing the nine celestial bodies, each covered with a colored garment symbolic of each of the celestial bodies, with one of the center symbolizing the sun.
Recommended Itinerary for your visit to Assam to cover the Major Temple shrines and places of Tourist Interest including Kaziranga National Park ~
Day 1: Guwahati
Arrive at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Guwahati and upon your arrival you will be welcomed by our representative offering you a warm welcome in traditional Assamese style and we board our comfortable Innova vehicles and begin on our drive to Guwahati city at the site of the holy Maa Kamakhya temple of Assam situated atop the Nilachal hills. We drive from the airport towards Jalukbari and we head to the city area at Adabari and Maligaon and further towards the Kamakhya gate. Once we approach the Kamakhya gate it is the foothills of the Nilachal Hills and begin on our uphill drive to the top of the Nilachal Hills that is where the Kamakhya temple shrine is located. The drive is across a beautiful green area covered with lots of trees and we reach a view point from where we get an aerial view of Guwahati city and get down here to catch glimpses of the view. We board our vehicles again and we drive to the parking area of the Kamakhya temple where the vehicle drops us and we are welcomed by the temple priest (Panda) who will guide us along the temple premise and help us offer our prayers at the Kamakhya temple.
We will see various shops at the entrance of the Kamakhya temple that sells various offerings to be offered to Goddess Kamakhya and we look by the place and also shops selling various souvenirs like miniature temple models carved out of wood and even made with plaster of paris. There are small restaurants as well because as per customs and rituals a devotee should always visit the temple shrine and seek the blessings of the Goddess on an empty stomach and so once the devotees are done with their Darshan of the temple at the inner sanctum they can come out and eat some pure vegetarian meals at these restaurants. A flight of stairs take the devotees to the temple top and we soon reach the main temple gate of the Kamakhya temple of Assam. Here we are to remove our slippers or footwear and later we head into the main temple shrine of the Kamakhya temple and the beauty of the architecture of the Kamakhya temple greets our eyes and visitors are in awe of the grand architecture of this finest temple shrines in Assam.
We take our time to admire the architecture of the Kamakhya temple that is one among the 51 Shakti Peethas in India. As per mythology, these 51 Shakti Peethas were constructed on the top of the hills and mountains where a part of Goddess Sati’s body fell after Lord Shiva was performing the Tandava Nritya and carrying here severed body across the universe in his arms. The legend goes the Goddess Sati’s father disliked Lord Shiva as he thought Lord Shiva was arrogant and so he disapproved on his daughter’s marriage with Lord Shiva. It so happened that there was a grand Yagna being organized at Goddess Sati’s father (Daksha’s) house and even though Lord Shiva insisted Goddess Sati not to attend the Yagna she went against his wishes and attended the Yagna rituals but her father did not like her presence and he took it out on her by insulting Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati was so furious that she jumped in the fire that was lit for the prayers and immolated herself to protect the honour of her husband. When Lord Shiva came to know about this he rushed to the spot and he was so furious that he carried Goddess Sati’s dead body in his arms and started to perform the Tandava Nritya.
As a result of this the entire universe started to reverberate because of the Tandava and the Gods and Goddess gathered to find a solution to pacify Lord Shiva and stop him from performing the Tandava and Lord Vishnu spun his Sudarshan Chakra that chopped Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Lord Shiva still did not stop and he got more infuriated and now he started flying across the universe carrying Sati’s served body in his hands. However now the body parts started falling on the ground and each of the body part fell atop the various mountains and hills and on each mountain when a body part fell, a temple shrine was built in due course of time and these temple shrines are called as the Shakti Peethas and the womb of Goddess Sati fell atop the Nilachal Hills in present day Guwahati where it is said that at first Lord Kamdeva built a temple shrine (because he was instructed by a God to build a temple here to restore his beauty after he was burnt to ashes by the third eye of Lord Shiva at the Bhasmachal hills in Guwahati). As per legend, the Koch Kings later restored the temple shrine again but it was destroyed by the Muslim invaders until the Ahom Kings of Assam learnt about the powers of Shakti and Tantra at the Kamakhya temple and they started taking keen interest in the Goddesses powers and after converting to Hinduism these Ahom Kings rebuilt the temple shrine in the traditional Ahom architecture and the present day temple is said to have been built by the Ahom Kings of Assam.
The cult of Shakti and Tantra associated with Goddess Kamakhya is what makes this temple shrine so popular among the devotees across India and abroad and it is said that in the earlier times the black magic sorcerers were devout followers of Goddess Kamakhya and they worshipped and offered various sacrifices to appease the Goddess to achieve supernatural powers to perform various tricks of black magic. The cult of Shakti (that is generally associated with the abilities of the Goddess who is said to be the epitome and symbol of a woman’s sexuality and ability to give birth to a new life) is what attracts the various Holy Sadhus of India to the temple shrine across the year, especially during the month of Asad in June when the Kamakhya temple celebrates the festival of the Ambubachi Mela or the Eastern Mahakumbh. The Kamakhya temple celebrates the spirit of womanhood and the ability of a female to give birth to a new life and therefore the Ambubachi Mela is organized as it is believed that the Goddess menstruates in these three days and the waters of the Brahmaputra River turns red.
On these three days the temple doors are shut to the devotees and also across Assam, the temple shrines are kept closed and on the fourth day, the temple door reopens and the devotees throng to the Kamakhya temple shrine to worship the Goddess and seek her blessings and carry with them the holy water and the red cloth that is believed to be stained with the blood of the Goddess that is to be tied at the house to protect from any evil and mishappenings. The mysteries surrounding the Kamakhya temple are so true to believe that once you are at the temple premises you can feel a sense of unique devotional power and a spiritual freedom as well. We will start our Darshan of the Kamakhya temple shrine by at first visiting the temple pond area where we will cleanse our hands and feet before we start our temple Darshan. At this point there is a statue of Lord Ganesha because as per Hindu mythology before we start anything auspicious it is good to seek the blessing of Lord Ganesha.
After seeking our blessings of Lord Ganesha we head on to our Darshan of Goddess Kamakhya at the inner sanctum of the Kamakhya temple where we will go in via the VIP entry ticket. There are two queues for entry at the Inner sanctum of the Kamakhya temple in Assam where you can either choose the general queue of the VIP ticket queue. Most of the devotees prefer to use the general queue here and only people who pay INR 501 are allowed to purchase the VIP entry ticket and visit the inner sanctum of the temple in quick time. In our interest of time we will take the VIP queue and we will bypass the long queue and reach the temple door entrance where both these queues merge and we will await our turn as now the queue moves ahead slowly. The procedure is simple to seek the Darshan of Goddess Kamakhya who is not worshipped in the form of an idol but instead a stone is present inside the inner sanctum that is fed continuously by an underground stream of water that is considered o be an auspicious omen and to seek the blessings of Goddess Kamakhya one has to touch the stone and touch the waters and also take the water and sprinkle on their heads and few staunch devotees even drink this water.
The priests offer a piece of red cloth that as mentioned earlier is considered to be the cloth the is soaked in the menstrual blood of the Goddess that is considered to be a great blessing and this cloth is to be tied outside a person’s home that is supposed to protect the family from any black magic or other misfortunes. We will make our way through the queue and later visit the inner sanctum and owing to the rush of the devotees here this will be just a brief moment and we will touch the holy water and sprinkle it on our heads and collect the holy cloth and come out of the Inner Sanctum of the Kamakhya temple in Assam and we will meet our Panda outside the inner sanctum and he will guide us with the other proceedings of this puja and we are to make five rounds around the temple shrine. We walk around the temple shrine and behind we will witness the place where the animals that are brought in for sacrifice are slaughtered. We finish our five temple rounds and finally we light the dias and the incense and break the coconut at the altar are and this completes our Darshan the Maa Kamakhya temple.
The Panda offers us the Prasad and we pay our contribution to him and later we admire the grand architecture and the construction of the Maa Kamakhya temple in Assam and we head out of the temple shrine to visit a restaurant area to eat something and we board our vehicles to travel to Guwahati city where we will check into our hotel to freshen up. We have our lunch and we head to visit the Umananda Temple shrine in Guwahati. To reach this temple shrine as it is located at the Umananda Island and so we need to cross the Brahmaputra river at the Uzaan Bazar ferry ghat and as the ferry rides stop by 4 PM we have to ensue to make our visit quick because in case we miss out on the ferry we will not be able to travel to the island. We board our ferry at the Ghat and head to cross the Brahmaputra River to reach the Umananda Island. The Island is the World’s smallest inhabited river island and even the largest river island in the World is located in Assam at Majuli Island that we would be visiting on the later part of this tour. The Umananda Island has the Bhasmachal hillock where the Umananda temple is situated. As per mythology it is said that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati used to stay here and Shiva used to spend his time in meditation here at the Umananda Island.
One day when Lord Shiva was in deep meditation, Lord Kamdeva (Hindu God of love) had come to him with an urgent message from the other Gods. But Lord Shiva never liked to be distracted while he was meditating and so he got furious when Lord Kamdeva kept trying to ask him to listen to the urgent message and Lord Shiva was so furious that he opened his third eye and burnt Lord Kamdeva into ashes here at the Umananda Island. The act of burning into ashes in Sanskrit is called as ‘Bhasam’ and here this hillock came to be known as the Bhasmachal hillock. Later in the Ahom time, an Ahom King ordered the construction of the stone temple here at the Umananda island dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati and this came to be known as the Umananda Temple (‘Ananda’ means to have fun and the act of Lord Shiva and Parvati doing Ananda at this island translated to the name Umananda island). We head to the top of the hillock where the Umananda temple is located and we visit the temple that is located in a dome under the ground and we pay our respects at the Umananda temple and after exploring the island we head out to come back and board our ferry to head to the Uzaan Bazar ghat where we will board our vehicles and head to visit the Navagraha temple at the Silpukhuri area in Guwahati.
At this area there is also the Guwahati World War II Cemetery that is a burial place of over 500 brave soldiers of the Allied Forces who laid down their lives in the Burma Campaign to World War II and the unique thing about the Guwahati War Cemetery is that this is the only cemetery in India where there were burials of Japanese soldiers of the Imperial Japanese army. However in 2012, the Japanese Govt. in collaboration with the Indian Govt. formally dug out the graves of these Japanese soldiers and they were taken back to Japan where they we laid to rest. We will visit this War Cemetery and pay our respects to the brave soldiers who laid down their lives so we could have a better tomorrow. The Guwahati World War II Cemetery was built and is maintained by the Common Wealth War Graves mission. Next we head further to visit the Navagraha temple that is located atop the Chitrachal Hills in Guwahati.
The Navagraha or ‘Nine Planets’ is a temple shrine dedicated to nine celestial bodies and this temple is also the abode of the most important celestial body – the Sun. This temple is also a research centre of both astrology and astronomy and it was built during the reign of the Ahom King Rajeshwar Singha in 1752 AD. The Navagraha temple is dedicated to the nine phallic emblems of Lord Shiva each of them adorned on different coloured clothing that represent Surya, Chandra, Mangala, Budha, Brihaspati, Shukra, Shani, Rahu and Ketu. We offer our prayers at the Navagraha temple and later come back to the Pan Bazar area where we will visit the Sukreshwar temple and later spend our time by the banks of the Brahmaputra river before we enjoy a nice evening sunset cruise at the Alfresco Grand river cruise and head back to our hotel for night halt. The Sukreshwar temple is another temple shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is said that the Shiva Lingam here is the widest in the World. Devotees throng to this temple shrine during the Maha Shivaratri festival and pour milk over the Shiva Lingam.
As per customs, it is said that if young girls pour milk over the Shiva Lingam they are to be blessed with a boon of finding themselves a good husband. As per mythology it is said that the Guru of the Asuras (Demons) worshipped Lord Shiva here at the Sukreshwar temple shrine. Shukracharya who is believed to be the Guru of the Asuras had his hermitage on this hillock (Itakhuli hills) and he sued to worship Lord Shiva at this shrine and hence the name Sukreshwar temple. We head to the main temple shrine of the Sukreshwar temple and offer our prayers and later we walk down the flight of stairs to the banks of the Brahmaputra River – the lifeline of Assam and admire the beautiful view of the sunset at the Sukreshwar Ghat. From the temple we walk to the Alfresco Grand River cruise that is a short 500m walk and we go for an evening sunset cruise on the Brahmaputra river and we enjoy some snacks on board and later we travel back to the our hotel for night halt. In the evening we will savour a traditional Assamese thali dibber and relish the varied flavours of Assam that is prepared with the choice of fresh ingredients of vegetables and meat/fish.
Night Halt: Hotel Mayflower at Guwahati
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 2: Hajo – Baihata Charali – North Guwahati – Guwahati
Today we will explore few more temples of interest at Hajo, Baihata Charali, and North Guwahati and finally end our day at the Balaji temple at Guwahati. During our day we will also visit Sualkuchi that is often referred to as the ‘Manchester of the East’ and it is the largest silk weaving village in the World and we will visit a silk weaving workshop along with a silk emporium to witness the grandeur of the three silk varieties of Assam – Muga, Eri and Paat. We will start after breakfast and we head to the Holy land of the Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists at Hajo from Guwahati. We will cross the Brahmaputra River over the Saraighat Bridge and travel towards Amingaon where we take a left diversion from the road to travel to Hajo and Sualkuchi. We keep driving and we reach the Saraighat War Memorial that was built to commemorate the Ahoms and their fierce battle against the Mughals at the Battle of Saraighat. The Ahom dynasty ruled Assam for around 600 years and they are considered to be one of the longest ruling dynasties in India and the mighty Mughals who had control almost over the entire Indian Subcontinent couldn’t capture Assam because of the intelligent war tactics of the Ahom General and even though they tried around five times to invade and conquer Assam they were unsuccessful.
In this attempt to conquer Assam under the rule of Emperor Aurangzeb, the Mughal army under Ram Singh I had come over to the banks of the Brahmaputra River here at Saraighat and they came face to face with a much smaller Ahom army. Even though the Ahoms were much smaller in numbers they used intelligent war tactics and the special use of the currents of the waters of the Brahmaputra River and they defeated the mighty Mughal army under the command of the brave Ahom General Lachit Borphukan. We visit the Saraighat War Memorial and admire the grand stone sculptures made here depicting the Ahom Army and their war at the Battle of Saraighat and opposite to this place is a temple shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha where we offer our prayers to start our journey in an auspicious manner and we drive on our way to Hajo. We soon Hajo and we head to visit the Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo. This temple shrine is a holy shrine dedicated to Lord Jagannath and the Hindus consider it to be a sacred site while few Buddhists believe that Lord Buddha attained his final Nirvana at this temple and so they consider it to be sacred as well.
At this temple shrine there is a huge pond area that is renowned across the World as this pond has played a successful conservation story in preserving and protecting many of the rare turtle species of Assam that were at the brink of extinction. The turtles are now being returned back in the wild at the protected National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Assam therefore restoring their population back in the wild. There are also many fish species of Assam to be found in the pond waters. We cleanse our hands and feet at this pond and later we climb up the stairway to reach the Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo. This temple shrine faces the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri in Odisha and it is said that your visit and Darshan at the Jagannath temple is only complete after you visit the Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo. There is an oil lamp at this temple shrine that has been burning continuously over hundreds of years and we get an opportunity to witness this lamp as well. We explore the Hayagriva Madhava temple at Hajo and at the temple courtyard here in the earlier days during the festival of Magh Bihu, traditional games of cock fights and bull fights were arranged but after the order passed by the Hon Supreme Court of India abolishing such games, the practice was discontinued.
After this we complete our Darshan and we head out of the temple premises to travel to a unique place called as the ‘Bheemor Soru’ or the ‘Platter on which Bheema had his food’. This site is located a short drive ahead of the Hayagriva Madhava temple and we cross the small town of Hajo and we see that the Hindus and Muslims live in complete peace and harmony and both the communities have stayed like this since many years and they participate in the religious festivities of each of the community and vice versa and this is what makes Hajo so unique. We arrive at the site of the ‘Bheemor Soru’ and what we see is a huge stone shaped in the form of a saucer that is big enough to hold a few grown men. Bheema was the most powerful among the Pandavas and his might was one of the prime focus of the Pandavas. During their exile days they had come towards Assam the then ‘Kamrupa’ and there they settles for a while.
Bheema was very particular about the quantity of his food and the time it was served and it so happened that one day the food was not served on time and he was getting furious. But somehow he stayed put and once the food as served he saw the quantity was not to the brim of the huge stone saucer that we see here and he got so furious that he picked up the saucer and hurled it is air with his entire strength and this saucer landed at this site in Hajo. We admire the stone saucer and later head back on our drive to travel to the Poa Mecca shrine at Hajo. The drive to the Poa Mecca shrine is across a beautiful mountain that is covered with tall trees and we soon reach the hilltop where the Poa Mecca shrine at Hajo is situated. This place is a holy shrine of the Muslims and even Hindus visit the Poa Mecca shrine to seek blessings and this is the tomb of Pir Gias Uddin Auliya who is said to have constructed this place with a Poa (250 gm) soil brought from the holy land of Mecca and it is said that in case you visit this place then it is the same as 1/4th of your visit to Mecca on a Haj pilgrimage to attain salvation.
At the Poa Mecca shrine it is believed that if a devotee offers a ‘Chadar’ on top of the tomb then his wishes comes true if he asks for the wishes to be granted as long as it is not filled with green or an intention of harm to any other person. We pay our respects at the Poa Mecca shrine at Hajo in Assam and later we travel back on our drive to Sualkuchi. We will be on our return drive and we take a right diversion from the highway to travel to Sualkuchi. The beautiful town of Sualkuchi welcomes us and there is a huge entrance gate before the town that illustrates a brief about this unique silk weaving village of Assam which is referred to as the ‘Manchester of the East’. We drive towards the town area of Sualkuchi and here we will witness the various silk shops and emporiums that display and sell the various silk products of Mekhela Chadors, Sari and other accessories like handbags, purses, jackets, etc. all hand made with the silk varieties of Assam viz. Muga, Eri and Paat. We will at first head to a silk workshop where we get a chance to witness the various local weavers of Assam using the traditional loom to weave out exquisite silk products and this will give you a first-hand experience to see how the silk souvenirs that you might buy here at Sualkuchi are being made by hands of these hardworking weavers.
The silks of Assam were discovered by the Bodo people of Assam who are the oldest inhabitants of Assam and they developed the various processes of extracting the silk from the silk worms that are found in Assam and due to the climate of Assam these silk worms especially the Muga silk are known to be found only in this state. And with the kind of leaves it feeds on (mulberry) and the different process of extraction and weaving the silk from the silk worm makes the Muga silk a very grand and expensive silk of Assam and the Mekhela Chadors woven out of the Muga silk is a prized possession of any Assamese girl or lady and it is worn only on special occasions like marriage and the Bihu festival days. We learn about the silk weaving process from the people who discovered these indigenous silk varieties of Assam the Bodo people who are the principal weavers here at Sualkuchi and learn about the exquisite process of silk weaving here and later we continue to visit the silk emporium where we will learn about the final silk products of the weavers of Sualkuchi and not only the Silk Mekhela Chadors but we will see the various accessories woven out of silk as well and in case you are interested you can go ahead and buy these fine silks of Assam at the best prices to be found anywhere.
With this we will wrap our visit at Sualkuchi and we drive to the Baihata Charali area where we will visit the Madan Kamdev temple shrine. The Madan Kamdev shrine is an old archaeological site that dates back to the 9th century and it speaks highly about the Pala dynasty of Kamrupa and their prosperity and might. The ruins of the Madan Kamdev can be seen here spread across an area of 500 metres and the most prominent statues here are that of Sun, Ganesha and Vidyadhara. The unique statues to be found here at the Madan Kamdev temple are that of Bhairav with six heads, a four headed Shiva, Kalpavriksa, Vishnu with six heads, Saraswati and statues of various forms of animal are found here. The temple shrine id dedicated to Madan Kamdev is the main temple shrine and other shrine ruins are found scattered around the place as well.
An old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is also located nearby and locally called as Gopeshwar. We explore the Madan Kamdev temple at Baihata Charali in Assam and admire the very old stone idols and sculptures here at the temple shrine and we proceed on our drive back to North Guwahati where we will savour a unique temple Bhog at the Dirgheshwari temple in North Guwahati. We drive along the road and take a left diversion after Changsari towards North Guwahati and we drive towards Rajaduar and further ahead to the Dirgheshwari temple shrine in North Guwahati. The Dirgheshwari temple is located atop the Sitachal hills in Guwahati and a flight of stairs leads us to the temple located atop the hill and along our way we will see various ancient stone sculptures of Lord Ganesha and other Gods and we enter the temple shrine after removing our footwear. The Dirgheshwari temple shrine is considered to be one another Shakti Peetha in Guwahati as it is believed that he upper thigh of Goddess Sati fell atop the Sitachal hills where this temple shrine is located.
Many local people say that your pilgrimage to the Kamakhya temple in Assam ends only after you pay a visit to the Dirgheshwari temple shrine in North Guwahati. The main stone temple structure was built during the reign of an Ahom King and the entire construction of the temple looks grand. The temple shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga and the Durga Puja festival is celebrated here with great pomp and vigour every year. We will visit the inner sanctum of the temple that is located inside of the temple dome and we pay our respects to the Goddess here. We will explore the grand construction of the Dirgheshwari temple and later we will take our seats on the ground where the temple Bhog will be served at afternoon 2 PM. This is daily ritual at the Dirgheshwari temple and the temple priests here cook the simple yet delicious meal of rice, dal and mixed vegetable sabji. As this is also a temple shrine of Goddess Kali (a form of Goddess Durga) animal sacrifices are done here at the temple and on that day even meat is served to the devotees. The meal is cooked in a very hygienic manner in the temple kitchen and we will savour our meal on banana leaf and we enjoy a delicious Bhog here at the Dirgheshwari temple in North Guwahati.
After our meal we travel to the Doul Govinda temple shrine in North Guwahati that is a revered temple shrine dedicated to Lord Krishna. The Doul Govinda temple shrine is known to be a revered temple shrine in this part of Assam and every year during the festival of Janmashthami and Doul Utsav (Holi) the temple is filled with devotees who come to offer their prayers here. The cult of Neo Vaishnavism has deep roots in Assam and the holy saint reformer Srimanta Shankardeva told his followers to worship Lord Krishna and his teachings and preaching’s were based on the life of Lord Krishna. This is what makes Lord Krishna an epitome of faith in the heart and minds of the people of Assam. We will explore the Doul Govinda temple shrine in North Guwahati and here we will be served a Prasad of a rice pudding called as Payasam and this is made with the contribution of rice and milk provided by the devotees and the Prasad is so delicious that people from Guwahati drive all the way just to taste this Payasam at the Doul Govinda temple.
We explore the Doul Govinda temple shrine and further travel to the Sri Sri Aswaklanta temple shrine in North Guwahati. The Aswaklanta temple is a very well-constructed temple shrine that was built during the regime of the Ahom King Siva Singha in 1720 AD. This temple shrine of Assam is located just adjacent to the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. As per Hindu mythology one legend states that Lord Krishna was in search of Narakasur and is horse got tired and it stopped at this spot and later a temple shrine was built and named as Aswaklanta – meaning a temple of the tired horses. Another legend of this temple states that Arjuna (the third Pandava) was persuaded to stay here so that enemy could kill his son Abhimanyu in a war. The conspiracy to hold Arjuna came to be termed as Abhi-Kranta that was later translated in Assamese as Aswaklanta. A flight of well laid stairway leads visitors to the Aswaklanta temple in North Guwahati and the architecture of this temple shrine will leave you awestruck. The main temple’s inner sanctum is closed (opened during festivals) and devotees cannot enter it on all days but we can explore the area around the Aswaklanta temple and even go down the banks of the Brahmaputra where there is a stone that has engraving of the hooves of the horses on it symbolizing the first legend. Down here we also get a beautiful view of the county side of Assam by the banks of the Brahmaputra river.
After exploring the Aswaklanta temple shrine we will head to the Auniati Satra at North Guwahati. The main branch of the Auniati Satra is located at Majuli Island that we will be visiting on the latter half of our tour. These Satras of Assam are important centres of culture and learning and these Satras of Assam were promoted by the holy Saint reformer of Assam Srimanta Shankardeva. The holy Guru and Saint reformer was much against the caste system that was prevalent in the medieval times and he went ahead to preach that all human beings are alike and must be treated equally irrespective on the basis of caste, creed or religion. He started the Neo Vaishnavite movement of Assam that preached the principles of ‘Ek Sarna’ and boys entered these Satras at a young age and they spent their life dedicated in the praise of God (Lord Krishna) and learning various art and crafts and literature as well. These Satras hold a very important place in the socio-cultural life in Assam and numerous scholars have emerged from these Satras who have published various books and journals.
At the Auniati Satra in Guwahati we will understand the basic structure of a Satra that comprises of a Namghar (main prayer hall), two large temple ponds and huts of the monks (Bhakats) called as Hutis. The Namghar is the main prayer hall and across Assam you will find many of these Namghars that are used by the members of the town or village as a centre of prayers, meeting centre, place for meetings, hosting of cultural performances of the Bhaona that illustrates the various Hindu epics and the life of Lord Krishna and these Namghars too are a centre of learning in Assam and often students were taught about the various scriptures at these Namghars. We explore the Auniati Satra in North Guwahati and finally travel to the Balaji temple at Betkuchi area to make a final stop for the day here and we set to explore the grand architecture of the Balaji temple in Guwahati. The Balaji temple here is a branch of the Tirupati Balaji temple and it was setup to promote peace and harmony across the North Eastern region of India. This region was earlier marred with insurgency and numerous terror outfits were present here who took up arms as they were not pleased by the principles and policies of the existing governments and they demanded a sovereign land therefore leading to numerous cases of terror that caused a problem to the region.
Over many years of dialogues both the State and Central Governments have now made most of the terror outfits surrender and the Balaji temple shrine aimed to spread the message of peace among the people of the region and it indeed pais well and now the region is quite peaceful and North East India is an upcoming tourist destination in India with various unexplored and beautiful destinations with visitors from across the World coming to admire the beauty of the region. The Balaji temple at Guwahati in Assam is constructed entirely with white marble and has a strikingly beautiful architecture that makes visitors leave in the state of awe here. The place is spread across a huge area of around 23 acres of land and there are huge lawn area where families come to spend their time in the evenings and also to seek the blessings of the God. The temple resembles the construction of the main Tirupati Balaji temple and the priests here at the temple are all from Tirupati Balaji temple.
The temple serves a Bhog of Payasam and the famous Tirupati Balaji Ladoo that is a much desired Prasad and it is so delicious that people buy this and take it to gift it to their relatives. In the evening temple shrine is well lit and the view looks even more spectacular and we will spend time admiring the construction of the Balaji temple and later we head back to our hotel for night halt.
Night Halt: Hotel Mayflower
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 3: Guwahati – Tezpur – Kaziranga National Park
Today we start our day after breakfast and we will visit the last temple shrine in Guwahati at the Basistha temple and continue on our drive further to Jagiroad, Tezpur and then to Kaziranga National Park – the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Assam famous for its population of the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros species. We pack our luggage and leave the hotel to travel to the outskirts of Guwahati city to go to the Basistha temple that dates back to the Vedic age as Sage Basistha had built an ashram here long back and the temple shrine was constructed at this place by the Ahom King Rajeshwar Singha in the mid 18th century. The Basista temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and this site has evidence of a stone temple dating back to 1000-1100 CE. The Basistha temple shrine attracts devotees from far and near and visitors to Assam who come to visit the Kamakhya temple ensure to pay a visit at the Basistha temple shrine. This place is revered especially because behind the temple there is a confluence of three major rivers and these three rivers combined flow into Guwahati city as the river Bharalu that is a lifeline of the city and this finally merges with the Brahmaputra river. Behind the temple is the pristine Garbhanga Reserve Forest that connects Assam and Meghalaya and we explore the Balaji temple and head on our drive to Jagiroad where we will make a stop at the Deosal temple that is a temple shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva that is worshiped by the Karbi people of Assam.
The Karbi people are considered to be the Columbus of Assam and they have been staying in the area since very long and they practice a unique set of customs and rituals that have been passed down across generations year after year and so they have a unique tradition and culture. The Karbi people worship Lord Shiva at the Deosal temple at Jagiroad and this is an old temple shrine and as per Hindu mythology, this temple was the site where the ashram of Maharishi Valmiki was once located. Mythology also states that Sita when she was abandoned by Lord Rama stayed as the Deosal temple premises where she gave birth to her twin sons Luv and Kusha. The altar of this temple shrine has various old stone idols of Lord Shiva and other Gods and Goddess and looking at the architecture of this temple one can say that this temple dates back several hundred years. Everyday hundreds of devotees come to the Deosal temple at Jagiroad to offer their prayers and during the festival of Shivratri thousands of devotees throng here to pray to Lord Shiva and this festival is celebrated with great pomp and vigour. We visit the shrine of Lord Shiva here at the Deosal temple at Jagiroad in Assam and later we head on our drive to Tezpur from Jagiroad. We cross Raha, Nagaon Bypass and drive to Tezpur crossing the Kolia Bhumura bridge that is another bridge over the Brahmaputra and we reach Tezpur where we will visit the Bhairavi temple at Tezpur. Tezpur is a very beautiful town in Assam and is often referred to as the knowledge town of Assam.
This is another very important temple shrine in Assam and Goddess Bhairavi is worshipped here at the Bhairavi temple at Tezpur in Assam and she is said to be one among the 10 Mahavidyas of Goddess Durga. The Maha Bhairavi temple at Tezpur is another Shakti Peetha in Assam and as per the legends of the Hindu mythology it is said that Usha – the daughter of the mighty Asura King Banasura (who was held captive at the Agnigarh – the Fortress of Fire fort at Tezpur by her father to stop her from marrying Anniruddha (grandson of Krishna) and we will be visiting the Agnigarh Fort next) came here to worship Goddess Bhairavi Devi. As per Hindu mythology, the worshipping of Goddess Bhairavi by Usha started as early as 5000 BC (Drapura Yuga) and Usha is also believed to be the creator of this temple that houses many ancient sculptures, architectures and inscriptions in Sanskrit. The visitors to this temple are left awestruck by the temple architecture and the temple shrine is located close to the Bharali River at Tezpur. A little ahead of the temple is the Bamuni hills where the ruins of the palace the king stayed in present and the artwork on the stone carvings at the place is believed to date back to the 9th century.
The surroundings of the Bhairavi temple are very clean and beautiful and the calm breeze from the Bharali River is soothing to the minds of the devotees here. We explore the Bhairavi temple at Tezpur and later drive to a restaurant in Tezpur town to have our lunch post that we will explore the Agnigarh fort at Tezpur. For lunch we will visit an ethnic Assamese cuisine restaurant at Tezpur the serves some local delights of the delicacies of Assam. Assamese cuisine is known to be cooked with less oil and powdered spices and instead lots of organic herbs and the flavours of fresh spices like ginger, garlic, green chillies, Bhut Jolokia, Naga Dhania, Ginger leaf are used to bring in the flavour to the food. One very important ingredient of the Assamese cuisine is the ‘Khar’ that is basically an alkaline ingredient derived by burning the stem of a banana plant and later it is added to food items like papaya, Mati Dali, vegetable like melon gourd, gourds that brings in a unique relief to your stomach and helps you to have a clean bowel movement.
The people of Assam especially the villages and small towns believe in your food to be your medicine and the ingredients they use are loaded with rich nutrition’s to keep a body healthy and active. We will savour a meal of the Assamese thali that will have rice, three forms of dal, various vegetable curry, mashed potatoes with onions, green chillies, coriander, mashed pumpkin, a papaya Khar, salad, a choice of meat/fish cooked with herbs, etc. After our sumptuous lunch we head to the Agnigarh fort at Tezpur before we wind our visit here and travel to Kaziranga National Park in Assam. The Agnigarh is a huge fort area that was built by the Asura King Banasura to keep his daughter Usha in exile because she had fallen in love with Lord Krishna’s grandson Anniruddha. In order to not allow anyone to come inside the fort premises, the entire fort was surrounded by fire and hence the name ‘Agnigarh’ – the Fortress of fire. When Lord Krishna came to know about this he got furious and he came along with his followers to confront King Banasura and his disapproval of marrying his daughter to his grandson and Banasura was not threatened by Lord Krishna and his followers as he had a boon from Lord Shiva that assured him of protection and he seeked the help of Lord Shiva to stick to his decision of keeping Usha confined in the fort and not allowing her to marry Anniruddha.
A fierce battle broke out between the followers of Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva and a lot of bloodshed occurred that resulted in the name of the place being called as Tezpur – the city of blood and finally Lord Krishna was able to make Lord Shiva understand the evil intentions of King Banasura and Lord Shiva realized his mistake and he withdrew his boon from Banasura to which he got sacred and finally approved to the marriage of Usha and Anniruddha. This is the story of the legend of the Agnigarh fort and we take our time to explore this unique fort of Assam. We walk across the stairway and reach a place where the battle of Agnigarh is displayed between Lord Shiva’s followers and Lord Krishna’s followers made in unique stone sculptures and another sculpture of Usha with Chitralekha. With this we wind up out visit at Tezpur and continue on our drive to Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
The drive is across a lush green countryside of Assam and all around we can see green paddy fields and we soon reach Jakhlanbandha from where we are welcomed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kaziranga National Park with huge signage and various hoardings asking us to drive slow as this is an animal corridor. The lush green hills of Karbi Anglong on the right side of the road welcome us and the lush green tea gardens on both sides of the road. Slowly we approach the Burapahar range of Kaziranga National Park that is one of the four ranges here where visitors can go for a jeep safari ride into the park to witness the varied flora, fauna and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park. The Burapahar is the name of the very old mountain and often it was considered to be a very dangerous road to drive on during the earlier times. But the roads were narrow and also not properly built and heavy vehicles used to ply on these roads and certain cases of accident and mishaps were reported on this area and it was then the local people decided to build a temple shrine so that the driver on these rods could seek the blessings of Goddess Durga here at the Buri Ai Than and later proceed on their journey and the blessings of the Goddess would keep them safe and their journey across the sharp bends along the roads.
Over the years after the roads were built properly and sharp bends reduced and so the accident stopped happening and the news spread of how if you seek blessings of Goddess Durga here at the Buri Ai Than at Burapahar in Kaziranga your journey across this road stretch becomes safe and easier and the cult spread and today whenever the vehicle drivers passes through this temple then irrespective of his faith, the driver will ensure to stop here at the Buri Ai Than at Burapahar in Kaziranga National Park and then only proceed on his drive and the same will be the case with our driver as well and he will make sure to stop his car here and pay a visit to the temple shrine and get along with him a Prasad of boot and mogu. This is a ritual followed sine many years and drivers do not skip this tip just as it is a thought of all ill omen and also this is a final break before we continue on our drive o main centre of Kaziranga National Park at Kohora after Bagori range.
We reach the Bagori range of Kaziranga and we will be going for our Elephant Safari ride at this place tomorrow morning and the good thing is that we will be staying adjacent to the safari entrance at Bagori at the Bonroja motel here. On the way to our place of stay from the Buri Ai Than near Burapahar we will halt at a view point from where we can catch a glimpse of the varied fauna and avifauna of Kaziranga National Park. There is a swamp area here where the rhinos and the Asiatic Wild water buffaloes along with hog deers, sambhar deers and many other animal species come to feed on and on the right hand side there are the various bird species of Kaziranga National Park. Kaziranga is a bird watcher’s paradise with over 495 species of birds recorded here. During the winter season, the migratory birds from around the World come to Assam and make this place their home for the winter season where they come and settle around the various water bodies in the protected National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, reserve forests of the state and what place could they find other than Kaziranga National Park that is a confluence of four major rivers and also various swamps and lakes inside the area of the park.
We will get to witness the various more bird species tomorrow on our jeep safari ride when we will be travelling into the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park and this will be an opportunity to sight more fauna species of Kaziranga National Park as well. We will view our first glimpse of the pride of Kaziranga National Park and Assam – the Indian One Horned Rhinoceros here and the herd of Asiatic Wild Water Buffaloes and the group of hog deers as well and it is indeed a treat tot eh eye to be abel to see these animal species in the wild with our own eyes. With this we travel to our place of stay here at Kaziranga National Park for night halt. We check into the Bonroja Motel that is one of the budget stay options in Kaziranga National Park but a very nice place to stay and the best thing is to try out here is the fish curry that the chef at the kitchen of the Bonroja Motel prepares. The rooms at this place are located on the first floor of the motel and there are a total of 8 rooms at the place with 4 AC and 4 Non AC rooms. The rooms are elegantly designed and accompanies with a balcony that overlooks the tall mountains of the Karbi Anglong Hills and the lush green tea gardens around Kaziranga National Park.
We check into our rooms and in the evening we will savour our dinner of the signature fish curry of the Bonroja motel cooked with indigenous herbs and various other accompaniments of the Assamese thali. The next morning our elephant safari ride will be scheduled at 6.30 AM in the morning as there are only two slots in which the elephant safari rides are conducted at the Bagori Safari range viz. at 5 AM and the other at 6.30 AM. The safari rides for Indian Nationals are conducted at the Bagori range while the Elephant rides for foreign nationals are conducted at the Kohora (Central) range of Kaziranga National Park. So in case we are a group of foreign nationals we will have to travel to the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park for our elephant back rides. This elephant ride is a golden opportunity for travellers to Kaziranga National Park to witness the One Horned Rhinoceros of Assam from up close and if you are in Kaziranga then this is a not to miss our opportunity of a lifetime. After dinner we retire to our rooms to get up early in the morning.
Night Halt: Bonroja Motel at Kaziranga National Park
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 4: Kaziranga National Park
Today is our safari day at Kaziranga National Park where we will be travelling to the forest reserves of Kaziranga where we will go for an elephant safari ride into the interiors of Kaziranga forest in the morning and next we will visit the Kaziranga Orchid Park and after lunch we will head on our jeep safari ride at the eastern range of Kaziranga National Park and get a chance to spot more of the fauna species of Kaziranga National Park. We get up early and as the safari entrance is close to the Bonroja Motel we will walk to the elephant safari counter where we will collect our passes and head on inside the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park where the forest guards will escort us to the elephant riding point and we board the elephant backs to start on our safari ride. The Mahout will take us deeper into the forest reserves and the elephant safari is not across a well-defined track like the jeep safari and so we get to travel up-close into the swampy lands of the park to view the rhino species up close. The Elephant ride is a brilliant way to witness the forest reserves of Kaziranga National Park and as we are on the back of the tall elephant we get an aerial view of the surroundings.
The Elephant ride will last for around 45 minutes and we come back to the safari entrance point and get down from the elephant and in case you are interested you can tip the Mahout and the Elephant so that these beautiful animals are well taken care of by their Mahouts. We come back to the Bonroja Motel and freshen up and have our breakfast post that we will drive to Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park where we will visit the Largest Orchid park in India – the Kaziranga Orchid Park and explore this beautiful park that is home to various indigenous orchid species and after a sumptuous lunch of the best Assamese thali in Assam we will go for our jeep safari ride at the Eastern range of Kaziranga National Park and call it a day. Breakfast will be served at the food hall of the Bonroja Motel and we have a delicious Indian breakfast of Puri Sabji, Aalo Parantha and post our breakfast we will start on our drive to the Kohora area of Kaziranga National Park. This is the main market area of Kaziranga and most of the shops and the local market is situated here. Kohora is also the place where most of the luxurious Hotels, Resorts and also the affordable homestays are located here in Kaziranga National Park.
We start by exploring the green house at the Kaziranga Orchid Park that houses various orchid species from across North East India and especially Assam. The biodiversity of the North Eastern Region in India is immense and so there are around 1200 of the 1800 species of orchids found in India are recorded here in North East India. Even the state flower of Assam – the ‘Kopou Ful’ is a type of orchid that blooms during the festival of Rongali Bihu in the month of April. We will be welcomed by the local guide at the place who will take us across the green house and explain to us about the orchid species to be found here. These species are well aligned and can be clearly seen with the names displayed along the orchid species. The able guide takes us along the green room of the Kaziranga Orchid Park and explaining to us about the various orchid species and we spend our time admiring the species. Next up we explore the section of handicrafts and handlooms at the Kaziranga Orchid Park.
The people of Assam who hail from the village areas and small towns are very skilled artisans when it comes to bamboo crafts, cane crafts, wood craft and weaving of exquisite handlooms out of the silk varieties of Assam and also cotton and this we have already witnessed on our visit to the ‘Manchester of the East’ at Sualkuchi. The depiction of these art forms is to be found at the Kaziranga Orchid Park that illustrates how these fine handlooms are woven on a traditional loom and also the fine bamboo crafts of Assam. Bamboo – the versatile grass and also called as the poor man’s timber is an important resource especially across the villages which is used to create various forms of furniture’s like stools, chairs, sofa sets, kitchen utensils, musical instruments, fish traps and even building homes and bridges over small streams for proper to pass on. At the Kaziranga Orchid Park we witness these various bamboo handicrafts of Assam that will range from various bamboo tools to fishing traps and even musical instruments. We will also see the local women weaving on the traditional looms that depict their skilled artistry and we admire these handicrafts and handlooms of Assam at the Kaziranga Orchid Park and later we head on to the orchid gallery at the display hall here at the Orchid Park that has beautiful pictures of the various flowering orchid species and as not all species are to be seen flowering the greenhouse so this provides us an opportunity to witness the orchid species.
We continue to explore the Kaziranga Orchid Park at the rice museum at the place that depicts the various rice varieties that grow in North Eastern region. While Northern India where wheat is the main crop and it is used to be processed to prepare ‘Aata’ that is in turn used to prepare roti, the people of eastern India are mostly consumers of rice and hence various varieties of rice are grown here and this is displayed here at the Kaziranga Orchid Park. The rice variety is put up in the form of a bunch of grains that can be seen by the visitors here. Next up we explore the souvenir section of the Kaziranga Orchid Park where the various organic products made by the local self-help groups are available for purchase by the visitors that include pickles, tea, pepper, spices, herbal medicines, etc. You can purchase these souvenirs here to carry back home to gift to your relatives and friends. We continue to explore the cactus garden at the Kaziranga Orchid Park and we finally assemble at the stage area of the place to witness a cultural dance performance that is performed at regular intervals across the day.
We witness the vibrant bamboo dance and the Bihu dance of Assam here at the Kaziranga Orchid park and later we head to the restaurant area to savour one of the most special Assamese thali that is served at the Kaziranga Orchid Park and it is a gigantic meal that is served with around 30 offerings along with rice all cooked with leafy and organic vegetables that are sourced from the agricultural fields around Kaziranga National Park and as the place is a confluence of major rivers so apart from rice, the farmers of the area around Kaziranga National Park also grow various vegetables and transport it across Assam thereby augmenting their income and the same vegetables are supplied to the kitchen of the restaurant here at Kaziranga Orchid Park and the chef turn these vegetables into some of the most flavourful vegetable curries and ‘pitikas’. We take our seats and once the food arrives any person will scream out in delight when they see the size of the plate that is a bell metal plate and the various small bowls accompanying the plate filled with the delightful vegetable curries and the pitikas.
The pitika is a form of a mashed vegetable chutney that is generally prepared by boiling potatoes and later these potatoes are peeled and mashed up with chopped onions, green chillies, salt and coriander leaves and the same is also done with boiled pumpkin and roasted brinjal and this is one of the very flavourful vegetable recipes you can eat on your visit to Assam. The meal will be sumptuous and after our lunch we will board our jeep that will take us to the eastern range of Kaziranga National Park at Agoratoli. The eastern range is a little away from the main centre of Kaziranga National Park at Kohora and hence it is a less frequented range when it comes to tourists because of its distance but this is one of the best ranges to explore here at Kaziranga National Park because of the varied fauna and avifauna here. The Agoratoli range is known to be a wild haven for bird watchers as the movement of vehicular traffic is less and so the birds are not scared to fly around and you can spot them easily around the water bodies and the tall trees. This range is also known to be the place to spot the Royal Bengal Tigers of Kaziranga National Park and many instances of visitors sighting the tigers of Kaziranga are recorded here at the Agoratoli range.
We proceed on our jeep safari ride here at the Agoratoli range and we will get to witness the various fauna of Kaziranga National Park like rhinos, wild water buffaloes, wild elephants, hog deers, assamese macaques, Hoolock gibbons, various bird species both migratory and resident, jungle fowls, wild boars and if our luck favours then we might be able to sight the tigers of Kaziranga National Park while we are here at Agoratoli. We will explore the forest reserves of the eastern range of Kaziranga National Park for about 2 hours and later we drive out and head back to the Kohora area on our jeep where we will meet our vehicle drivers and we will drive back to the Bonroja Motel at Bagori and thereby we end our day of safari here at Kaziranga National Park. We will spend the evening at leisure by the bonfire inside the premises of the Bonroja Motel and after our early dinner we retie to our rooms.
Night Halt: Bonroja Motel at Kaziranga
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 6: Kaziranga National Park – Jorhat – Majuli Island
Today in the morning after breakfast we drive from Kaziranga National Park to Jorhat at first where we will visit the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor – the home to the oldest burning oil lamp in the World and on the way we will visit the temple shrine of Negheriting Shiva Doul near Dergaon. After we will head on our drive to the Neemati Ghat to board our ferry boat to travel to the largest river island in the World of Majuli – the hub of the Neo Vaishnavite cult of Assam and home to the legendary Mishing tribes of Assam. We cross the Kaziranga National Park and continue on our drive towards Numaligarh and further towards Dergaon in Assam where we will stop at the Negheriting Shiva Doul that is a very revered temple shrine in Assam that is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located atop a hillock that is said to have been built during the 9th century by the rulers of the Kachari kingdom of Assam. But then the temple had fallen into ruins in due course of time only to be reconstructed by the Ahom King Swargadeo Rajeshwar Singha who assigned the task to the famous architect Ghanashyam Khanikor in 1687. King Rajeshwar Singha was a patron of religion and he is accredited with the construction of several temple shrines in Assam that were built in traditional Ahom architecture.
This temple shrine had earlier found the wrath of the Dehing river when the river during the change of its course engulfed the temple in its powerful currents and the temple was completely destroyed. After many years a devotee of Lord Shiva had found the ruins of this grand temple shrine and the Shiva Lingam submerges in the river waters and on knowing upon this find, Ahom King Swargadeo Rajeshwar Singha brought the lingam from the river and reconstructed the temple shrine of Negheriting and he established the Shivalinga at this temple shrine of Assam. The Negheriting Shiva Doul is an example of the grandeur and finesse of the Ahom architecture especially when it comes to the construction of temple shrines across Assam and this Shiva temple is a clear testament to it. At the Negheriting Shiva Doul, the main temple shrine that is dedicated to Lord Shiva is surrounded by four other temple shrines namely Vishnu, Ganesha, Surya and Durga. In the later period, a banalinga of around 3 feet in diameter was also established at the main temple shrine here at the Negheriting Shiva Doul in Assam.
The temple name is unique because the site where this temple shrine in Assam is located was a habitat of a peculiar bird called as the ‘Negheri’ that led to this place being called as Negheriting and as the temple shrine was built at this place it came to be known as the Negheriting temple. We explore the Shiva Doul at Negheriting but when we are exploring the temple we have to be careful of the monkeys (Rhesus) that inhabit this place and they take away the food that you have in your hands and the best way to avoid any altercations with these monkeys is to avoid carrying food items in your hands. After exploring this palce we continue on our drive to the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor near Jorhat to ensure that we reach the Neemati Ghat before 2 PM as the last ferry to the Kamalabari Ghat at Majuli Island is at 3.30 PM and we need to board the ferry at any cost. We drive from Dergaon to Jorhat and the beautiful country side of Assam greets us with the agricultural fields on each side and the lush tea gardens of Assam as well.
We soon reach the Kaziranga University and the Swargadeo Sukapha Samanway Kshetra that is a tribute to the founder of the Ahom Kingdom – Swargadeo Sukapha who is credited of establishing the Ahom Kingdom of Assam in 1228. In the interest of time we won’t stop here and instead continue of our drive to the Jorhat Bypass where we cross the town to reach the other side and we travel to the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor near Jorhat. We soon reach the campus of the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor and we will witness the oldest burning oil lamp in the World here. These Namghars are to be found across Assam and they are an extension of the Neo Vaishnavite Satras of Assam that were established by the holy Saint reformer Srimanta Shankardeva and his disciple Madhava Deva under the patronage of the Ahom Kings. The Satras were the places where the monks stayed and learnt about the culture, literature and art but these Namghars are mostly community halls and prayers centres setup at various towns and villages so that the local people could spend their time in prayers and also use the place to discuss proceedings and organize various cultural acts of the Bhaonas and the Sattriya Nritya performances to educate the masses about the Indian Epics and the life of Lord Krishna.
This Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor was established by Madhava Deva when he was at this place and he took shelter at a house of an elderly couple who were quite poor and offered immense hospitality to the guru and also offered him a meal of rice and Dhekia xaak (fiddle head ferns) and the guru loved the meal so much that he decided to build a Namghar at this place in tribute to the elderly couple and he instructed the villagers not to allow the lamp that he lit here to go out. This process of refuelling the lamp continued and today this place is home to the oldest burning oil lamp in the World (certified by the Limca Book of Records) that has been burning continuously here since 1528 AD. The walls of the Namghar are painted with beautiful pictures depicting the life of Lord Krishna as these Satras and Namghars worship Lord Krishna and his various parts of life and the ‘Raas Leela festival’ celebrated at this Satras and Namghars is a depiction of the life of Lord Krishna in an art form. We will go to the main prayer hall of the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor that houses the oldest burning oil lamp in the World and we will be a part of history today as we see this lamp in front of our eyes that was lit in 1528 and has been burning continuously since then.
We explore the Dhekiakhowa Bornamghor and later travel to the Neemati Ghat where we will board our ferry and travel to the Kamalabari Ghat and further to Majuli Island. We will have a late lunch today and so we will carry packed food to be had along the way. We will savour a cup of black tea on the ferry boat and admire the beautiful view of the waters of the Brahmaputra River that is a lifeline of Assam and it is considered to be one of the most powerful rivers in India and the widest one as well. We soon reach the Kamalabari Ghat at Majuli and we travel to the main town centre at Garamur where we will break for lunch at an ethnic restaurant where we will savour a Mishing tribe food of Assam and continue to check into our place of stay at Majuli Island. We freshen up and in the evening we will visit the Sri Sri Uttar Kamalabari Satra in Majuli Island.
The Sri Sri Uttar Kamalabari Satra at Majuli Island is a very noteworthy Satra in Assam and a very influential one as well. At the Satra the monks practice the Sattriya Nritya that is one among the 8 classical dance forms of India and was introduced by Srimanta Shankardeva when he realized that people could connect well with the life of Lord Krishna if the teachings and discussions were done in the form of dance and plays. While the plays called as ‘Bhaonas’ were not limited only to the life of Lord Krishna but also the various epics of the Hindu mythology, the Sattriya Nritya centred around the life of Lord Krishna. Initially this dance form was performed only by the male monks of the Satras but in the latter half of the 20th century both men and women started performing the Sattriya Nritya as the dance form popularity spread across Assam and it was recognised as one among the 8 classical dance forms of India and today artists travel across the World to demonstrate this dance form on global stages. We will witness a short dance performance at the Uttar Kamalabari Satra and later head back to our place of stay for a nice dinner and night halt.
Night Halt: La Maison De Ananda at Majuli Island
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 6: Majuli Island
Today is our day of exploring the various Neo Vaishnavite Satras of Majuli Island and learn about the traditional crafts of mask making with hand and traditional pottery making with hands without the use of pottery wheel at the Salmora village in Majuli Island. We start our day after breakfast and we will at first drive to the Salmora village from the Garamur area in Majuli. We will drive through the road behind the island that will take us across the countryside of Majuli where we will get to see the various farmlands, agricultural fields, local fisheries, the traditional bamboo homes of the Mishing people and the entire scene will remind you how peaceful the life in a village is. We see the occasional market area and the Namghars of Majuli along the way and we will finally arrive at the Salmora village in Majuli Island. The Salmora village is a traditional village in Majuli Island and this place is known to have a forest reserve that is home to various species of flora, fauna and Avifauna. Majuli Island being a riverine island becomes a paradise for bird watching in winters as thousands of migratory birds from around the World come to visit the island and they make this place their home for the next few months and settle across the various protected forests and water bodies around the island.
The forest reserves become a nice place to go for bird watching as the birds are perched atop the tall trees and we can have an excellent experience of bird watching here. We will spend some time at this forest reserve before the entrance of the Salmora village where we will get to witness various birds and later we will go to a local village home at the Salmora village where a local family will demonstrate to us the art of traditional pottery making with hands. Since many years the Salmora village has been known across Assam for the practice of this pottery making art and they have been able to do this because of the gift of the Brahmaputra that is a unique soil that can be found in the deep undergrounds of the banks of this mighty river. This soil is dug out from the river banks during the winter season when the river banks get dry and this soil when mixed with cow dung becomes a unique clay that can be moulded and shaped into various forms and this is what makes the soil unique.
After allowed to dry out in the sun, the pottery utensils get hard and are later painted with organic colours to get a final product and these are later transported to various places across Assam as far as Sadiya by boats. During the earlier days when the utensils of steel and plastic were not available these pottery crafts of Majuli were in great demand and the villagers had a good earning by selling these pottery goods but over time the demand was significantly decreased but still there are patrons who prefer to use only these earthenware goods and one thing that is still much in demand are the pots or what is locally called as the ‘Tekeli’ to store drinking water. The useful thing about storing water in these earthen pots is that the water keeps cool especially during the summer months and the water also taste a unique earthy flavour that is liked by many people. We will take our seats at a local home where a lady of the house will demonstrate this art from to us for a nominal fees and this is how they are able to sustain themselves with the pottery art.
The men of the house go out for daily chores visiting the agricultural fields and tending to the tasks of animal husbandry and bamboo handicrafts while the ladies use their skill of pottery to create these unique handicrafts and so they are able to augment their family income as well. The lady demonstrates to us how the clay to prepare the pottery craft is made and then she uses her hands to give shape and form to this clay and create the final product and she allows it to rest under the sun for it to dry. This is a unique experience to witness because the Salmora village is the only place in the World where this art of making pottery items without the use of a pottery wheel is practiced and gradually this is becoming a popular tourist place as people who want to witness this art are gradually increasing. After this we leave the Salmora village and travel to the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island where we will witness another unique art form of traditional mask making with hands and this practice has been kept alive at the Samaguri Satra under the patronage of the Satradhikar Dr. Hemchandra Goswami who took this as a mission to save this dying art form and he has introduced several features in these masks and has taken this art to a global stage and today thousands of visitors from across India and the World come to Majuli Island to witness this art form of traditional mask making with hands.
This art from was introduced by the holy Saint reformer Srimanta Shankardeva when he realized that during his religious discourses where he taught the masses about the life of Lord Krishna and also the various Indian Epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, his followers of the Neo Vaishnavism cult preached by him were able to relate better with his teachings when the teachings were enacted out in the form of plays and so the holy Guru came up with the concept of the ‘Bhaonas’ that were plays where the artists were dressed as the various mythological characters and later enacted the plays of the Hindu epics. The Guru realized that the masses could associate more closely with the mythological characters if they could see the artists wearing a face mask that depicted the Gods and that was when Srimanta Shankardeva introduced the mask making with hands and these masks were later worn by the artists to demonstrate the mythological characters in the various plays called as ‘Bhaonas’ that were enacted out across the various Namghars and the Satra Namghars across Assam.
But with time this practice of mask making with hands was gradually dying out as more and more youths were now finding a job or other business activities and it was then the Satradhikar of the Samaguri Satra Dr. Hemchandra Goswami came up with the mission to keep this dying art of Majuli alive and he started making these masks and also started teaching interested students about this art and this has come a long way and even in the Republic Day parade at New Delhi in 2018, the tableau of Assam that depicted this unique art of mask making of Assam received the first prize thereby making this art more popular and tourists came all the way from across the World to Majuli to see this art form of traditional mask making with hands. Some even come from countries as far as Israel to learn about this art form and they stay for durations of up to a month to learn this art of mask making.
We take our place at the Samaguri Satra and we will meet the Satradhikar in person who will tell us about this art where at first a frame is made up of bamboo and this will provide shape to the mask in the form of the face of the mythological character. Later this frame of bamboo is wrapped up with a thin cloth and then special clay that is again dug out deep from the soil of the Brahmaputra is put around the cloth and this will provide the distinct facial features to the mask of the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island. Later this is allowed to dry out in the sun and a special heat chamber that is present at the Samaguri Satra and later once the clay is dried up on the mask and the facial features are clearly visible. To add the final touch to the mask paint has to be applied so that the mask resembles the mythological character it has to depict and the paint is derived from all organic ingredients like roots, barks and leaves of trees, turmeric, etc. and this will be kept out for the final drying process and the traditional masks of Majuli is ready to be adorned by the artists in the performance of the Bhaonas.
The entire stages are laid out in the display room of the Samaguri Satra here in Majuli and we will take our seats at this room where a short performance will be shown to us as to how the artists wear these masks and enact out the Bhaonas. One feature that was added to these traditional masks by the Satradhikar to make it appear more lifelike was the movement of the mask along with the jaw movement of the artists. The earlier masks did not have this feature and so it did not appear as though the artists was speaking in reality and it was a feature that was added so that the jaw part of the mask would move with the movement of the jaw of the artist adorning this makes making it more lifelike. We admire the various masks that are put on display at the Samaguri Satra and while some are face masks some are full body masks and to help the visitors carry a souvenir along with them to carry this mask back home the Satradhikar came up with the concept of miniature masks that visitors can buy and take home with them.
With this we finish exploring the Samaguri Satra in Majuli Island and we contribute a small amount at the donation box of the Satra so that it helps keep the artists of this Satra to help keep this tradition of mask making alive and spread across India and the World and we begin on our drive to the other end of the Island at the Sri Sri Auniati Satra in Majuli. The Auniati Satra is the main branch of this Satra and we have already seen one of the branches at the Auniati Satra in Guwahati. With this there are a total of 14 other branches across Assam and this is a considered as one of the most influential Satras in Assam that was established in 1653 AD by Ahom King Jayaddhaja Singha. We will buy our puja offerings at the entrance gate of the Auniati Satra in Majuli Island and we will visit the Namghar that is a big hall and the various religious discourses and Bhaonas are conducted in this Namghar. The Auniati Satra in Majuli Island as it is one of the most prominent Satras across Assam celebrates some of the major festivals like Raas Leela, Krishna Janmashthami, Doul Utsav, three Bihu festivals, the tithis of past Satrdhikars, the birth and death anniversaries of Srimanta Shankardeva and Madhavadeva, etc.
All of these festivals are celebrated with great pomp and vigour and hosted at the Namghar shrine of the Auniati Satra. At our time of visit we will witness old monks of the Satra playing the traditional Drum called as ‘Dhul’ and reciting chants in the praise of Lord Krishna. We light our incense and dias and offer our prayers and later we will get to also visit the Monikut that is the main prayer hall of the Namghar and it is beautifully ornate with the statues of various Gods and Goddesses in gold and we offer our prayers. Next up we explore the area of the Sri Sri Auniati Satra in Majuli Island where we witness the House of the Satradhikar, the staying quarters of the monks called as ‘Hutis’, the Satra ponds and finally we arrive at the museum premise of the Sri Sri Auniati Satra that is a treasure house that has various relics from the times of the Neo Vaishnavite cult of Assam and also various relics from the times of the Ahom Kingdom. There are relics like ancient swords used by the Ahom Kings and Generals including the ones used by the brave Ahom General Lachit Borphukan, ivory walking sticks, ivory chess boards, ivory chairs, etc.
We explore the museum at the Auniati Satra in Majuli and later bid farewell to the place and we head to the Garamur area in Majuli where we will break for lunch at a nice restaurant and later we will visit the Garamur Satra in Majuli Island where we will witness the build of the Garamur Satra and also another museum that has several other historic relics and artefacts. With this we end our exploration of the various Satras of Majuli and we head back to our place of stay where we will spend time relaxing and in the evening we head out to explore the nearby Mishing village where we will catch a glimpse of the Mishing people of Assam and how they have been carrying on their legacy and traditions since long here at Majuli Island. The Mishing people are mostly farmers and they practice agriculture as their livelihood and they grow various varieties of rice including the red coloured Mishing rice and various vegetables to augment their income source. Many also practice animal husbandry and fishing along with handicrafts and handlooms.
The Mishing artisans are renowned for their bamboo crafts and they weave out some of the very exquisite bamboo crafts like furniture’s, interior decors, stools, binds, fish traps, musical instruments, etc. The use of bamboo extensively as an alternate to timber can be seen across Majuli Island where the Mishing people build homes and even bridges across streams using bamboo. The ladies of the household are expert handloom weavers and they weave out some exquisite silk Mekhela Chadors that area adorned by women across Assam and the Mishing people generally wears the clothing woven by hands in their own villages. We will take a walk across this village and learn about the life and culture of the Mishing people of Majuli and later we will head to the banks of the river Luit where we will witness a nice view of the sunset here. With this we will visit another local village where we will be invited to end our day in Majuli at a local Mishing home and we will learn about the Mishing cuisine and how the people source all the fresh ingredients to cook their meal. We will also have a chance to savour the local Mishing rice beer – Apong and the local Mishing rice wine – Sai Mod and after a sumptuous traditional dinner we will drive back to our place of stay to prepare for our journey to Dibrugarh the next morning.
Night Halt: La Maison De Ananda at Majuli
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 7: Majuli Island – Dibrugarh
Today we will travel to Dibrugarh from Majuli Island and we will take the route via road through Dhemaji connecting to India’s longest Road cum Rail Bridge at Bogibeel over the river Brahmaputra and reach Dibrugarh. We start after breakfast and we will bid farewell l to the largest river island in the World at Majuli and continue on our drive to Dhemaji in the Lakhimpur district of Assam from where we continue on our drive to Dibrugarh. This road connecting to Dibrugarh from the parts in Northern Assam like Lakhimpur and even Majuli has been possible only recently with the inauguration of India’s longest rail cum road bridge over the Brahmaputra at the Bogibeel bridge. Earlier, to travel to Dibrugarh and parts in Upper Assam from the parts in Northern Assam it was a long and arduous journey travelling all the way to Tezpur and then further to Jorhat and finally Dibrugarh or else the other option would be to cross the river Brahmaputra over a ferry boat and this was a long journey because a person had to switch the ferry and this would mean spending the entire day to reach one way.
The Bogibeel Bridge has come as a boon to the people of Assam and people save a lot of time because their journey time is cut short drastically. Not only the people of Assam but people of Arunachal Pradesh too have benefitted immensely with the start of the Bogibeel Bridge and people from Pasighat, Jonai, and Aalo find a quick route to Dibrugarh as this town has some very good medical facilities including the Assam Medical College and Hospital that was the first place in India where an X-Ray unit was established under the patronage of Dr. John Barry White. We will cross Dhemaji and continue on our drive to the Bogibeel Bridge and soon we will reach the bridge and this will be a unique opportunity for us to witness India’s Longest Road cum Rail bridge here at the Bogibeel. Not only the Bogibeel Bridge but Assam is also home to the Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu (Dhola Sadiya Bridge) that is the longest bridge in India (Road) and also the longest bridge over a river in the World that connects Dhola to Sadiya in Assam.
If time permits we will cross the Dhola- Sadiya Bridge as well on our journey to Tinsukia and this bridge is of strategic importance to the Indian Army as it allows fast movement of troops along the eastern most frontiers of India at Arunachal Pradesh bordering China at Walong, Dong, Kibithoo, Anjaw, Hunli and Anini. We drive across the Bogibeel Bridge that is now a popular tourist spot in these parts of Assam and we soon reach Dibrugarh town by early afternoon. At Dibrugarh we will check into our place of sty at Hotel Natraj that is located near the main market area of the place and we take our time to have our lunch and freshen up before we will head out later afternoon to visit the Lord Jagannath temple at Dibrugarh. One of the grand constructed temple shrines in Assam, the Jagannath Temple at Dibrugarh is the most recently constructed modern temple in Assam and it resembles the architecture similar to the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri in Odisha. The Lord Jagannath temple at Dibrugarh is also a replica of the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri and it is located at the Khanikar Tea Estate area near Dibrugarh.
The idea to build a temple shrine of Lord Jagannath here was the idea of the ex-Governor of Assam – Mr. J B Pattanayak and he took the interest to establish this temple shrine here and today this is a very grand temple of Assam. Most of the workers around here are from Odisha who were brought here long ago by the British to work at the tea gardens of Assam and although they have embraced the Assamese culture and traditions completely they still believed in Lord Jagannath and when the idea was proposed to build a temple here at Dibrugarh they readily agreed to help and even contributed land towards the construction for this temple shrine. The Hon. Governor convinced the Jagannath Cultural Society and he was successful to get the finding to build this temple shrine and he managed to inaugurate the temple before its completion as his tenure was about to end. The Jagannath temple shrine is indeed a treat to the eyes because of its grand architecture and it also has a hanuman temple, Shiva temple and other temple shrines within the complex. This is one of the most clean and well maintained temple shrines in Assam along with the Balaji temple shrine in Guwahati and we take our Darshan of the Lord Jagannath temple here at Dibrugarh.
After our Darshan we will spend time on the temple lawn and witness the evening lights come out and the place looks absolutely breathtaking. With this we will wind up our visit at the Jagannath temple at Dibrugarh and head to the market area near our Hotel where we will spend time shopping for souvenirs to carry back home to cherish our moments of visit to Assam. There are silk emporiums and tea shops here so in case you missed to pick up anything on the earlier places we can shop here and later return back to our Hotel.
Night Halt: Hotel Natraj at Dibrugarh
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 8: Dibrugarh – Tinsukia – Sadiya – Dibrugarh
Today we are set to explore a few more relevant and very important temple shrines of Assam viz. one at Bokul T.E. (dedicated to Goddess Durga) and the Tilinga Mandir/Bell Temple (dedicated to Lord Shiva) at the Bordubi area near Tinsukia. We will travel across the longest bridge in India (Dhola-Sadiya Bridge) and finally come back to Dibrugarh to prepare to catch our flight for the next morning from the Mohanbari airport at Dibrugarh. After breakfast we start our day and we drive to the Bokul area to visit the Bokul Durga Mandir that is considered to be one among the oldest temple shrines in the region as well as in Assam. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, this temple celebrates the Durga Puja festival with great pomp and vigour and thousands of devotees come here during that time to seek the blessings of the Goddess and it is during this time the ceremony of goat sacrifice is performed here at the temple shrine and the practice continues even today. The local people believe that the Goddess Durga is the supreme Goddess and no one can face her wrath and so they do everything to appease the Goddess. We experience the power of devotion of person here at the Bokul Durga temple and later continue on our drive to Tinsukia and further to the Bordubi area from Tinsukia where we will visit the Tilinga Mandir/Bell Temple. This is a very nice temple shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva where the devotes come here to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva and to ask him to grant them a wish and as per the temple legend once your wish in granted you have to ensure to come back to the Bell temple again and tie a bell around the temple here as a token of gratitude to Lord Shiva for fulfilling you wish.
The legend has been spread far and near and the testimony to it are the thousands of bells tied around the campus of this temple that speaks of how the devotees revere the Bell temple (Tilinga Mandir) and on a daily basis this temple shrine sees hundreds of visitors coming from various parts of Assam to the Bell temple shrine at Bordubi near Tinsukia. We will explore the Tilinga Mandir (Bell Temple) shrine and we will tie a bell at the temple premise hoping for our wish to be granted true and later we drive to the site of the Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Setu (Dhola-Sadiya) bridge where we will take a drive along this beautiful bridge in the easternmost corner of India and we become a part of history by witnessing the longest bridge in India. We will drive to Sadiya where we will have our lunch at the Sadiya Eco Camp and later return back on our drive to Dibrugarh.
Night Halt: Hotel Natraj at Dibrugarh
Meals Included: Breakfast
Day 9: Dibrugarh – Mohanbari Airport
Today after our breakfast at leisure we will drive to the Mohanbari airport near Dibrugarh where we will drop you for your flight to your onward destination. With this our temple tour of Assam comes to an end and we bid farewell to you at the airport. Tour Ends. Bid Adieu!
Night Halt: NA
Meals Included: Breakfast
6| ASWAKLANTA TEMPLE at NORTH GUWAHATI ~ Assam
The Ahoms Kings ruled the State of Assam for over 600 years. It was under their regime, Assam flourished with prosperity and to ensure they lived in the memoirs of the Assamese people forever the Ahom Kings constructed monuments of great Architectural Grandeur that continue to stand tall til today battling all odds against the wrath of Mother Nature.
Out of the many Grandeur’s built, one such is the Aswaklanta Temple situated in the present day North Guwahati by the banks of the mighty River Brahmaputra. Built in 1720 by the God fearing King of the Ahom Dynasty, King Siva Singha (who also constructed most of the other biggest Hindu Temples in the State of Assam including the Shiva Dol at Sivasagar) this Temple is located on a hill top overlooking the Brahmaputra. There are two temples in this holy place. One situated in the foot hill namely the ‘Kurmayanardan’ Temple and the other in the up-hill namely the ‘Anantasayi’ Temple. A long tread across the flight of Stairs will get you to the Temple premises where the sight of the Brahmaputra River, floating small islands and the Guwahati city across the river will mesmerizing any person visiting the Temple to seek the blessings of the Almighty!
Mythical legends state that while Lord Krishna searched for Narakasur to kill him, his horse got tired at this place. This is how this place was named Aswa-Klanta. ‘Aswa’ means ‘Horse’ and ‘Klanta’ means ‘Tired’ in the local Assamese language.
Formally there was a ‘Kunda’ – a Large piece of Log that served as a place of Sacrifice near the temple. But now this ‘Kunda’ does not exist becausee it was eroded by the river Brahamputra. Inside the temple, there are two images one of ‘Janardana’ and the other of ‘Anantasai Vishnu’. The latter is a fine art specimen of eleventh century. There is also one stone inscription on the body of the temple.
The temple was damaged in the great earth quake of Assam in 1897 AD. But it was repaired under patronage of Lord Kurzon, the then Viceroy of the British Raj in Assam.
7| DIRGHESWARI TEMPLE at NORTH GUWAHATI ~ Assam
The Shakti Peethas are a place of worship that is spread across the Indian Subcontinent consecrated to the Goddess ‘Shakti’ or ‘Sati’.
As per the historical belief, Goddess Uma (Sati), unable to bear the ridicules hurled at her husband, Lord Shiva, by her father, King Daksha, when she went uninvited to attend the auspicious Daksha Yagna solemnized by her father in his abode, gave up her body. On hearing the news of his beloveds death, an enraged Shiva, lifted Goddess Uma’s corpse on his shoulder and resorted to Tandava. The three worlds shook in its reverberation. The Gods assembled but no one could amass the courage to go near Lord Shiva and calm him down. Lord Vishnu launched his celestial weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra, which cut Goddess Uma’s corpse into fifty one (51) pieces. These pieces fell down to earth and wherever they fell gave rise to ‘Peethas’ or places of pilgrimage. The creative part i.e. the Holy Mother’s Yoni fell in the blue stone i.e. the Nilachal Hill where the famous Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati is situated. The thigh of the Goddess fell on the Sitachal Hill at North Guwahati where the holy Dirgheswari Temple is situated.
It is also believed that the great sage Markandeya, one of the immortals according to Hindu tradition, visited this place and started huge penance of Goddess Durga. At last the Goddess appeared before him and grants him blessings. Thus Dirgheswari became an important place of worship of Goddess Durga.
It is not known if any temple of Goddess Durga existed in Dirgheswari during ancient and early medieval period. The present temple at Dirgheswari was constructed by Ahom king Swargadeo Siva Singha reign (1714 -1744), under the supervision of Tarun Duwarah Borphukan, the Ahom viceroy of Guwahati. The temple was constructed using bricks, at the top of the hill, which is filled with solid rocks. The Garbha-griha or the inner chamber of the temple, where the idol of Goddess Durga was present is located underground, in a small cave. During the royal tour of Ahom king Swargadeo Rajeshwar Singha in 1756, the king visited the temple and granted more lands and men for the proper maintenance of the temple. The king also presented a silver Japi or hat, which is still used to cover the main idol of Devi Durga in the temple.
The prime attention of Dirgheswari Devalaya’s Durga Puja is the sacrifice of animals, especially Buffaloes. Every year people from far of places use to visit Dirgheswari Temple to witness the animal sacrifice and Durga Puja celebrations. There is a small water tank in the near the temple, in which small fishes and a turtle is present.
Dirgheswari temple has it has several rock cut images which can be traced to the 11th to 12th century A.D and this site is recognized by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) as an important historical site and accordingly steps are taken to preserve its structure. According to local people it is the second-most holiest place in Assam after Kamakhya Temple.
8| BASISTHA TEMPLE at GUWAHATI ~ Assam
Basistha temple is a Shiva mandir constructed by Ahom King Rajeswar Singha in 1764. The history of the Basistha Ashram where the temple is located dates back to the Vedic age. According to legend the ashram was founded by the great saint Basistha.
The history of the Basistha Ashram where the temple is located dates back to the Vedic era. According to the legend the ashram belonged to the great saint Vasistha who was among one of the ‘sapta-rishis’ – seven great saints of Hindu religion. There is a famous Shiva temple in the Ashram built by Ahom King Rajeshwar Singha in 1764. The temple stands on the bank of three mountain streams Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta, which afterwards flow through the city as rivers Basistha and Bharalu.
The Ashram itself is located at a very serene place, on the outskirts of Guwahati city, by the Garbhanga Reserve Forest in Assam. The cave in which the sage Vasistha is believed to have meditated is just 5 km away from the Basistha Temple and is a must visit place for the devotees. While pilgrims also take a holy dip before entering the main temple, the bank of the stream is also considered holy for performing death rituals like shraddha and pinda-daan. The holy stream by the Basistha Temple is often called Basistha-Ganga too.
The Basistha Ashram also features a beautiful waterfall and the nearby Garbhanga Reserve Forest is home to a number of Elephants, deers, leopards, various reptiles, monkeys and butterflies which make Basistha Ashram a unique destination around Guwahati in Assam.
9| BALAJI TEMPLE at GUWAHATI ~ Assam
The Purva Tirupati Sri Balaji Temple, located in Betkuchi, Guwahati, spreads this divine message to all. The Complex, located on two acres of prime land, has a clean environment. A gentle breeze wafts across the lawns surrounded by blooming coconut and Ashoka trees, flowers, plantains & bougainvilleas.
The door of the entrance to the Complex is decorated in ancient style. Ganeshji, the acclaimed remover of obstacles, graces the entrance of the temple complex. The Temple of Lord Balaji has a Rajagopuram (70 ft. in height), a Maha Mandapam, an Ardha Mandapam, and the Sanctorum. Between the main entrance and the Temple is the Dhwajastambham (Flag pole), which is 60 ft. in height and is made of a single Sal tree and covered by copper plate with brass coating. As per tradition, it was installed within a month’s time from the Kumbhabhishekham.
10| HAYAGRIVA MADHAVA TEMPLE at HAJO ~ Assam
There are only a few places in the world where one can witness the confluence of different religions and Hajo is one such ancient center of pilgrimage in Assam. Various festivals in the different shrines belonging to different faiths here are interdependent in their various festivals, thus making Hajo the finest example of communal harmony in India.
At Hajo, there are several temples and shrines here which are sacred to different sects of Hinduism – Vasihnavism, Saivism and Saktism. The area is dotted with a number of ancient temples as well as other shrines. The most prominent among them being the Hayagriva Madhava temple located on a hill-top. Hindus of all sects visit these temples and offer prayers. Bhutiyas belonging to the Mahayana sect of Buddhism consider the Hayagriva temple as a Buddhist shrine and identify the deity as Mahamuni (Buddha). At one time Bhutiya pilgrims used to visit Hajo as an act of piety.
The Hayagriva Madhava Temple atop the Mani-parbat is the most famous temple of Hajo. The temple which was renovated by Koch King Raghudev in 1543, has wonderful murals and frescoes on its walls. While Doul Utsav – Holi – here is very famous, hundreds of people also gather to watch the bulbuli fight on Magh Sankranti (mid-January).
Other important temples of Hajo include the Kedar Temple, Kamaleshwar Temple, Ganesar Temple, Kameshwar Temple, Joy-Durga Temple, Shyamrai Temple, Apurnabhava and Swargadwar.
11| POA MECCA at HAJO ~ Assam
Located atop the ‘Garudachal’ Hill in Hajo is the holy shrine of Muslims of Assam known as the Dargah of a famous Pir – the ‘Powa Mecca’ (Quarter Mecca). The shrine attracts devotee from both the Muslim and the Hindu communities. The ‘Poa Mecca’ has the tomb of the seer Giasuddin Auliya. It is believed that, by offering prayers here the faithful gain one fourth of the spiritual enlightenment of what could be gained at Mecca. The name – ‘poa’ means ‘one-fourth’.
The Powa Mecca is the most interesting shrine at Hajo in Assam, which comprises of a mosque said to have been constructed from the one powa (a quarter of a seer) soil that was brought from the holy city of Mecca; thus a section of followers believe that a visit to Powa Mecca confers one-fourth blessings that one can receive from a pilgrimage to Mecca itself. The mosque was built by Sujauddin Mohammed Shah in 1657 AD, during the reign of the renowned Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. The place also has the tomb of Pir Ghiasuddin Aulia from Baghdad, who is considered to be the first Sufi Saint to preach Islam in Assam.
Hajo has stood as a symbol of communal harmony in India. Here, it is not just that Muslims pay their obeisance at the Madhava Temples and Hindus at Powa Mecca. Muslims also play the role of flag-bearers when the main idol of the Madhava Temple is taken out for its annual march though the town in Magh (January).
12| Mahabhairav Temple at Tezpur ~ Assam
This ancient temple in the heart of Tezpur in Assam is believed to have been constructed during the Mahabharata era by King Banasura who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. The temple houses one of the largest Shivalingas in the World and people believe that the linga gains height every year.
The Mahabhairav Temple of Assam was originally built in stone, which can be judged by the huge stone pillars spread around the temple. The temple complex has a Nat mandir and an exquisitely designed facade at the entrance, which was built much later. The Shivaratri celebrations of the Mahabhairav Temple is very popular and devotees from all over the country visit to seek blessings. Here at the Mahabhairav Temple , devotees follow a unique ritual by settings pigeons free as an offering to Lord Shiva. A must visit during a trip to Tezpur, which has several other ancient temples, some of them being Bharavi Temple, Rudrapad Devalaya, Bhairavpad devalaya and Haleshwar Devalaya.
13| SHIVA DOL TEMPLE at SIVASAGAR ~ Assam
Sivasagar Sivadol is a group of structures comprising three Hindu temples of Sivadol, Visnudol and Devidol, other shrines, and a museum. These are located on the banks of the Sivasagar (“the ocean of the god Shiva”) tank, also known as the Borpukhuri tank, in the heart of Sivasagar. The tank was constructed between 1731 and 1738 and the temples were built in 1734 by Bar Raja Ambika, queen of Ahom king Swargadeo Siba Singha (1714–1744)
It is said that the eight foot high golden ‘kalash’ of the Sivadol – a Shiva Temple in the heart of Sivasagar town – is the biggest golden dome in India. The temple premises features three Hindu Temples – Sivadol, dedicated to Lord Shiva; Vishnu Dol, dedicated to Lord Vishnu; and Devidol, also known as Joidol, dedicated to Goddess Durga, apart from a museum. These temples, along with the Sivasagar Pukhuri – one of the largest man-made tanks on Earth – were built at the instructions of Rani Ambika, the Queen of Ahom king Siva Simha or Sutanpha, 1734.
The Sivasagar Tank on the other hand was constructed between 1731 and 1738. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva. The temple is a delightful example of shikhara style architecture with walls adorned with ornate sculptures. The other two examples – Vishnu Dol and Devidol are also architecturally similar to Siva Dol.
The Shivratri Mela here is one of the largest in India and goes on for nearly a week. While Durga Puja is held in a grand manner in Devidol, the main festival in the Vishnu Dol is the Rath-yatra.
14| TILINGA MANDIR/BELL TEMPLE at TINSUKIA ~ Assam
The ‘Tilinga Mandir’ or the ‘Bell Temple’ is located at Bordubi near the commercial capital of Assam at Tinsukia. An Epitome of Faith – the Tilinga Mandir (Bell Temple) was built in the honor of Lord Shiva in 1965. It is believed that people come to this temple and tie a bell in the temple premises when their prayers to the almighty are answered. This temple in Tinsukia district of Assam has thousands of bells of all sizes and metals like bronze, brass, copper and aluminium and in weights varying from a few grams upto 50 kilograms. The bell numbers keep increasing each year proving that indeed the people who worship and tie a bell at the Temple premises get their wishes fulfilled!
To know more about the Tilinga Mandir/Bell Temple in Tinsukia: Click Here
15| MOUNGLANG KHAMTI BUDDHIST MONASTERY at LEDO ~ Assam
Buddhism too has deep roots in Assam, with the famous Stupas of Suryapahar in Goalpara district giving a clear impression that this faith existed here as early as in the 3rd century BC. The introduction of Buddhism was said to have taken place with Thera Dhitika, a disciple of Thera Upagupta during the reign of Emperor Ashoka, paving way for propagation of the faith across Kamarupa and the neighbouring areas.
While one remote ancestor of Kumar Bhaskarvarman, a 7th century Kamarupa King who was a contemporary Harshavardhana, had accepted the Buddhist faith; Buddhists from Bhutan, Tibet, Ladakh and other places continued to consider the Hayagriva-Madhava Shrine in Hajo as a holy place of pilgrimage.
Assam also has several Buddhist communities of its own, most of them belonging to the Tai group. The Tai-Phakes, Tai-Khamyangs, Tai-Aitons, Tai-Khamptis and Tai-Turungs are spread across several districts in Upper Assam and their Monasteries get a number of visitors and pilgrims from Thailand, Myanmar and other South East Asian countries.
Visitors to Assam interested in visiting important Buddhist Monasteries in Assam can go to Naharkatiya, Margherita, Titabor and Silonijan and stay with the different communities there. For Buddhists, some of the best occasions to visit these places are during Buddha Purnima and the Kathin Chibar Dan festival, or during the Poi-Chang-Ken festival (mid-April) and Maiko-Chung-Fai (mid-January).
One of the most visited Buddhist Monasteries of Assam is the International Meditation Center at the Mounglang Khamti Buddhist Monastery. Located at Ledo in Assam, the Mounglang Khamti Buddhist Monastery of Bhante Baba’s fame is also a renowned International Meditation Center.
To know more about the Mounglang Buddhist Monastery: Click Here
16| GURUDWARA SRI GURU TEGH BAHADUR SAHIB at Dhubri ~ Assam
Guru Nanak visited Assam in 1505 AD and met Saint-reformer Srimanta Shankardeva in Dhubri. Much later, Guru Tegh Bahadur laid the foundation of the first Gurdwara in Assam in the 17th century, and it stands majestically today on the banks of the mighty river Brahmaputra. This is a major pilgrimage for the Sikhs from all around the world. Thousands of devotees visit this place in the month of December to mark the martyrdom of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Guru Tegh Bahadur visited Assam in 1670. . Guru Tegh Bahadur’s presence, therefore, was a moral booster to both him and his troops. The Guru’s role, however, proved to be much more essential to the results than his mere presence. Pacifist that the famed Guru was, his efforts were essential in the peace agreement concluded between the former enemies.
As a monument to peace, a high mound was raised to which every soldier contributed five shieldfuls of earth. This mound standing on the right bank of the Brahmapra River at Dhubri, a sub-divisional town in Goalpara district of Assam, came to be treated as a sacred shrine. A Gurdwara was also built near it on the spot where Guru Tegh Bahadur had stayed and negotiated peace. It was looked after by Udasi priests until it was destroyed in an earthquake around 1896–97. Bhai Ram Singh, an officiant of the shrine, reconstructed a room in 1901. The Mahants, originally, possessed a farman (fiat) of a Mughal emperor pertaining to a land grant to the shrine. In 1902–03, Mahant Jai Singh took this Farman with him when he went to Punjab to raise funds through donations for the Gurdwara building under reconstruction. Unfortunately Bhai Jai Singh died on this trip somewhere near Amritsar, and the Farman was lost.
There are two Gurdwaras located here:
- Gurdwara Thara Sahib or Damdama Sahib: In 1966, a gurdwara in a small octagonal hut with sloping roof was also set up on top of the mound. It is called Thara Sahib or Damdama Sahib.
- ‘Gurdwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib: The other shrine is in a square hall with wooden walls and sloping roof. Further development of the gurdwara is afoot under the Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone and the local managing committee.
There are also two more important Gurudwaras in Assam that are worth visiting. While the one at Chaparmukh was established in 1820, the other at Barkola was set up five years later. What is most interesting is that the Sikh community in these places in Nagaon district of Assam are Assamese by culture and tongue and sikh only by religion.
In conclusion, Assam is a melting pot of different cultures, tribes and ethnic groups. This very fact has turned Assam into a land of many beliefs, faiths and religions. While for some pilgrims and domestic tourists Assam is a wonderland soaked in Shakti worship, mysticism, tantric practice and mythology with Kamakhya Temple being the epicenter, other devotees flock here to seek peace in philosophy of Vaishnavism.
Nowhere else in India, you can find the roots of Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Shaivism blooming together and branching out new leaves of virtue.
We welcome you to Assam on a holy journey to seek Spiritual Solace of your mind, body and soul!
Phone: +91 7086009708