The State of Assam also houses the famous Navagraha Temple – the ancient center of astrology, Basistha Ashram – 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, Jagganath 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 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.
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.
To know more about the Hayagriva Madhava Temple: Click Here
11| POWA 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).
To know more about the Poa Makka at Hajo: Click Here
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!
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