Jorhat, known as the cultural capital of Assam, was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom. Jorhat is a very important tourist destination in Assam and famous for its sprawling Tea-Estates and colonial style heritage bungalows. Jorhat is a complete holiday destination because of the variety it offers. From Naamghars to Maidams, Waterfall to Wildlife Sanctuary Jorhat has it all and winter is the best time to experience it.
Local Tourist Attractions
There are many significant places in and around the town one should definitely visit while in Jorhat.
1. Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar : Established in 1461 by the Neo-Vaishnavite saint and reformer Sri Madhavdeva, Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar is a very important religious site in Assam. Sri Madhavdeva kindled an earthen lamp back then which has been burning till today as the priests dutifully refuel it as and when required. During the entire month of Bhadra, naam prasanga is held three times daily and devotees visit in huge numbers to offer prayers.
2. Tocklai Tea Research Institute : Established in 1911 Tocklai Tea Research Institute was funded by the tea industry, subsidized by the Govt. of India, and the States of Assam and Bengal. Research on all aspects of tea cultivation and processing is carried out at the Institute. Research on tissue culture of modern tea and its medicinal benefits are also carried out here.
3. Jorhat Science Center and Planetarium : Jorhat Science Center and Planetarium was inaugurated in 2013. This was developed by National Council of Science Museums, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. It has a thematic gallery on ‘Story of Oil’, ‘Fun Science’ on general principles of Science, a fully automated computerized Planetarium and a Science Park.
4. Lachit Borphukan Maidam : This is a memorial stone built in the memory of the great Ahom general Lachit Borphukan. This is actually the burying ground of this brave general which has now been developed into a park with the marble mausoleum as the main attraction.
5. Gymkhana Club : Jorhat Gymkhana Club is a sports venue built in 1876. Horse race, lawn tennis grass courts, swimming, billiards, polo, golf cricket etc. has been successfully hosted in this property since then.
6. Siukapha Samannay Kshetra : Situated in Mohbandha near Jorhat and Dergaon, Siukapha Samannay Kshetra is a memorial built in the memory of the first Ahom King Swargadeo Siukapha. There are several things of interest and of historical significance in this place.
7. Burra Sahib Bungalow or Kaziranga Golf Resort: Kaziranga Golf Resort is a heritage tea estate bungalow located at a distance of around 18.4 kms from Jorhat. You can either choose to stay here for an extremely rejuvenating experience or take a tour of this beautiful property which has its own golf course.
8. Kaziranga University: The Kaziranga University is a private university established in 2012. The university provides courses in Engineering, Management, Computing Science, Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Basic Sciences. Located in Koraikhowa which is around 16 kms from Jorhat Town, the University has a state-of-the-art infrastructure and well maintained campus.
9. Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary: Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary has been renamed as Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in 1997. This is an isolated protected area with evergreen forest located at a distance of around 21 kms fromJorhat Town. India’s only ape family the Hoolock Gibbon is found here.
There are a few places of great tourist interest in Assam which can be accessed from Jorhat in a day-trip.
1. Majuli Island
Majuli Island, the riverine island on the river Brahmaputra, is a very important spiritual destination in Assam. This is the land of the Satras, the famous Raas Mahotsav is celebrated here every year and the magnificent mask making craft is one of the many attractions of Majuli. These are the reasons people want to visit Majuli island. It takes around 4-5 hours to reach this island from Jorhat via Neemati ghat in a ferry. Once in Jorhat be sure to visit Majuli Island, spend a day at the Satras.
To know more about Majuli Island read my previous post: Mesmerizing Majuli.
2. Kaziranga National Park
Located at a distance of around 112 kms from Jorhat is the world heritage site Kaziranga National Park, the most visited wildlife destination in Assam. It takes around 2-3 hours to reach Kaziranga from Jorhat which means you can make a day trip to this amazing place, take a safari, have a hearty meal and still have enough time in your hands.
3. Kakochang Waterfalls
Kakochang Waterfalls is situated between Kaziranga National Park and Bokakhat. This is a less explored waterfall but with really scenic landscape. While on your visit to Kaziranga from Jorhat you can quickly explore this location on your way back.
The Tai-Ahom heritage town Sivasagar is located at a distance of only 58 kms from Jorhat. Sivasagar is a very important and popular tourist destination in Assam because of the rich history it has. Ranghar, Talatal Ghar, Kareng Ghar, Sivdol, Charaideo Maidam are some monuments of great tourist interest located in Sivasagar.
Read my post on Sivasagar city to know more about this historical place.
How to Reach Jorhat
Jorhat has its own airport, the Rowriah airport which has few very important connected flights from Delhi and Kolkata.
For those traveling by train there are two stations – Jorhat Town and Mariani Junction.
Where to Stay :
There are many options to choose from for lodging in Jorhat. You can choose to experience the grandeur of a heritage tea estate bungalow, British inspired bungalow, boutique hotel or even a modest one. But Tea Estate Bungalows surrounded by lush green plantations is what Jorhat is popular for.
1. Kaziranga Golf Resort : This is a heritage Tea-estate bungalow which will give you a rejuvenating experience. The extensive area overlooking the tea garden is a treat to the eye. The resort has a Golf course too. It is located at a distance of 19 kms from the main town.
2. Thengal Manor : Located in Jalukanibari, Jorhat Thengal Manor is a colonial style mansion. This used to be the residence of tea planters Siva Prasad Barooah and Sashi Prasad Barooah and their family which was converted into a heritage hotel in 1965. There are only 4 double bedrooms and 1 single bedroom available here for accommodation.
3. Chameli Memsaab Bungalow : Chameli Memsaab Bungalow is a two-storeyed chang bungalow built over a three acre area of Chinnamora Tea Estate. There are quite a few room options to choose from across diffrent categories. This property is popular because the hit Assamese movie ‘Chameli Memsaab’ was shot here.
4. Banyan Grove : This is a three star heritage hotel built in Gatoonga Tea Estate with colonial style decor. There are 7 spacious rooms available for accommodation here.
5. The Manor: The Manor is a boutique hotel centrally located in Jorhat Town which offers comfortable accommodation. The hotel has its own restaurant cum bar.
6. Gulmohar Grand : Centrally located in Choladhora, Hotel Gulmohar Grand offers comfortable accommodation with modern amenities. There’s an in-house coffee shop and restaurant to indulge in great food.
7. Hotel Paradise : Located in Malow Ali, Hotel Paradise is a good budget hotel which provides great service. The hotel has its own restaurant which is popular for ethnic Assamese food and has many other facilities as well.
Assam boasts of its tea gardens and estates and tea tourism is an important and upcoming sector here. Jorhat is popular because it exactly caters to this aspect of Tourism and foreign tourists love to explore this. So one should definitely plan a colonial style stay in these heritage bungalows on your next visit to Jorhat, and explore the beauty of this town in style.