A non-conformist, a dreamer, carefree by nature, I am an entrepreneur who is ever so passionate about her work. After a series of jobs and few entrepreneurial ventures, blogging came into my mind and nothing better than highlighting Assam could be my priority since I am in love with my state. So embark on this enchanting journey with me to Assam.
Summer is already here and it’s that time of the year when we feel lethargic, dehydrated, dull and everything but fresh. The scorching heat drains out our energy. As such a heavy or spicy meal is something we should all avoid during summer. Our meal should be balanced and loaded with citrus which includes juices, smoothies, milkshakes, salads, boiled vegetables etc.
Summers in Assam are humid with a rising temperature of upto 38°C which makes you sweaty and sticky. But inspite, agricultural and farming has to continue in full swing as well as other daily activities. So a meal rich in nutrients and seasonal fruit juices are preferred by the locals here. Meat and other hot and spicy food are avoided and the focus shifted to vegetables and dishes that keeps us hydrated and is cool for the stomach. Here’s a list of the most sought after food and drinks during summers.
Thekera or Garcinia Pedunculata
The ripe or even raw bor thekera fruit is sliced and sun dried, stored and used in preparing several ethnic Assamese food and drinks. Bor thekera, which is similar to purple mangosteen, has great medicinal properties and is refreshing at the same time. Traditionally it is used in the treatment of many ailments like dysentery, asthma, cough, bronchitis, fever etc. It is very beneficial in digestion and acts as a cooling agent.
Thekera juice is a very common summer drink preferred here in Assam. Dried bor thekera, as it is locally called here, is washed and soaked in plain water overnight or for an hour or two. This is then strained and can be consumed after adding salt. Most ethnic restaurants in Assam serve this as a welcome drink to guests.
Thekera tenga maas or tangy fish curry is another popular summer delicacy in Assam. This is a wholesome dish which can be served with plain rice. Thekera serves as the souring agent in a regular fish curry. Heat mustard oil in a karhai, add paanch phooran (the five spices) a few green chillies, salt and turmeric. To this add boiled mashed potatoes and cook for about 3 mins. Add soaked thekera, both the fruit and water, to the mixture, add a little water according to your preferred level of thickness of the curry and let it come to a boil. Now add the fried fish pieces and let it cook for another 5 minutes and Thekera Tenga maas anja is ready!
Boror Tenga Anja or Lentil fritters curry is another delicacy greatly enjoyed during summers. Soaked red lentils are grinded into a paste, then salt is added as per taste with a little asafoetida or hing. Scoop out small spoonfuls of the paste and deep fry until golden brown. After the bors or fritters are ready, prepare the curry. Heat mustard oil in a karhai, add a bay leaf and paanch phooran. Then add chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add boiled mashed potatoes, turmeric and salt as per taste, mix well and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the soaked thekera along with a little water and let it come to a boil. Later add the lentil fritters and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Garnish with coriander before serving. Instead of mashed potatoes, bottle gourd can also be used for the curry.
Paanch phooran is a mix of the five basic spices mostly used in Bengali cuisine, and in Assamese cuisine as well. These five spices are fenugreek seed, Nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed, and fennel seed. You can buy it here: https://clnk.in/ptTn
Kaji Nemu or Lemon
Kaji Nemu is a local variety of lemon widely consumed in Assam. It is rich in Vitamin C and also aids in digestion, apart from other health benefits. During summers kaji nemu becomes the compulsory accompaniment with meals. Kaji Nemuor lemon juice is the most sought after and readily available summer drink in Assam. Squeeze a few long pieces of lemon, add salt and sugar and the most hydrating summer drink is ready. Mornings or evenings, it keeps you hydrated throughout and satisfies your thirst instantly.
Another very common summer food is poita bhaat. This is basically leftover rice which is soaked in water overnight. The next day you can have it with a little side dish of fish fry, along with raw onions and green chilly. Aloo pitika, bengena pitika, kon aloo bhoja are some other perfect accompaniments of poita bhaat. This is the most preferred breakfast as it keeps your stomach cool while providing all the necessary nutrients. It is widely believed to be effective during fever because of its cooling nature. On the first day of Assamese New Year, i.e. Bohaag Bihu, this is one of the most important dishes religiously consumed by many here.
Pitika is the soul food of Assam. Any type of pitika like aloo pitika, kon bilaahi aloo pitika, bengena pitika, xoru maas pitika, etc are greatly enjoyed all year around but especially in summers. In fact, pitika is the perfect side dish with poita bhaat. This is light on the stomach and since it’s either in boil or smoked form, so it’s free of oil. Of course a little amount of raw mustard oil is added for flavor over the pitika. Pitika is the mashed form of vegetables mixed with onions and green chilly, and garnished with coriander and mustard oil.
Bael fruit is another excellent summer fruit because of its cooling properties. This fruit has many medicinal benefits and is effective in treating indigestion, constipation and bloating. Bael tree, especially the fruit and its leaves are considered sacred as it’s associated with Lord Shiva and offered in his worship.
Bael fruit juice is extracted by removing the pulp from the ripe fruit and then mashed. Add a little water and strain the mixture. Add jaggery or sugar as per taste with a sprinkle of black salt. Bael fruit juice is one of the most refreshing summer drink here in Assam too.
Sira is flattened rice and Doi is homemade unsweetened curd which is very light on the stomach and is hydrating too. In Assam doi sira jolpaan is another popular breakfast delicacy and is widely preferred during summers. Sira is soaked in warm water until a little soggy, after which it is served with doi and jaggery. This breakfast is an instant energy booster.
Doi sira jolpaan or any other type of jolpaan is generally served during Bohaag Bihuand Magh Bihu, but mostly in the rural areas this is preferred all year round.
Flattened rice is also called Poha in some parts of India and is easily available in the market. Buy it here: https://clnk.in/ptTz
Kosutenga or taro leaves curry
Tenga is ideal for summer and therefore widely preferred in any form, either juice or food delicacies. Thekera, Kaji Nemu, Kon bilaahi are easily available ingredients used to add to the tangy flavor in food. Kosu bilaahi tenga anja is one such delicacy you should never miss out. The taro leaves are boiled and the water is strained out to minimize the itchiness due to the presence of calcium oxalate. In fact the souring agent like kon bilaahi is used to balance this effect.
Most hotels in Guwahati have their in-house restaurants which offer ethnic Assamese cuisine. If you are planning a trip to Assam you can book your hotels here: https://clnk.in/ptUy
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, the music maestro of Assam, feels a divine connection with nature and in this song, he is all in praise of Kaziranga. In spite of the wild forest and wild animals, he hates to call it wild because he thinks the human world is far scary and wild. The greenery of the Park and the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros are world famous and attract a lot of tourists. The cohabitation of the variety of birds and animals like elephants, tigers are really awe-inspiring and the poet hates to call “his” Kaziranga wild. He takes pride in this Sanctuary which he believes teaches us a lot about cohabitation and tolerance.
Kaziranga National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site located across Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, and Nagaon districts of Assam. This is home to the great Indian one-horned rhinoceros. Around two-thirds of the world rhino population is found here. According to the census held in March 2018, the rhino population in Kaziranga was 2413.
Kaziranga is an expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broad-leaf forests. The Brahmaputra and three other rivers criss-cross the park in different areas. Kaziranga is also home to many different species of animals. These include the Royal Bengal tiger, wild Asiatic water buffalo, Eastern swamp deer, and Asian elephant. These together with the one-horned rhinoceros are known as the ‘Big Five’ of Kaziranga.
Few other animal species found here are the Ganges dolphin, golden langur, Hoolock gibbon, leopards, wild boar, hog deer, Chinese pangolin, Indian pangolin, golden jackal, particolored flying squirrel, etc. Kaziranga was declared a Tiger Reserve in 2006 and has the highest density of tigers in the world. Kaziranga also has the largest population of wild water buffalo accounting for about 57% of the world population. The endangered River dolphins can also be found in the rivers of Kaziranga.
Kaziranga is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. During winter bird species like the lesser white-fronted goose, ferruginous duck, Asian openbill stork, etc. migrate from Central Asia to the park. Game bird species include swamp francolin, Bengal florican, and pale-capped pigeon. Riverine birds include the Blyth’s kingfisher, white-bellied heron, Dalmatian pelican, spot-billed pelican, Nordmann’s greenshank, and black-bellied tern. Kaziranga is a favorite amongst wildlife lovers. Researchers spend months here to document their favorite animals and birds. Birdlife International, a global partnership of non-governmental organizations that strives to conserve birds and their habitats, has identified Kaziranga as an important bird area.
Kaziranga is home to two of the largest snakes in the world, the reticulated python and rock python. The longest venomous snake in the world, the king cobra also inhabits the park.
Mary Curzon, Baroness Curzon of Kedleston, the wife of the then Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon Kedleston is said to have visited this area in 1904. This area was renowned for being home to the rhinoceros, but having failed to see any she raised concern. The Viceroy, as an urgent matter to protect the dwindling species, initiated a plan and on June 1, 1905 the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest was created with an area of 232 sq.km. In 1908, after adding another 152 sq.km of area, Kaziranga was designated a “Reserve Forest “. In 1950 Kaziranga was renamed as Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary by P. D. Stracey, a forest conservationist. Poaching of rhinoceros for its horn was becoming huge and so the Government of Assam passed the Assam (Rhinoceros) Bill in 1954 which imposed heavy penalties on poaching. In 1968 the State Government passed the Assam National Park Act declaring Kaziranga a designated National Park, which was given official status by the Central Government on February 11, 1974. The 430 sq.km park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 for its unique natural environment.
Kaziranga National Park conducts guided tours to visitors accompanied by guarded forest officers. There are three ranges that offer motorable trails which are Bagori, Kohora and Agoratoli range. Jeep and elephant safari are available for tourists which take an allotted route through this huge park covering main viewpoints. Observation towers are situated at Sohola, Mihimukh, Kathpara, Foliamari, and Harmoti. Most animals can be viewed in close vicinity including the one-horned rhinoceros from these towers. Trekking is not allowed in the park to avoid human-animal conflict. The Park is open from November to April end.
During your visit to Kaziranga National Park you should definitely visit these nearby tourist attractions.
Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park recently set up in Durgapur village, is a popular tourist attraction near the Park. There are more than 500 species of orchids, 132 varieties of sour fruits and leafy vegetables, 12 species of cane, 46 varieties of bamboo, and a large variety of local fishes available in the park.
The Park also has a rice museum, a medicinal plant garden along with a product outlet center, a garden for native flowers and fruits, a fishery for native fish species, a cactus species display room, and an extensive forest that has native species of trees.
The Biodiversity Park also has a cultural center to promote ethnic songs and dance forms. Everyday cultural performances are organized for the tourists on the open stage. The Park also serves an elaborate ethnic Assamese meal to tourists.
Kakochang Waterfalls is another offbeat tourist attraction located in Bokakhat, at a distance of around 48 km from Kaziranga National Park. A trek of around 4 km will lead to the base of the waterfall. This is a picturesque location which used to be a popular picnic spot for the locals, but now is attracting a lot of tourists. The Numaligarh ruins can be viewed from this location. And in the surrounding area, there are tea, coffee, and rubber farms which too can be explored.
In a previous post I have mentioned the details of a few best hotels and resorts near Kaziranga in terms of luxury, comfort, security and amenities. But for those who want to experience the eco-friendly and camping thrill, you can check the list below:
Nature Hunt Eco Camp: This hotel offers Assamese style cottage as well as tent accommodation with outdoor fireplace. They conduct jeep and elephant safari to the Park along with tea garden tour, tribal village tour etc.
Agoratoli Eco Tourism Resort: Agoratoli Eco Tourism Resort is an ecotourism jungle lodge with 7 units for accommodation with Assamese style cottages.
Kaziranga Eco Camp: Kaziranga Eco Camp offers tent type accommodation with concrete flooring and thatched roofs. Facilities like cycling and fishing etc. are available for guests.
Diphlu River Lodge: A very comfortable stay on the banks of river Diphlu and at a distance of 8.5 kms from Kaziranga National Park. The lodge offers all the basic amenities. The exterior and interior are in Assamese style but blended with the modern amenities and comfort.
Travel safe inspite of the ongoing pandemic by getting access to the Priority Pass to the Airport lounges. Also avail different offers and other perks that come along with the Pass. To know more click here : https://clnk.in/psqG
Assam’s bard and music maestro Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was a poet of Nature, of the people and a revolutionary poet at the same time. His compositions reflect the true soul of Assam in all its glory. In this song he vividly creates the image of the tea garden workers of Assam plucking the tea leaves in the vast green estates which is a very common sight in Assam. Assam is one of the most prolific tea-producing regions in the world because of its ideal climatic conditions, long growing seasons and generous rainfall. The collective produce of the tea estates of Assam is approximately 680.5 million kg of tea.
Tea is a major industry in Assam apart from Agriculture, Petroleum and Natural Gas. Assam is the world’s largest tea growing region by production. Assam tea is a black tea manufactured specifically from the plant Camellia sinensis variant assamica. Assam tea is known to be brisk and malty with a bright color.
The history of tea in Assam dates back to the year 1823. Robert Bruce, a Scottish adventurer, discovered this species of plant wildly growing in the region. He was curious about the properties of the plant and in the process was introduced to the chief of the Singpho tribe, Bessa Gam by Maniram Dewan, a nobleman from Jorhat. The chief, in the meanwhile, had already discovered the “wild” plant which had medicinal benefits, and was brewing it to get this flavorful aromatic drink. Later the plant was tested in the laboratory of the Botanical Garden of Calcutta (Kolkata) and identified as a variety of tea. The East India Company then took on the task to develop commercial plantations of tea in Assam.
Maniram Dewan was the first Assamese to start commercial tea plantations in Jorhat and Sivasagar. He was a nobleman and an entrepreneur who worked as the Dewan of the Assam Tea Company. Having acquired the knowledge and experience about the techniques of cultivation, production and marketing of tea, he decided to develop his own tea Estates after resigning from the Company. Cinnamora Tea Estate of Jorhat is the first tea garden which was set up by Maniram Dewan in 1843 and which started functioning in 1850. The Estate is now owned by the Assam Tea Corporation Limited and the heritage bungalow has been turned into a boutique tea garden hotel called Chameli Memsaab Bungalow.
Assam Tea is generally harvested twice, in a “first flush” and a “second flush”. The first flush is picked during late March, and the second flush much later. The second flush is the prized “tippy tea” which is much sweeter and full-bodied and hence considered superior to the first flush. The two main types of Assam tea are CTC and orthodox. Orthodox Assam tea can further be divided into many categories depending on the leaf type. Orthodox tea is made using traditional methods and considered of superior quality than its counterpart. CTC or cut-tear-curl tea is a type of black tea where leaves are formed into small pellets. This is usually stronger, maltier, sharper and maybe astringent.
The Singpho tribe were the first in Assam to discover and brew the “wild” bush into tea. They produce and preserve tea in a very unique and unconventional way, and the final product is called the Phalap. The Singpho people generally cultivated their tea in their home-grown gardens without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers, but only vermicompost. The fine tender tea tips are plucked and then dry roasted in a pan. Then they stuff the tea leaves into a hollow bamboo and close the mouth tightly. This is then left to dry in a bamboo platform (in Assamese called dhuan chang) which is constructed above the traditional wood fired kitchen oven. The smoke from the fire oven dries the tea leaves in a period of around 3 months. The final product is like a cake because the tea leaves get compressed and stick together over time. This organic “handcrafted” tea has a smoky flavour and is very strong and unique.
Assam tea, or blends containing Assam tea are often sold as “breakfast” teas because of its strong, malty properties. Apart from black tea, Assam also produces green and white teas in small quantities. The younger generation of small tea growers in Assam are taking on the task to produce and process tea in an organic way. But this task is not easy since the available tea plants inherently contain pesticides. However, efforts are made to gradually evolve into a full fledged organic garden over the years. To achieve this, the tea growers use cow dung, vermicompost, oil cake etc. for controlling pests and ensuring healthy growth. Even the manufacturing process is done using locally available tools like dola, dheki etc. The final product is therefore much less in quantity because it is handmade.
Assam, at present, has about 830 large tea gardens with 529 tea factories and almost 66000 small tea growers producing around 1.5 million pounds of tea every year. Assam produces about 54% of India’s tea industry followed by Darjeeling and Kerala.
Kongali Bihu is celebrated on the first day in the Assamese month of Kati (mid-October) and therefore also called Kati Bihu. This bihu is associated with crop protection and worship of crops and plants. Kati is a season of short supplies and hence no festivities or merriment take place as such. Kongali literally means dearth or poor.
Kati bihu is one of the three bihu celebrated in Assam, the other two being Bohaag bihuand Magh Bihu. The word bihu has been derived from the Deori word “bisu” which means “excessive joy”. And true to its name, bihu is about merriment and feasting. Kati bihu, however, doesn’t involve much feasting but definitely is joyous because of the hope for a better crop.
During the month of Kati the granaries are almost empty, and the paddy in the fields are in the growing stage. On this day of Katibihu earthen lamps are lit at the paddy fields as a worship to the Laxmi (crop) seeking blessings in the form of abundance. The lamps lit on the paddy fields are referred to as “Akash Bonti” literally meaning sky candle because these are lit high up in a bamboo pole. Scientifically it is believed that the light of the lamps attract insects which gets burned in the fire. This helps in getting rid of the insects ensuring the healthy growth of the crops.
Tuloxir tole tole
Mrigo pohu sore
Take dekhi Ramchandrae
Xar dhonu dhore
Kar ghorot logai saki
Guxhai phure dine rati
O Ram, O Ram
Ram Ram Ram
Every Assamese household nurtures a plant of tulsi (ocimum sanctum) in their courtyard which is worshipped as a form of Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of abundance. On the day of Katibihu earthen lamps are also lit at the altar of the plant and sing this verse as a prayer. In fact some practice lighting this lamp at the altar throughout the month of Kati which is considered auspicious.
Assam is an agrarian state and therefore crops, cows and everything associated with cultivation and agriculture is worshipped. Every traditional Assamese rural household has a granary which stocks the harvest where earthen lamps are lit during katibihu in the evening.
Apart from lighting the earthen lamps in the evening, an offering of maah praxad is made at the main prayer house which is very basic. This includes different types of fruits (usually 5 different types) along with green gram and black chickpeas. The praxad is then served to every family member and guests, if any. The essence of Kati bihu is to keep everything simple and basic because this is not a season of abundance.
Kati Bihu is basically Laxmi puja where we offer prayers to Goddess Laxmi to bless us with abundance. In Assam we consider the crops as our Laxmi, the one who feed us, since Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people here. So the rituals revolve around the paddy fields, the granary, the gardens, and the tulsi plant.
Dibrugarh is a district in Assam which offers the most unique mixture of tourist attractions. Tea tourism, Wildlife tourism, River tourism are important sectors which have attracted tourists to this small but beautiful town. The tea gardens of Dibrugarh have been one major retreat for travel lovers. The Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow brews some of the best tales with the perfect blend of colonial soul with contemporary spirit.
Dibrugarh has also been a major educational hub for students pursuing technical and higher studies. The Assam Medical College, the Dibrugarh University, the Dibrugarh Polytechnic are the most important educational institutions in Dibrugarh.
Natural and wildlife habitats like the Jeypore Rainforest of Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Jokai Botanical Garden are also important tourist attractions in Dibrugarh. The Bogibeel bridge across river Brahmaputra is recently attracting a lot of domestic and international tourists since it is the gateway to Arunachal Pradesh.
But in the recent years there has been more buzz on the industry and resources Dibrugarh has to offer. The Oil India Limited (OIL) located in Duliajan is a very important industry boosting the economy of the State and improving living standards in the region. The Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Limited (BCPL) in Borboruah, Dibrugarh established in 2007 has converted Dibrugarh into a buzzing Industrial town. This has generated employment in the region and also created means for entrepreneurship and small business.
Located at Chiring Gaon, Khanikar Road is Dibrugarh’s Jagannath Temple which is a replica of the original one in Orissa. This is a major tourist attraction in Dibrugarh and is just beside the newly opened highway which means it’s easily accessible. Rath Yatra is an annual festival organized here with proper rituals and customs. The architecture of the temple and its color are really unique.
Radha Krishna Temple
Radha Krishna Temple located at Jalan Nagar has always been the major tourist attraction in the town. The white marbled temple, its peaceful location amidst the tea garden is one place where people come to meditate quietly. The temple dedicated to Sri Krishna and his beloved Radha celebrates Jhulan Puja every year on a grand scale.
Bogibeel Bridge across the river Brahmaputra connects Dibrugarh with Dhemaji district of Assam. Connectivity between the two districts earlier was very poor and people suffered a great deal. But the bridge has not only improved communication for everyday commuters but also paved the way for smooth commerce and trade. Entrepreneurial steps to promote River tourism have been already initiated in the region with hope for a better future.
Assam Medical College established in 1947 has been a boon to the people of Dibrugarh and its neighbouring places. In terms of providing quality education and quality medical services, AMC has great credibility. The college provides undergraduate and post-graduate courses in medicine, nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, orthopaedics, cardiology, general surgery, anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, ophthalmology, pediatrics, microbiology, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, dentistry, neurology, pharmacology, anesthesiology, forensics, dermatology, plastic surgery, radiology, physiology, psychology and otorhinolaryngology.
Dibrugarh University is another important educational institution in Dibrugarh establishedin 1965. Aspiring students from all over the state dreams of studying in this elite institution. The campus is spread across an area of 500 acres complete with the different departments, the administrative building, the library, indoor stadium, boys and girls hostel, dispensary, canteens, professors’ quarters, etc. The University has been accredited with an ‘A’ grade in their last assessment in 2017.
Jokai Botanical Garden cum Germplasm Center situated in the Jokai Reserve Forest is another important tourist place here. This is a storehouse of some of the valuable and endangered species of flora of this region. The various zones of this center include Orchid House, Medicinal and aromatic plants plot, Rainforest specimen plot etc.
Jeypore Rainforest spread across an area of 108 sq. kms is home to 102 species of orchids with many other varieties of animals and plants. This is a very important destination for those who love wildlife. The forest also has the distinction of having seven wild cat species.
Namphake Village is located at Naharkatia, a few kilometers from the main town of Dibrugarh. This is a village which belongs to the Tai- Phake ethnic community. The Tai- Phake have their own separate script and preserved manuscripts. They are mainly followers of Theravada Buddhism and have a very rich history and culture.
How to reach:
Located at Mohanbari is Dibrugarh’s own airport, Mohanbari Airport with major flights service. The main town is at a distance of 15 kms from the airport and cabs are available for hire at the premises.
Dibrugarh Railway Station located at Banipur has direct train connectivity with all the major cities of the country.
Where to stay:
Hotel Tea County
Hotel Tea County is a boutique hotel located opposite Chowkidinghee field in Dibrugarh. The bus station is hardly a 5 mins walk from the hotel, and the market a 5 mins drive away. The property amidst tea gardens offers all modern amenities and is a comfortable stay to choose from.
Hotel Nataraj is centrally located at H.S.Road which is close to the central market. The hotel provides all modern amenities and is in close proximity to some if the major Landmarks of the town.
Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow
Mancotta Heritage Chang Bungalow is a boutique heritage hotel with a history of over 150 years. The tea estate bungalow is perfect for those who want to have a taste of colonial style ambience.
Hotel Little Palace
Hotel Little Palace is located at A.T.Road, Marwaripatty which is just minutes away from the central market. The hotel offers comfortable accommodation and has their in-house restaurant and bar.
How to travel:
Dibrugarh doesn’t have the cab service companies but private cabs are available for booking with private agencies. You can contact the hotel front office for cab bookings.
City bus service has been resumed in the town after a long gap. These cover the major route Banipur-Jokai and Dibrugarh University-Assam Medical College.
Trekker services are available in the town and these ply in huge numbers along the major routes.
Nameri National Park is situated in Sonitpur district of Assam in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas. Nameri National Park was declared a National Park in 1998 and a Tiger Reserve in 1999-2000. Nameri shares its northern boundaries with the Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh and has an area of 200 sq kms of their collective 1000 sq kms.
Jia Bhorali is a major river that flows along the southern boundaries of the park. The river increases the beauty of the park in manifolds. It is ideal for angling, rafting and is one of the many reasons tourists visit Nameri.
The state bird of Assam, the endangered white-winged duck ( Asarcornis Scutulata) is spotted here in the park. 374 species of migratory birds have been recorded in the park in 2005. Ibisbill and Merganser are two species of birds which visit the park every year. The great pied hornbill, wreathed hornbill, rufous necked hornbill, black stork, babblers, plovers can also be found in Nameri National Park. Birdwatching is another activity one can experience in Nameri National Park.
Nameri is home to many wild elephants because of the vegetation types available here. The habitat is also perfect for tiger, leopard, hog deer, sambar, dhole, gaur, clouded leopard, leopard cat, barking deer, wild boar, sloth bear, marbled cat, Himalayan black bear, capped langur, and Indian giant squirrel.
How to reach:
Nameri National Park is around 35 kms from Tezpur, and 204.5 kms from Guwahati.
If you are traveling by flight then Rowriah airport, Jorhat is the nearest airport. Take a connecting flight from Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati to Rowriah airport and then take a cab to Nameri. Or you can choose to book a cab directly from Guwahati.
Rangapara is the nearest railway station for those traveling by train.
What to do:
Nature trails/Trekking at thepark
One can explore the park by trekking along the nature trails. You will be accompanied by an armed forest guard for these trails who will take you along the thick forest and dry riverbeds.
Rafting at Jia Bhoraliriver
Rafting at the rocky waters of Jia Bhorali river is the most popular activity in Nameri National Park. You have to pay a minimal Govt tax of INR 300 plus INR 50 per person. Rafts are made available by the hotels with boatman at the cost of around INR 1200 as boat charges, and around INR 500 as boatman fee.
A trip to Bhalukpong
The picturesque border town of Bhalukpong is only around 26.4 kms away from Nameri National Park. Bhalukpong is a small town in west Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh which is a very popular picnic site.
Tezpur, one of the popular tourist destinations of Asssm is only 35 kms away from Nameri National Park. Tezpur is a town with rich cultural heritage and has many places of tourist interest. There’s history, mythology and folklore related to this beautiful town.
Sonitpur is famous for the tea estates, both big and small. Notable among them are Dhekiajuli Tea Estate and Wild Mahseer. Take a tour of these estates, visit their factory and find out how tea is processed. You can taste your favourite tea in the midst of this greenery and even carry a few samples of Assam tea back home. Wild Mahseer with its heritage bungalow offers boutique accommodation to tourists on prior booking.
Mishing is an ethnic community in Assam with a culture and history of their own. There are a few Mishing villages in Sonitpur. Their customs and traditions are very unique and lively, and their cuisine and dress are their highlight. You can take a guided tour of an ethnic local Mishing village and experience their delicious food.
Where to Stay:
Nameri Eco Camp
Eco-friendly tents and cottage accommodations are provided at Nameri Eco Camp which is the most popular lodging near Nameri National Park. The eco-camp gives you the most natural experience of life in a village with all basic amenities.
White Winged Camp
White-winged Camp also provides eco-friendly tents and cottage accommodations. The hotel also provides jungle trekking and rafting activities.
Wild Mahseer is a tea garden heritage bungalow of the British Assam period spread across 22 acre land. This is like a homestay of the Balipara division of Adabarrie Tea Estate, with 3 rooms available for accommodation on prior booking.
Jia Bhorali Wild Resort
Jia Bhorali has 19 well furnished rooms with modern amenities and provides WiFi connectivity. The hotel is situated at a distance of 40 kms from Rangapara railway station.
Hajo, situated on the banks of the river Brahmaputra, is an ideal pilgrimage center for Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist pilgrims alike. Hajo boasts of a great communal harmony with some very popular temples, mosques and pagodas.
In 1992 the Manikut Utsav was first organized in Hajo to uphold communal brotherhood and since then has been celebrated every year. On the first day of Magh the Manikut Utsav is celebrated with a cultural procession starting from sacred Powa Mecca to Hayagriv Madhav Mandir. People of all religions, all communities take part in this procession performing folk dances and songs. The idea behind this is to uphold universal peace and brotherhood.
Hajo is a destination for those who loves spirituality, archeology and has great religious beliefs. Many myths and history surround this ancient pilgrimage site and is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.
Hajo is situated at a distance of only 24 kms from Guwahati. You can book a cab from Guwahati or opt to travel by bus.
Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is the nearest airport, and Guwahati Railway station the nearest train station.
Places to visit in Hajo:
Sri Sri Hayagriv Madhav Mandir
Sri Sri Hayagriv Madhav Mandir also known as the stone temple is the most popular temple in Hajo. According to some, Lord Vishnu finally established in the hill of Monikut where the present temple is located. A fleet of stairs up the hill will lead you to the temple. The presiding deity in the temple is Lord Vishnu worshipped as an idol carved out of black stone. Some Buddhists also believe that it was in this place that Buddha attained Nirvana. Therefore this is an important place for Buddhist pilgrims as well.
According to some historians, the original Madhav temple was constructed by the king of the Pala Dynasty during the 6th century AD. The present structure, however, was constructed by King Raghudeva Narayan in 1583.
Holi is a very important festival celebrated here every year. Just like the Doul Utsav of Barpeta, Madhav Mandir doul utsav is also very popular and thousands of devotees and tourists visit Hajo during this festival.
Hajo Powa Mecca
Powa Mecca is a very important religious site of the Muslims built by Mir Lutuffulah-i-Shiraji in 1657. The meaning of the assamese word ‘powa’ is quarter. Powa Mecca therefore is figuratively considered to be the mini version of Mecca. Moreover according to rumours the soil on which the foundation of the mosque was laid was brought from Mecca. The burial chamber of Pir Giasuddin Auliya who was a pioneer of Islam is found here.
Kedareshwar temple is located on top of the Madanachala hill in Hajo. This is a Shiva temple and showcases a large Shivalinga made of stone and covered by a large metal bowl. This Shivalinga is called the Svayambhu Linga which is referred to as the Ardhanariswara form of Lord Shiva.
Joy Durga Temple
Joy Durga temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is another important Hindu temple in Hajo. The idol is in the form of a stone. The temple was built in the year 1777 on the orders of the Ahom king Lakshminath Singha.
The Dhoparguri Satra in Barpeta was established in 1587 by the Vaisnavite saint Sri Madhavdeva. The satra has many holy spots such as the Gokrana, Vikrana and the Swargdwar.
Sualkuchi, the Manchester of the East, is located at a distance of around 12 km from Hajo. Sualkuchi is a major silk-producing village in Assam. Something which started with a few cottage industries has today grown into a commercial hub producing quality silk products.
Where to stay:
Since Hajo is very near to Guwahati city so you can opt to stay comfortably at some good hotels in the city. The list below include some budget hotels in Guwahati city at some prime locations. All these hotels are close to the market and has many restaurants in its vicinity.
Hotel Atithi : Hotel Atithi is located at Paltan Bazaar near Nepali Mandir which is a central location in Guwahati city and has easy access to any kind of transport facilities.
Hotel Nandan : Hotel Nandan is located at G.S.Road, Paltan Bazaar which is at a walking distance from Guwahati Railway Station and ASTC bus stand.
Hotel Mayflower : Hotel Mayflower is located at Nehru Road, Panbazar.
Hotel Kiranshree Portico: Hotel Kiranshree Portico is just a few meters away from Guwahati Railway Station and is a very comfortable hotel at a prime location.
Barpeta is a very popular tourist destination in Assam mainly because of the Satras that are located here. Satras are associated with the ekasarana tradition of Neo-Vaishnavism propagated by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva in Assam. Satras are like cultural institutions that preach the life of Lord Krishna and allow young boys to lead a disciplined life in the praise and dedication of the Lord.
Barpeta is a combination of two words ‘bor’ meaning big, and ‘peta’ meaning pond. Literally Barpeta means the land of big ponds because there used to be many big ponds previously.
Barpeta Satra is the main tourist attraction of Barpeta and it is here that the Holi or Doul Utsav is ritualistically celebrated every year with much fervor and enthusiasm. The Doul Utsav, as we call it here, is a very important festival which has great religious and cultural connotation. Thousands of devotees and tourists visit Barpeta during doul utsav to witness this colorful festival.
Holi, celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Phagun is called the Deka doul and the festivities continue for three to five days. The first day is called gandhasava or banhutsava when Mahaprabhu Doul Govinda and Kalia Thakur are brought out to the courtyard and rituals and festivities ensue with the burning of the mehdah.
The second day is called bhar doul when naam prasanga, ojapali, gayan bayan and dhuliya nritya are held at the naamghar by the vaishnavs.
The last day is called phakua or suweri. On this day the Gods are taken out to roam in douls and people offer prayers and throw phaku at the douls of the Gods. Many tourists and devotees take part in this religious and cultural procession singing holi geet and dancing their hearts out.
There’s a tradition called the bah bhonga parba. The legend goes that Mahaprabhu left Laxmi and went to Ghanusa’s house. However on his return he is not permitted to enter the premises and is faced by a hurdle of four bholuka bamboos. The disciples of Mahaprabhu and Laxmi join in a power battle in which the bamboos are broken and Mahaprabhu once again enters the temple premises. The doul of Mahaprabhu after breaking this bamboo barrier walks around kirtan ghar seven times and finally resumes his position inside the monikut.
Holigeets sung on the occasion by the devotees are in praise of Lord Krishna. The sound of the dhol, nagara, taal along with the singing reverberates through the satra premises and people transcend to a totally mystical phase. When holi was celebrated for the first time in Barpeta Satra by Mathura Das Burha Ata, it was in the model of vaikuntha or heaven. To this day the true holi spirit prevails and people rejoice in this idyllic place called Paradise, or vaikuntha.
How to reach there:
Barpeta is located at a distance of 95 kms from Guwahati city. If you are traveling by flight then Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati is the nearest airport from where you can directly book a cab to Barpeta. If you are traveling by train then Barpeta Town Station is your destination.
Places to visit:
Barpeta Satra was established by the Vaisnavite saint Sri Madhavdeva in 1583 AD which was earlier known as Barpeta than. After spending 8 years here Sri Madhavdeva passed on the responsibility to Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata and left to learn under Srimanta Sankardev, the pioneer of Neo-Vaishnavism.
Kirtan Ghar is the main prayer hall situated at the centre of the satra complex. The three Guru Ashanas are kept here which are associated with the names of Srimanta Sankardev, Sri Madhavdev and Padma Ata. In the bhajghor or monikut the Akshay Bonti has been burning incessantly for more than 500 years now. Behind the asanas are two chairs for burha satriya and deka satriya where they do their day to day activities.
There are three entry gates to the Satra from north, south and west. The main Satra complex is surrounded by a wall which again can be entered from three gates or batchara. They are Nahati batchara (west side entry), Uttarhati batchara (north side entry) and Dakshinhati batchara (south side entry). On the east flows a small stream or canal prohibiting entry. This area was used for bathing by Sri Madhavdeva along with his disciples and is known as the khatkhati ghat.
Sundaridiya Satra was established by Sri Madhavdeva in 1570 AD and he stayed here for 14 years 6 months. Some of his best literatary works were composed here which includes Chordhora, Namghosa, Bhakti Ratnakar. Paal Naam and Thio Naam were also created here. Three guru asanas are placed here in the name of Srimanta Sankardeva, Sri Madhavdev and Sri Badula Ata.
Ganakkuchi Satra is another spiritual destination in Barpeta. Sri Madhavdeva founded this satra and is visited by thousands of devotees from around the country. Many sachi puthis composed by Srimanta Sankardev have been preserved here.
Dargah of Syed ShahnurDewan
Syed Shahnur Dewan was the disciple of the Muslim Sufi saint Ajan Shah. This dargah is an important shrine for the Muslims and devotees visit to offer prayers. The dargah is a symbol of Sufi philosophy and Islamic brotherhood.
Manas National Park
Manas National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biostar Reserve located at a distance of around 42 kms from Barpeta.
Manas is a very popular tourist destination and this year too there has been a huge influx of tourists during the holiday season. Manas is definitely one perfect destination post lockdown to clear your mind and enjoy the calm serene environment.
Since Barpeta is not very far from Guwahati city, one can opt to stay in Guwahati. You can book your hotels here : https://clnk.in/pn4M
But in case you want to stay around Barpeta, then a few hotels are mentioned below.
Hotel Kabyashree: Located in Naamghar link road, Hotel Kabyashree is a budget hotel with 15 rooms.
Hotel Mayur: Located in College Road, Pathshala the hotel is at a distance of around 35 kms from Barpeta. The hotel has 20 rooms with decent amenities.
Prashanti Tourist Lodge: This is a budget hotel with all basic amenities such as room heater, attached bathroom, hot/cold water with medical assistance and 24 hours room service etc.
Hotel Diya Disha: Hotel Diya Disha is a decent budget hotel in Barpeta providing basic amenities like TV, telephone, attached bathroom with power backup, room service and medical assistance etc. The hotel has an in-house dining option too providing delicious Assamese cuisine along with other cuisines as well.
Guwahati is a major city in Assam with many tourist attractions and places of interest. This makes it a desirable travel destination for most travel lovers. Guwahati is well connected by flights and trains from the rest of the country so you can travel hassle free. But it’s always confusing for those who are visiting for the first time to decide what to see and do. So here’s a list of the places you should definitely visit while in Guwahati.
Kamakhya Temple is the most popular tourist destination in Guwahati. This is a Hindu temple of the Shakti cult situated on top of Neelachal hill near Maligaon. Ambubachi Mela and Durga Puja are the most important festivals observed here every year. During these two festivals tourists and devotees visit in thousands, and even on a daily basis a large number of devotees visit to offer their prayers to Goddess Kamakhya.
Read my blog post on Kamakhya Temple to know more about this religious place.
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra
Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra is another popular tourist attraction in the city. This is actually a cultural centre where artists come together to conceive, create and perform their respective art forms. There’s an open space with a stage where shows are organized, a mini amphitheater, two museums, a children’s park among many other facilities.
The Kalakshetra is spread across a huge area and many cultural programs are organized here over the year. It also witnesses a large number of tourists throughout the year.
State Zoo cum Botanical Garden
Spread across an area of 432 acre Assam State zoo is the largest in the entire North-eastern region. Located off R.G.B.Road in the city the zoo witnesses a large footfall throughout the year and is popular with kids. The zoo is home to 113 different species of animals and birds from around the world.
The State Zoo however is temporarily closed for quite some time now.
Accoland Water Park
The first of its kind amusement and water park in the North-East. Accoland witnesses a large number of visitors every day, especially during the summers because it’s vacation time for schools. Located at Rani in the outskirts of the city Accoland is popular with kids and makes an ideal family destination.
The Park is, however, temporarily closed following the protocols of Covid-19.
The Saraighat Bridge is the first rail cum road bridge over river Brahmaputra with a length of 1492 meters. The Bridge is known to connect the North-East India with the entire country. This is two-tiered bridge built around 1962 by Hindustan Construction Company. The Bridge also connects north Guwahati with the rest of the city.
A new Bridge has been built beside to the original bridge which was inaugurated in 2017.
Regional Science Center is a non formal science education destination located at Jawahar Nagar, Khanapara. Many science based interactive activities can be enjoyed here along with science shows, science movies. The museum was built to promote, enlighten and educate people about pre-historic times, and science and technology.
Summer camps are organized here for kids which include a lot of fun activities based on science. Basically the Guwahati Science Museum is a fun place for kids to visit.
Purva Tirupati Balaji Temple
Balaji Temple located at Ahom Gaon, Lokhra is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. The architecture of the temple is unique and the calm peaceful ambience is very unlike other Hindu temples in Guwahati.
Brahmaputra is the main river of the region and cruising over it would be a very good experience. Also you can enjoy its beauty by sitting in the park on the banks while adoring the magnificent statue of Bir Lachit Borphukan standing tall amidst the water.
Dighali Pukhuri has been a very popular tourist attraction. It is actually a man-made lake in the heart of the city. Legends say the lake was created by King Bhagadutta of Pragjyotispur by digging a canal from the river Brahmaputra. This was later used as a naval base during the Ahom reign.
A War memorial has been recently built beside the lake. Activities like rowing and boat rides are available in the lake. Assam State Museum, Handique Girls College, Guwahati High Court are located on the three sides of the lake.
Fancy Bazaar is like Delhi’s Sarojini Market, you can find everything here at much reasonable prices. The mantra to shop here is bargain. This is a huge area with shops at every alley. The pavements are also thronged with makeshift shops which have some of the most trendy items one can ever imagine. There are quite a few shops dealing in Assam silk, Muga, Eri clothes.
Fancy Bazaar is the best flea market in Guwahati surrounded by Panbazar and Lakhtokia. From high end shops to a bazillion small shops Fancy Bazaar has it all. This area is also a Street food paradise.
#2 City Centre Mall
City Centre Mall is a hub of all the high-end stores with a food court, PVR with five screens, Gaming zone, salons and restaurants. Some of the popular brands in this mall are Hamleys, Apple store, MiniSo, Marks & Spencer, Aldo, Barista, Chumbak etc.
City Centre is the most popular hangout place in Guwahati specially with youngsters.
Apart from these there are many other malls like Guwahati Central, Central Mall, Roodraksh Mall, and stores of Pantaloons, Reliance, Vishal Megamart, Max etc. But Fancy Bazaar is undoubtedly the best place to shop.
Mode of Transport:
#1 City Bus Services
City Bus service is definitely the best and cheaper option to travel within the city. You can board a bus every 5-10 mins at all major locations. But be sure to read the route which is written on the body of the bus or ask the conductor to confirm.
#2 Car Rentals
There are many rental companies which rent out cars if you fulfill their requirements. You can even opt for a self drive car. They have a fixed rental charge and it also depends on the type of car you choose.
Auto services are available with no fixed rates. You can book an auto from anywhere but should be able to negotiate the rates which is a must anywhere across India.
#4 Cab Services
Uber and Ola cab services are available in Guwahati city too and you can avail their services as per their alloted rates.
Budget hotels in Guwahati:
Ginger Guwahati: Located at VIP Road, Upper Hengerabari the hotel offers airport transfers and has an in-house restaurant and coffee shop.
Gateway Grandeur: Located centrally at G.S.Road, Christian Basti the hotel has easy access to the shopping malls, hospitals, restaurants and all modes of transportation.
Hotel Vishwaratna: Located at A.T.Road which is the business hub of Guwahati, the hotel is also closer to Fancy Bazaar and Guwahati Railway Station.
Landmark Hotel: Located at B.Barooah Road, Ulubari the hotel is very close to the Indoor Stadium and some of the major tourist attractions like Dighali Pukhuri, Assam State Museum etc.
Kiranshree Portico: Located centrally at Paltan Bazaar Kiranshree Portico is very close to Guwahati Railway Station and Paltan Bazaar market.
Royale de Casa: Located at Beltola-Basistha Road the hotel offers luxury accommodation with in-house restaurant and bar facilities.