Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga Kaziranga

Bhoyaboh nohoi

Nohoi abhoyaranya

Iyatkoi u bhoyaboh jana

Prithibir jonoaranya

Kazirangar siro seuj poribesh

Hosti byaaghrore baas

Ek khorgor gorh prithibiye sai

Pokhir suwodi prokash

Mur Kaziranga nohoi je bonyo

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika

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
Source: sentinelassam.com

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.

Royal Bengal tiger at Kaziranga National Park Source: https://instagram.com/antarjit.singh?igshid=vxr071475p3u

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. 

One-horned rhinoceros
Source: tourmyindia.com

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. 

Jeep safari at Kaziranga National Park
Source: https://instagram.com/priyanka_priyadarchini?igshid=85igc48i055y

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. 

Indian hornbill
Source: https://instagram.com/rupal412?igshid=1x9qfi5y7i1lo

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. 

Read: Best Weekend Getaways from Guwahati

Book your hotels via OYO here: https://clnk.in/pmEh

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. 

Kaziranga Orchid Park
Source: https://instagram.com/jarinrehnaz15?igshid=4mdbsa0u9fjc

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
Source: https://instagram.com/syed_khalid_hussain_official?igshid=196jpyg8sl0cc

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. 

Read: 5 Best Hotels and Resorts near Kaziranga National Park

Nature Hunt Eco Camp
Source: booking.com

Where to stay:

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.

Diphlu River Lodge
Source: andbeyond.com

Agoratoli Eco Tourism Resort: Agoratoli Eco Tourism Resort is an ecotourism jungle lodge with 7 units for accommodation with Assamese style cottages.

Book your hotels here: https://clnk.in/plYy

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

Hajo – The Ideal Pilgrimage Hub for Everyone

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 Manikut Utsav
Hajo Manikut Utsav
Source: raiot.in

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.

Doul Utsav or Holi is another important festival celebrated in Hajo every year during Phagun Poornima, full moon day. This festival is organized for three to five days in the Vaishnav tradition.

How to reach:

Road to Powa Mecca, Hajo
Road to Powa Mecca, Hajo
Source: tripadvisor.in

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

Hayagriv Madhav Temple
Hayagriv Madhav Temple
Source: asiguwahaticircle.gov.in

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.

Hayagriv Madhav Mandir
Hayagriv Madhav Mandir
Source: Instagram – Sanjay Sasidharan

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

Hajo Powa Mecca
Hajo Powa Mecca
Source: awesomeassam.org

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

Sri Sri Kedar Temple
Source: nexplore.org

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
Joy Durga temple
Source: rgyan.com

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.

Dhoparguri Satra

Dhoparguri Satra
Dhoparguri Satra
Source: famousindiantouristplaces.blogspot.com

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.

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. You can experience the daily lives of the practitioners of Satras in Majuli, which is also popular as The Land of Satras.

Sualkuchi

Sualkuchi silk factory
Sualkuchi silk factory
Source: trawell.in

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:

Hotel Atithi
Hotel Atithi
Source: booking.com

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
Source: makemytrip.com

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.

5 Best Hotels and Resorts near Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park, the world heritage site and home to the famous one-horned rhinoceros is a very important wildlife destination in Assam. It attracts a lot of foreign as well as domestic tourists who visit to explore, to document or for pleasure. The area therefore is a buzzing hub of resorts, Eco-camps, lodges, homestays and hotels. There are many options to choose from across diffrent categories based on your budget and preference.

Read : Kaziranga National Park

The resorts mentioned in this list provide you the best of services to make your trip all the more memorable while in Kaziranga. These are the best in terms of luxury, comfort, security and amenities but can be a little expensive.

1. Resort Borgos

Resort Borgos, Kohora
Resort Borgos, Kohora
Source: makemytrip.com

Located near the Kohora range of the Kaziranga National Park, Resort Borgos offers 4 star accommodation with luxury and modern facilities. Situated in the village Sildubi the Resort has some of the best views of the forest and the surrounding landscape. On entering the resort you can get a hint on what lies ahead of you, the driveway through the well maintained green garden leads you to the gorgeous wood carved entry bearing the name of the resort. This area has fine wooden decor and a flight of stairs lead you to the reception and lounge area with beautiful decor.

Room interior of Resort Borgos
Room interior of Resort Borgos
Source: yatra.com

The Resort has a total of 56 rooms under the categories of Executive, Executive Deluxe, Luxury Deluxe and Suite. The prices for these rooms range anything between INR 6700 to INR 25000 subject to changes. But one can get better deals from any of the online travel sites.

Resort Borgos Garden area
Garden area
Source: yatra.com

The Resort provides both Elephant and Jeep safari. The rate of Elephant safari per person is INR 1250 for Indian nationals and INR 2500 for foreign nationals. Kids below 3 years can ride for free! The Jeep safari covers four ranges: Western, Eastern, Central and Burapahar range. The rates of the rides differ according to the range you choose and total number of persons. Further there is also a difference of price between Indian and Foreign nationals.

Resort Borgos Swimming pool area
Swimming pool area
Source: justdial.com

The Resort has a common swimming pool, kids pool, fitness center, spa and massage center, recreational activity centre among other facilities. The resort also have a golf course nearby. WiFi is available for guests within the Resort premises. There’s an in-house multi-cuisine restaurant and a bar for guests to indulge in their favorite food and drinks.

Resort Borgos entrance
The Entrance
Source: goibibo.com

Resort Borgos hosts memorable events like weddings, conferences, birthdays etc. for clients and the services they provide are truly class apart.

2. IORA, The Retreat

IORA The Retreat
IORA The Retreat
Source: kaziranga.co.in

Located off NH 37 near Kohora, IORA The Retreat is another luxury resort near Kaziranga National Park. The Resort is built in a 20 acre area with beautifully landscaped gardens and surrounded by tea plantations. The Resort offers 4 star amenities and luxury services. There’s something unique about the beautifully styled cottage type rooms which catches your eye as soon as you enter the Resort.

IORA The Retreat room interior
Room interior
Source: iorahotels.com

IORA The Retreat has 42 spacious rooms under the categories Supreme and Luxury rooms. There are 4 thematically arranged suites namely Keteki, Patkai, Wild Silk and Camellia. The suites are equipped with a living room, two balconies, reclining chairs, while work desk, LED TV, Mini fridge, coffee maker, free WiFi and 24 hrs room service are available for all the rooms.

IORA Poolside with Bhatbaan restaurant and recreational center
Poolside with Bhatbaan restaurant and recreational center
Source: iorahotels.com

The Resort has a well maintained swimming pool, kids pool, Spa center, Gym, Recreational center, Play area for kids, outdoor dining space among other facilities. There are two separate halls for business meetings and weddings namely Borsora with 250 seating capacity and Blue Orchid with 150 seating capacity. The Resort has an in-house souvenir and handloom shop too.

Traditional Assamese meal served at Bhatbaan
Traditional Assamese meal served at Bhatbaan Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQsjWKWhBEO/?igshid=af8gzmi5tyiv

IORA has two in-house restaurants, one purely ethnic called Bhatbaan and the other is multi-cuisine. Bhatbaan serves the best of Assamese cuisine in the most sumptuous way, a meal you will relish forever. Part of the sitting arrangement also is traditional. Bhatbaan is my personal favorite when it comes to Assamese cuisine served in the most attractive and hygienic way.

The Reception, IORA
The Reception, IORA
Source: iorahotels.com

The Resort provides Jeep safari to Kaziranga National Park and also has provisions for other outdoor activities. Traditional Bihu dance and husori are arranged for the guests with campfire as part of the entertainment.

3. Summit Green Village Resort and Spa

Summit Green Village Resort and Spa
Summit Green Village Resort and Spa
Source: booking.com

Located at the foothills of Karbi Anglong hills, in Jakhalabandha Summit Green Village Resort and Spa is at a distance of around 41 kms from Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park. A huge statue of King Kong welcomes you to this resort as you drive down NH 37.

The Summit rooms interior
Rooms interior
Source: agoda.com

The Resort has 14 rooms under the categories Standard, Deluxe and Super Deluxe. The rooms are well furnished with all the basic amenities like AC, geyser, WiFi etc. The price ranges from INR 1500 to INR 5000 subject to changes.

Kholong, the restaurant
Kholong, the restaurant
Source: booking.com

The in-house restaurant Kholong is artistically designed like a cave which gives you a jungle like experience. The restaurant serves Indian, Continental and Assamese cuisine.

Inside the Summit resort
Inside the Resort
Source: agoda.com

The Resort provides jeep safari, bird-watching tours, tea garden visit and other activities. The guests can relax in the calming environment of the resort and experience the best of what nature has to offer. There’s a children’s playground, fishing pond, garden, game room, convenience store and a souvenir shop as well.

4. Landmark Woods

Landmark Woods, Kaziranga
Landmark Woods, Kaziranga
Source: tripadvisor.in

Built on an area of 15 acres, Landmark Woods is located uphill amidst beautiful mountains and landscaped gardens, and at a distance of around 25 kms from the Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park. The Resort offers heart warming services and provides you with comfortable accommodation.

Rooms interior of Landmark Woods
Rooms interior
Source: booking.com

The Resort has 25 well furnished rooms under the categories Luxury, Deluxe, Suites and Pent Suites. All the rooms are equipped with modern amenities like satellite TV, AC, ensuite toilets, coffee maker etc.

Swimming pool at Landmark Woods
The Swimming pool
Source: yatra.com

The common facilities of the Resort includes a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, banquet hall, conference room, video room, indoor sports and free WiFi. For outdoor activities you can indulge in biking, fishing, boating or exploring local villages and the nature trails.

The Resort manages tour packages and wildlife safari for the guests, both jeep and elephant safari.

5. Infinity Resort

Infinity Resort
Infinity Resort
Source: booking.com

Built amidst a bamboo Grove, a betel nut plantation and other herbs garden, Infinity Resort totally gives you the feel of Assam. The beauty of the Resort is enhanced by its unique Assamese styled chang bungalow and the lake. The Resort is located at a distance of only 7 kms from the Kohora range of Kaziranga National Park.

Rooms interior of Infinity Resort
Rooms interior
Source: infinityresorts.com

The Resort has 16 guest cottage rooms with high sloping roofs, traditional handmade walls, tall flood proof stilts and furnished with bamboo furniture. The basic amenities of AC, refrigerator, mini bar, coffee maker, work desk and hot water are provided in the rooms, with free WiFi.

Swimming pool at Infinity resort
The Swimming pool
Source: tripadvisor.com

There’s an in-house multi-cuisine restaurant with indoor dining area as well open deck seating arrangement. Indulge in the mouthwatering delicacies while appreciating the beauty around. Other facilities include a swimming pool, biking, fishing, boating, bird-watching, nature trails and personalized wildlife safari.

Assam is currently open for tourism, and world heritage site Kaziranga National Park is attracting a lot of domestic tourists. All protocols laid down by the Govt. are being strictly followed by the Resorts to keep Covid-19 on check. So feel free to check in!

Majuli near Jorhat

Jorhat : The Complete Holiday Package

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.

Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar
Source: https://instagram.com/debasishdebuphotography?igshid=g1lmxd9m3nue

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.

Tocklai Tea Research Center
Source: tocklai.org

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.

Lachit Borphukan Maidam
Source: allaboutassam.in

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.

Siukapha Samannay Kshetra
Source: justdial.com

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.

Kaziranga University
Source: kazirangauniversity.in

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.

Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
Source: tripnetra.com

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.

Book your hotels here: https://clnk.in/pmEF

There are a few places of great tourist interest in Assam which can be accessed from Jorhat in a day-trip.

1. Majuli Island

Ferry ride to Majuli
Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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.

Kakochang Waterfalls
Source: https://instagram.com/syed_khalid_hussain_official?igshid=196jpyg8sl0cc

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.

4. Sivasagar

Shivdol and Sivasagar pukhuri
Source: en.wikipedia.org

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.

Railway track passing through Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary
Source: https://instagram.com/photographers_of_india?igshid=x0a11gvzlnam

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.

Kaziranga Golf Resort
Source: https://instagram.com/shahanaparviz?igshid=uefh1beqvg9q

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.

Thengal Manor
Source: https://instagram.com/ranjitksingh?igshid=qlrd7ny7w620

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.

Chameli Memsaab Bungalow
Source : https://instagram.com/framingjorhat?igshid=1a7tbmu3n68n7

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.

Banyan Grove
Source: blessingsonthenet.com

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.

Hotel Gulmohar Grand, Jorhat
Source: oyorooms.com

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.

Tea plantations
Source: https://instagram.com/sarmamonoj?igshid=18ocyrce4k22f

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.

Special deals on Oyo hotels: https://clnk.in/pgQ2

Assamese Traditional Jewellery: A Tale of the Rich Cultural Legacy

The Assamese traditional jewellery in essence shows the rich cultural legacy of Assam. Drawing inspiration from little things which appears mundane, the early craftsmen created beautiful pieces of art with sheer skill and imagination. The flora and fauna of the region has also been a source of inspiration to these craftsmen.

Thuria earrings
Source: saffronart.com

Brief History of Assamese Traditional Jewellery

During the reign of Swargadeo Pratap Singha in 1611 a lot of people were held captives by Bir Chilarai, the General of the Koch King Nar Narayan. Among them were goldsmiths, blacksmiths and other artisans who were sent to Cooch-Behar. There they learnt new art and craft which they implemented in their work on return to their homeland. King Pratap Singha’s grandson Rudra Singha also brought many artisans from outside the state and established them in his territory. These people adapted and merged with the Assamese people and society and gradually evolved the traditional Assamese jewellery.

Golpota neck piece with earrings

You can buy a similar product here : https://clnk.in/pgRT

The Ahom kings and queens wore ornaments of different styles and it was under the royal patronage that Assamese traditional jewellery saw a tremendous growth. During the Ahom rule ornaments were worn only by the royalty which was made of gold. Subansiri, a tributary of the river Brahmaputra was abundant with gold dust and became a primary source for the goldsmiths. Jorhat, Sonari, Nagaon and Barpeta became the major manufacturing hubs of Assamese traditional jewellery over the ages.

Designs and Jewellery Making Process

Dugdugi neck piece with earrings

Assamese traditional jewellery can be made of either pure gold ( 24 carat), silver with gold leaf work, silver with gold polish or even silver. However, the base for all jewellery making is extracted from trees and is called ‘lac’. Mina work is done on these jewellery and the most common colors are red and green. Even ruby, pearls and diamonds are used for making these jewellery. The main jewellery piece is then attached to a beaded string in the form of a neck piece. These beads are either small or of medium size and are called bakharua moni, balmoni, desimoni etc.

Junbiri neck piece
Source: getkraft.com

There are roughly three variations to the manufacturing process, particularly the frame of these ornaments. In the first variety the frame is made with gold and the filling is that of silver or lac. This type is called kesa sonar gohona or paat sunor gohona. The second variety contains silver or lac as base metal and the filling is done with gold foils. In the third variety the frame and filling both is of silver finished with a coat of gold polish. In Barpeta the jewellery is made with silver as the base with gold coating which makes it lighter and cheaper. Ranthali, a village in Nagaon district is another hub of jewellery making. The process used here is the second one where gold leaf work is done over silver base.

Jaapi neck piece
Source: ethnicstripes.com

The designs that have been continuing since generations are lokaparo ( twin pigeon) and senpotia ( eagle), inspired from birds. Thuria and dugdugi are inspired from the flora; dhol, japi, mridong inspired from local musical instruments.

Assamese traditional jewellery includes earrings called thuria, keru, lokaparo, jangfai etc. Necklaces include golpota, satsori, junbiri, bena, gejera, dholbiri, dugdugi, birimoni, mukutamoni, poalmoni, silikhamoni and magardana etc. The gamkharu, which is kind of a bangle has the most royal presence when worn with the traditional muga Mekhela Sador.

Gamkharu
Source: mugasilk.in

Modernization and Evolution

There had been certain issues faced by the craftsmen of traditional Assamese jewellery like lack of raw materials, lack of finance and market. But with the intervention of a few talented entrepreneurs in the recent years, Assamese traditional jewellery has seen unprecedented popularity globally. These entrepreneurs invested their creativity, money and time, generated employment and empowered the skilled craftsmen. Today we see several new designs which are creative and modern yet essentially traditional. Further, these new jewellery designers create unique stylish ornaments suited to the taste of the young generation which are easily affordable in a variety of range and trendy too. The popularity has therefore increased manifolds as women of all ages prefer adorning themselves with these jewellery on all occasions, and even on a daily basis.

Modern and stylish version of the traditional Assamese jewellery
Source: https://instagram.com/aparajita_das_baruah?igshid=1dmi4fzl5k7xb

Earlier there were no showrooms or boutiques for Assamese traditional jewellery. You either had to purchase or order at the sonar based on the designs that are available. Much later came the small outlets which displayed the ornaments for customers to choose from. This was convenient and fast. And then came the online boutiques, the modern concept of marketing. This made Assamese traditional jewellery popular worldwide. Popular online sites like Amazon also features Assamese jewellery.

Modified traditional Assamese bangle design
Source: getkraft.com

Significance and Popularity

The Ahom royalty, both men and women used to adorn themselves with these traditional ornaments. Over the ages women adorned these ornaments on special occasions like weddings and especially Rongali Bihu. In fact, it is still customary to present the bride-to-be with a traditional Assamese jewellery set in her Juron ceremony as a part of the wedding trousseau. During bihu celebration the young girls dressed in the traditional attire Mekhela Sador adorn the traditional jewellery too and gracefully dance to the rhythm of the dhol. Young girls and women nowadays gracefully wear these ornaments for casual outings, corporate parties and any special occasion as designers these days create quirky wearable designs out of the traditional ones.

Men’s traditional Assamese jewellery
Source:https://instagram.com/zangfai_assamese_jewelry?igshid=6cvckws6pzhn

Assamese traditional ornaments is gradually getting popular among men too. Though the variety and use is not much but men too can style themselves by wearing these traditional ornaments. There are few designs made specifically for men like madol etc. Designers have modified the available ones to give it a modern quirky style. These modified versions are a style statement in themselves.

Lokaparo neck piece with earrings
Source:https://instagram.com/saatsori_jewellery?igshid=1bdiee8pfdwlh

Assamese traditional jewellery has come a long way, from being restricted to a certain class of people to being accessible to all. The craft had experienced a major setback a few years back because of the lack of a proper market place. The popularity was gradually declining even among Assamese people. Then came the experimentation with designs and colors, contemporary styles were followed to keep with the updated taste of consumers. Carrying forward the legacy, Assamese traditional jewellery today has been able to achieve much popularity, not only in Assam or India, but internationally too.

Weekend getaways from Guwahati

Best Weekend Getaways from Guwahati

Assam is an ideal location for all travel lovers. You can opt from many beautiful locations depending on your preferences. Get ‘far away from the madding crowd’ and spend an idyllic vacation amidst the greenery of the tea gardens. Relax in an eco-resort while enjoying the flavorsome ethnic Assamese cuisine. Take a safari of the Wildlife Sanctuaries. Dance to the rhythm of the Dhol on the sandy beaches of river Brahmaputra. Create a list of the most exotic things you wanted to do on a vacation to the northeast and check off each item.

To help you out, here is a list of some worthy weekend destinations near Guwahati you would want to visit.

1. Kaziranga National Park:

The first on the list is always going to be Kaziranga National Park. It 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.

Kaziranga National Park entrance gate
Kaziranga National Park
Source: sentinelassam.com

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 Royal Bengal Tiger, wild Asiatic water buffalo, eastern swamp deer, and Asian elephant. These together with the one-horned rhino are known as ‘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 is home to a variety of migratory birds, water birds, predators, scavengers, and game birds. Kaziranga is a favourite amongst wildlife lovers. Researchers spend months here to document their favourite animals and birds.

One horned Rhinoceros inside Kaziranga National Park
The One-horned Rhinoceros
Source: tourmyindia.com

How to reach:

Kaziranga National Park is at a distance of 217 km from Guwahati. You can hire a cab from Guwahati for a comfortable ride, or use self-drive cars and bikes. Take an early morning drive via NH 37 to the central park area located in Kohora, Golaghat district. This drive will take you around 4 to 5 hours, depending on how many stop you are taking to savour the fantastic roadside views.

If you are looking for cheaper options, then board a bus from ISBT, Lokhra towards the Kaziranga route. But, a bus ride might take a little longer than a cab ride.

What to do:

After checking into a hotel or eco-resort as per your preferences, you can opt for a jeep safari in the park. After returning, relax for the day and enjoy the night activities hosted by most hotels there. Early the next morning, you can take an elephant safari of the park. Tours start as early as 5 AM. There are three scheduled elephant safari timings- 5 am, 6 am, and 7 am.

After your tour, freshen up and enjoy a sumptuous ethnic Assamese meal in the nearby Orchid and Bio-diversity park. At the same time, you can enjoy the cultural programs there and take a tour of the park. It is house to a variety of species of orchid. After taking some rest, you can opt to return to Guwahati.

Tourists enjoying elephant safari in Kaziranga National Park
Elephant safari in the park
Source: guwahatiairport.com

The park is open from November to April and closes down during the monsoons.

The entry fee is INR 100 for Indians and INR 650 for foreign nationals. Elephant safari is INR 375 for Indians and around INR 2000 for foreign nationals. These rates, of course, may vary a little.

2. Manas National Park:

Manas Wildlife Sanctuary or Manas National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site located in Chirang and Baksa districts of Assam. It is also a Project Tiger reserve, an Elephant Reserve, and a biosphere reserve. The park is known for it’s rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam roofed turtle, Hispid hare, Golden langur, and Pygmy hog. Manas is also famous for its Wild water buffalo.

Manas National Park entrance gate
Manas National Park
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

How to reach:

Manas is at a distance of around 180 km from Guwahati from where you can hire cabs. It takes approximately 5 hours of off-road drive. If you are looking for cheaper options, travel via train to Barpeta station from where the park is about 22 km away. Check into a cottage or a lodge for a comfortable stay.

What to do:

You can enjoy river rafting on the quiet waters of the Manas river if you are looking for adventure. You can also engage in birdwatching. Jeep and elephant safari are also available in the park. A local village tour or tea plantation tour, along with a sumptuous meal of the local tribe, is a must.

River rafting in Manas river
River rafting in Manas river
Source: htoindia.com

Manas National Park is open from November to April, which are the best months to visit. Besides, in May and October, the park is open partially. The timings of the park are from 7.30 am to 5.00 pm.

3. Tezpur:

Tezpur in Sonitpur district is an ideal destination for travelers who love history, mythology, and folklore. Tezpur is the birthplace of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Phani Sharma. If you are wondering, they are all notable personalities of the cultural scene of Assam.

The famous Baan/ Bana theatre was born here in Tezpur. This town has a wealthy cultural heritage, for which it is also known as the cultural capital of Assam.

Tezpur university entrance gate
Tezpur University entrance
Source: en.wikipedia.org

How to reach:

Tezpur is around 175 km away towards the north-east of Guwahati. The cheapest option to travel to Tezpur is via bus, which costs you between INR 250 to INR 550. The second option is via train, which costs you anything between INR 700 to INR 1000, but the travel time is around 5 hours. If you want to hire a cab, it might cost you around INR 4000 and the travel time is about 3 to 4 hours.

What to do :

On your way to Tezpur, you will come across Kolia Bhomora dolong or bridge over the river Brahmaputra. Make a halt there to admire the beautiful scenery of the mighty river. The bridge, which is 3015 meters long, connects Sonitpur on the north bank to Nagaon on the south bank. Named after the famous Ahom general Kolia Bhomora Phukan, this bridge is best visited during dawn or dusk to witness the sunrise or sunset.

Kolia Bhomora bridge with lighting at sunset
Kolia Bhomora bridge Source: xcellholidays.com

The town of Tezpur is 10 km away from the bridge. Once you reach the city, check into a hotel and head out for your local tour. Some important tourist attractions are Agnigarh fort, Chitralekha udyan, Mahabhairab temple, Bamuni hills, Padum pukhuri, Hazarpar lake, Da Parbatia, Ketakeshwar dewal, and Tezpur University, among others.

According to history, Usha, daughter of Bana Raja, the ruler of Tezpur, fell in love with Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Krishna. Bana Raja sternly objected to the relationship and isolated Usha in Agnigarh, which was surrounded by fire at all times. Later, when Anirudhha tried to take Usha away, there was a war between Lord Krishna and Bana Raja, leading to bloodshed. The name Tezpur, meaning town of blood, came because of this legend.

Nameri National Park and Orang National Park are at a distance of 35 km and 31 km from Tezpur. If you are a wildlife lover, you can opt to take a safari of these parks. If you are an adventurous one, then visit Bhalukpong, the border town of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which is 64 km from Tezpur. Angling is a popular sport here at Jia Bhoroli river. Besides, you can also engage in river rafting. There are many tea estates in and around Tezpur, and you can take a tour of the estates if you like.

Agnigarh fort entrance
Agnigarh fort
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Tezpur is one of the many destinations which has a soothing climate throughout the year. However, between June to September, the region receives moderate to heavy rainfall.

4. Haflong:

Haflong is the only hill station in Assam and is a popular tourist destination. Haflong is a Dimasa word, which means ‘anthill.’ Haflong is located in the Dima Hasao district of Assam and has many offbeat locations that are still less explored.

How to reach:

Haflong is at a distance of 308.5 km from Guwahati, and it takes around seven and a half hours to reach there via roadway. Cheaper options are train and bus services.

Haflong lake overview
Haflong lake
Source: noblehousetours.com

What to do:

After checking into a hotel, visit Jatinga, a site famous for its strange phenomenon of mass bird suicide. It is a 15 mins ride from the main town and also boasts of its orchid diversity. Later take a tour of the city and visit the serene Haflong lake and Haflong hill.

Thuruk, which is 38 km away, is a popular destination for trekking. You can visit this early next morning and do some trekking. After that head straight to Panimur waterfall, another beautiful location 120 km away from Haflong town. This waterfall, formed by the Kopili river, is called the Niagara of Assam. Also, take out time to explore the beautiful valley of Umrangso nearby.

Panimur waterfall in Haflong
Panimur waterfall
Source: theoodlesrainbow.com

The best time to visit Haflong is from October to March. Since it is a hill station, the weather remains pleasant throughout the year, but monsoons are very harsh in Assam.

Visit these Restaurants in Guwahati for Ethnic Assamese food: My personal favorites!

Assamese cuisine is a burst of different rich flavors which is light on your palate at the same time. For many of you gahori manxho, xhar, aloo pitika might be synonymous to ethnic Assamese cuisine. But the variety which Assamese cuisine offers is unimaginable unless you see and savour it yourself. From locally grown herbs to local produce, local variety of fish and unique cooking techniques, ethnic Assamese cuisine is too good to resist. If you want to taste the flavors of Assam then visit these restaurants in Guwahati which gives you the perfect taste of ethnic Assamese cuisine.

To know more about the popular ethnic Assamese delicacies read my blog post Top 10 most popular ethnic Assamese dish.

Parampara Paradise

This is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Guwahati serving authentic ethnic Assamese cuisine. Located in Silpukhuri, the restaurant has a very cozy ambience with great seating arrangements. It can accommodate large groups comfortably, and satisfy your taste buds giving you the best experience of Assamese flavors.

A typical thali in Parampara Paradise
Source: tripadvisor.in

Parampara thali is their meal speciality served in bell metal dishes. You will be served a welcome drink which depends on the seasonal availability of fruits or vegetables. Gooseberry or local lime soft drink is served as a welcome drink with this thali along with 13 other food items which includes Assamese speciality like khar, pitika, kharoli, khorisa, kuhudi, fish tenga, steamed fish, pigeon or duck curry, dal, rice, mixed vegetables, mahor guri and traditional dessert of hurum (puffed rice) with thick cream and jaggery.

The restaurant offers not only thali or meal but also a-la-carte menu. The ethnic Assamese menu ranges from duck, pork, chicken and pigeon to a variety of locally available fish and a variety of vegetarian options as well.

Parampara Paradise
Source: tripadvisor.in

The restaurant is currently following all protocols as directed by the government. While maintaining social distancing the restaurant is temporarily offering self-service and food is being served in disposable plates. Tables are being set 6 feet apart, staff is properly equipped with masks, face shields and sanitizers, the premise is sanitized everyday before opening and after closing.

The address of this restaurant is:

Parampara Paradise, Maniram Dewan Road, Krishna Nagar, Silpukhuri, Guwahati- 781003, Assam.

Mising Kitchen

Located in the heart of the city at Hengerabari, Mising Kitchen offers ethnic Assamese cuisine along with Mising cuisine. The restaurant is not very spacious but certainly is guest-friendly and homely. In fact, this is my personal favourite when it comes to taste and value for money.

Interior of Mising Kitchen
Source: magicpin.in

The few times I went there to dine I have witnessed full house of diners who come hungry and leave content. The restaurant offers ethnic Assamese as well as Mising cuisine which gives food lovers different options to choose from. They even serve thali specially for kids catering to their small appetite and choice of food.

The restaurant offers Normal thali with a choice of chicken, pork, duck, fish and even paneer. Like all Assamese thalis, the platter includes a variety of dishes from khar, pitika to curry and dessert.

Mising Kitchen
Source: justdial.com

The address of this restaurant is:

Mising Kitchen, House no. 24, 1st floor, Near Public Health Chariali, Hengrabari Road, Ganeshguri, Guwahati, Assam.

Gam’s Delicacy

Talk about beautiful interiors, spacious dining, awesome flavors, Gam’s Delicacy has it all. The first thing that caught my eyes on entering this restaurant for the first time was their unique furniture and bamboo decor. Located just below the Ganeshguri flyover in the heart of the city, this restaurant attracts a lot of customers. They also operate another unit located just opposite the ISBT and Balaji temple in Garchuk, Guwahati. One can easily arrange any kind of family functions or social meetings here given the space the restaurant offers.

Gam’s Delicacy, Garchuk unit
Source: tripadvisor.in

The restaurant offers Fish, Pork and Chicken thali with a variety of 14 items. For example, a typical pork thali will include Joha rice, yellow dal, Green veg/herbs fry, Pork curry, Pork with black dal, Pork boil, Pork patot diya (wrapped in banana or Tora leaf), Pork khorika, aloo pitika ( mashed potatoes), kheer, green salad, pickle, mint chutney and lentil chutney served in brass metal dishes and bowls.

Duck, pigeon and mutton varieties are available as part of their a-la-carte menu along with a variety of other ethnic Assamese dishes. Local varieties of fish and vegetables are available cooked with different local ingredients and herbs.

Gam’s Delicacy city unit
Source: sentinelassam.com

The addresses of the 2 units of this restaurant are:

Gam’s Delicacy, Krishna Market, GMC ward no. 44, G.S.Road, Ganeshguri, Guwahati, Assam.

Gam’s Delicacy Restaurant, Betkuchi, Opposite Maniram Dewan Trade Centre, NH 37, Garchuk, Guwahati, Assam.

Heritage Khorikaa

Heritage Khorikaa is the brainchild of Assam’s celebrity chef Atul Lahkar. He is a self-made and self-taught man, learning authentic cuisines directly from the locals over the years. He is a curious mind, always experimenting with ingredients and flavors. His restaurant is very popular because of his proud association with celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Sanjeev Kapoor among others as well as for his great culinary skills.

Chef Atul Lahkar and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor in front of Heritage Khorikaa
Source: quicklisting.in

Located at Chandmari, the restaurant serves flavoursome authentic ethnic Assamese food. The restaurant offers a Vegetarian thali or meal with around 10 to 12 items and a choice of different meat and fish to choose from. Pork, Duck, Pigeon, Chicken and different varieties of fish are available on the menu. Khorikaa meaning barbeque, among other popular dishes, is their speciality as the name suggests.

The only time I tasted their flavoursome food left me craving for more. Their highlight seems to be the a-la-carte menu rather than the thali, which leaves a lingering taste on your palate of that special dish you savoured. I hope to visit this restaurant soon for another gastronomic experience.

Interiors of Heritage Khorikaa
Source: justdial.com

The address of this restaurant is:

Heritage Khorikaa, GNB Road, Behind Goswami Service Station HP petrol pump, Chandmari, Guwahati, Assam

Maihang

Maihang, I guess, is the largest operating restaurant chain in Assam with two branches in the city, and a few are outside Guwahati. The new outlet of Maihang was recently opened in Hengerabari in the city, which gives a very traditional vibe on entering because of their unique decor and plush interiors.

The table with Maihang, the traditional serving dish on display.
Source: maihang.in

The restaurant offers 2 thali or meal options- Maihang veg thali and Maihang non-veg thali. The rest are in their a-la-carte menu. The vegetarian meal includes 11 items like Joha rice, yellow dal, black dal, aloo pitika/bengena pitika, seasonal mixed vegetables, green vegetables fry, xhar/bor tenga, green veg boil, kharoli, baby potato fry, herbal chutney. In the non-veg thali a few of the veg items have been replaced by the non-veg varieties. For example, if you choose a fish thali you will get fish pitika, murighonto, fish tenga curry and fish fry.

The usual delicacies of duck, fish, pigeon and pork are available cooked with a variety of different ingredients and different styles. The restaurant gives utmost importance to healthy food and hygiene. They boast of their til chicken ( chicken cooked with black sesame seeds) as their signature and most popular dish.

The interior of Maihang
Source: maihang.in

The address of this restaurant is:

Maihang, Public Health tiniali, Lichubagan, Hengerabari Road, Guwahati, Assam

Me-Dam-Me-Phi: AHOM’S Ancestor worship

The life of the dead is set in the memory of the living

Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Ahom community of Assam practices their own unique customs and rituals. Me-Dam-Me-Phi is one of such ceremonies, in-fact it is the most important socio-religious ceremony of the Ahoms performed to show respect to the departed souls and remember their contribution to society. It is the proper ancestor worship conducted as a community by the Ahoms every year on 31st January. The Tai words ‘me‘ means offerings, ‘dam‘ means ancestors and ‘phi‘ means Gods; collectively meaning “offerings to the ancestors and Gods”.

Ancestor worship
Source: happenings.lpu.in

Origin:

According to the Ahom Chronicles, Lengdon, the king of Mong Phi ( the heavenly kingdom) sent two of his grandsons Khun-Lung and Khun-Lai to Mong Ri ( present day Xishuangbanna, China). They were advised by the God of Knowledge to perform Umpha, Phuralong, Me-dum-me-phi, and Rik-khwan worship at different months of the year on different occasions to pay respect to the ancestors. This was like seeking blessings from the ancestors to help maintain their political hold over the masses.

History:

Charaideo, about 30 kms from Sivasagar town, was the first capital of the Ahom kingdom and later became their religious centre. There is a huge burial ground here with many mounds or maidams of Ahom kings, queens and Ahom royalty. The Ahoms don’t burn the dead bodies but keep it in a box and bury. This burial mound is called maidam.

Charaideo Maidam.
Source: mapsofindia.com

Me-Dam-Me-Phi was celebrated here in Charaideo first by Swargadeo Siu-ka-pha to seek blessings of his forefathers after establishing the new capital there. His successors continued performing this ceremony thereafter, which was attended by the king, his ministers and other higher officials, as well as a great number of people. There is historical evidence of the Ahom kings performing this socio-religious ceremony every year. Swargadeo Siu-huim-mong to commemorate his victory over the Kacharis in 1563 performed the Me-Dam-Me-Phi and Rikhwan festival in his capital. Swargadeo Pratap Singha performed this worship thrice, in 1606 AD and 1615 AD to celebrate his victory against the Mughals, third time was when he was defeated by the Mughals.

Swargadeo Gadadhar Singha, Swargadeo Chakradwaj Singha, Swargadeo Pramatta Singha, Swargadeo Rajeswar Singha also performed the ceremony and offered sacrifices during their reign. The ceremony is still performed at Charaideo maidam every year.

The Ceremony and its significance:

The Ahoms believe that a man is not reborn after his death but becomes God. After death he remains as Dam (ancestor) only for a few days and soon he becomes Phi (God). They also believe that the soul of a man which is immortal unites with the supreme soul, possesses the qualities of a spiritual being and always blesses the family. Therefore the extended family and the society as a whole worship the dead ones, particularly the parents and grandparents because they firmly believe that it is the ancestors who protect the family and give peace and prosperity to their offspring.

Me-Dam-Me-Phi observed as a community offers worship to Chaufi and Dam Chaufi who are regarded as gods of heaven. Dam Chaufi is associated with the belief of some natural powers like creation and destruction, water, lightning and storm, sun, moon, learning, diseases, earth etc. The Ahom priestly classes Deodhai, Mohan and Bailung perform the rituals by chanting verses in Tai Language.

Community ancestor worship or Me-Dam-Me-Phi
Source: festivalsoflife.blogspot.com

On the day of Me-Dam-Me-Phi seven Gods are worshipped namely Lengdon (God of heaven), Zasingfa (Goddess of learning), Khaokham (God of waters), Ai-Leng-Din (God of the earth), Chit Lam Cham (seven sons of Lengdon), Mut-Kum-Tai-Kum (God of the moon and sun), and Zansaihung (the preceptor of Gods). It is customary for three priests to be present to perform the rituals.

When the Ahom kings arranged this worship sacrifices and offerings were made of white buffalo, white cow, white pig, and white hen. These days offerings of only hen and eggs are made. For the rituals the things required are: 30 hen, 30 eggs, 2 duck eggs, Xajpani, Aroi chaul (a type of rice), mustard oil, ginger, salt, Black gram, Akhoi (a kind of puffed rice), Kesa mithoi, Ukhua kesa kol, poka kol (ripe banana), kuhiar (sugarcane), bora bhat (sticky rice), thoka tamul (betel nuts) and earthen lamps etc.

The Dam Phi tradition is also observed at the family level by the Ahom community. Na-Purushor hokaam or Mritokor hokaam as it is widely known is done by the family members every year during kati month when they offer the first meal after the harvest of the Ahu rice to them. Grihadam, the ancestor God upto the fourth generation of a family, is worshipped in this Dam-Phi or Na-khua tradition. Five gods are worshipped excluding Chit-Lam-Cham and Mut-kum-tai-kum when the worship is done by the extended family. However, the worship is sometimes restricted to only Lengdon, Zasingfa and Ai-Leng-Din when conducted by a family. During Magh bihu and Rongali bihu, as well as other important occasions Mritokor hokaam is performed.

Offerings to Dam Phi.
Source: Self

Most Ahom households establish a damkhuta on the opposite side of the kitchen to worship the dead. Whenever during any special occasion na-purushor hokaam is arranged, the ancestors are worshipped by offering xajpani and various other delicacies, including meat and fish in an elaborate ritualistic affair.

Chale nerakhe, bere nerakhe

Nerakhe tridasar deo

Ghar deo e nerakhile rakhuta e aru keo

This hymn in Assamese means “neither the roof nor the walls nor the gods in heaven can protect the family, if not protected by their ancestors. ” The love and respect which is the basis of any happy and successful family is duly offered to the family members even after death by the Ahoms. Me-Dam-Me-Phi is just a day for the entire community to come together bonded by brotherhood, and express love and gratitude to their ancestors and seek their blessings.

Popular Hindu Temples to visit in Guwahati

The ongoing pandemic and the lockdown has brought life to a standstill. Here in Assam too there has been several phases of lockdown and unlock from time to time keeping in view the active cases of COVID-19 positive cases. All religious institutions were requested to close down. But unlock phases did allow them to open at times with minimum entry so as to avoid any community transfer. Devotees are looking forward with earnest to pay a visit to the temples of their faith and offer prayers. Post 15th August the lockdown will undergo several relaxation and we can’t wait enough.

Guwahati city in Assam is known as the city of temples. The city witnesses the footfalls of many devotees and pilgrims all the year round. There are many temples, both big and small, in and around the city. In this post I would like to mention a few most popular temples among the locals as well as tourists.

1. Maa Kamakhya Temple

Maa Kamakhya temple

Situated atop the Neelachal hills in the city of Guwahati is the most visited Hindu temple, the Kamakhya temple. Devotees, mainly from the Shakti cult, from around the country visit this temple to offer prayers to Maa Kamakhya. The Ambubachi mela and Durga puja are celebrated every year here in the temple premises which witness the most number of devotees and pilgrims.

This year, however, the Ambubachi mela didn’t see any kind of gathering except for the ceremonial rituals performed by the priests.

Maligaon Railway Station is the nearest station, from where you can take a cab, or bus, or trekker to the temple.

2. Umananda Temple

The gate to Umananda temple
Source: trawell.in

Umananda temple is located in an island off the river Brahmaputra. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by the Ahom king Gadadhar Singha in 1694. This island known as the Peacock island is the smallest inhabited riverine island in the world. Shiva Chaturdashi is the most colourful festival held here on an annual basis.

Ferry and steamer services to this island are available from Sukleshwar ghat or Fancy Bazar ghat for hire. One can also board the Inland Water Transport ferry services from Uzan Bazar ghat which costs you around Rs. 20 per person.

3. Ugratora Temple

Ugratora devalaya
Source: TripAdvisor.in

Ugratora devalaya or temple is located at the heart of the city of Guwahati, and on the western side of Jor pukhuri . Dedicated to the first partner of Lord Shiva, Sati Devi the temple is an important Shakti temple built by the Ahom king Shiva Singha in the year 1725.

There is no idol in this temple but a ditch of water which is considered to be the great form of Goddess Ugratora. Devotees offer prayers and sacrifices to show their devotion and thereby seek the blessings of the Goddess. The best time to visit this temple would be around Durga puja when in fact, the entire city lightens up with festivities.

4. Nabagraha Temple

Nabagraha temple
Source: tripinvites.com

Located atop the Chitrasal hill the Nabagraha temple was built by the Ahom king Rajeshwar Singha in the late 18th century. Nine Shivalingams representing the nine celestial bodies are enshrined in this temple and each of them is covered with a coloured garment symbolic of that particular celestial bodies namely Surya, Chandra, Mangala, Budha, Brihaspati, Sukra, Shani, Rahu and Ketu. In the centre is a Shivalingam symbolizing the Sun.

The temple is known to be the only temple performing grihapujan. The temple is also a research centre of both Astronomy and Astrology.

5. Basistha Temple

Basistha temple
Source: travelspeak.in

Basistha temple, a Shiva Temple is located on the outskirts of Garbhanga Reserve Forest , about 10-12 kms from Guwahati city. This was originally an ashram, home to the famous sage Vashistha. This site has evidence of a stone temple which was later remade with bricks by the Ahom king Rajeshwar Singha in the mid 18th century.

The temple in the ashram stands on the bank of the mountain streams originating from the hills of Meghalaya which becomes the river Basistha and Bharalu flowing through the city.

6. Balaji Temple

Balaji temple
Source: trawell.in

Purva Tirupati Balaji temple is located at Ahom gaon just next to the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT). So needless to say it has really easy access from all the north-eastern States. Moreover Guwahati Railway station is just 9 kms away from the temple.

This temple built in 1998 was dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. The white coloured temple is built in the similar architectural style of the South Indian temples, and is considered to be a replica of the original Tirupati Balaji temple. The temple has a Rajagopuram (70 feet in height), a Maha Mandapam, an Ardha Mandapam and the Sanctorum.

7. Doul Gobinda Temple

Doul Govinda temple
Source: incredibleindia.org

Located on the foothills of Chandrabati hills in North Guwahati, this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. Every year around Holi this temple witnesses the largest footfalls of tourists. Lord Krishna’s birthday Janmashtami is also celebrated here.

The fastest way to reach is by boarding a ferry from Fancy Bazar ghat to Rajaduar from where it’s a five minutes walk. Trekkers are also available to the temple via the Saraighat bridge. The best time to visit is from November to April when one can enjoy a river cruise and walk on the white sands of river Brahmaputra.

Cab Services in Guwahati

Local Cab services as well as Uber and Ola are available in the city which can give you a tour of most of these temples on a single day provided you wish to cover them all in a day. Different packages are available for booking a cab, details of which are available on their respective apps. Post lockdown several safety measures have been adopted by the cab companies, restricting capacity to 50% to maintain social distancing among other measures. Personal and car hygiene are maintained by the drivers promising you a safe and comfortable ride.

The alternate means of transport to these temples once you have reached Guwahati is to either board the city bus services, or ride an auto or trekker if available on that particular route.

8 Indigenous medicinal plants of Assam for good Health and Immunity

Assam situated on the northeast of India is a state rich in flora and fauna. There are a different varieties of vegetables and herbs found in abundance here mainly because of the climatic conditions. These proves effective in the treatment of different diseases and ailments according to research. In fact natives here consume these not only for their medicinal properties but also as seasonal vegetables. Here’s a list of 8 most popular indigenous medicinal plants good for health and immunity.

1. Manimuni or Indian pennywort : This plant is native to the wetlands in Asia and is found in abundance in Assam. Its scientific name is Centella Asiatica and grows in gardens or damp uncultivated areas.

Manimuni, as we call it in Assamese, has many health benefits but the one which we widely believe is that it helps cure dysentery when consumed raw after pound crushing, especially the juice.

Pennywort or manimuni
Pennywort or manimuni

Apart from this manimuni has other health benefits too. It helps improve memory and is best taken early morning by extracting the juice. Mix it with a little honey or salt according to your taste. It is a blood purifier and helps relieve menstrual pain, it heals wounds, is effective in hair growth, promotes flow of urine and is helpful in Gonorrhea too. It is generally consumed raw like chutney or after extracting the juice.

2. Dupor bon tenga or Goethe plant : Bryophyllum Pinnatum is the scientific name of the Goethe plant which is a succulent. Its Assamese name is dupor bon tenga. This plant has great medicinal values for which it is also called the miracle leaf or leaf of life.

Dupor tenga is believed to be greatly effective in treating kidney stones. Consumption of 4-5 raw leaves with a glass of water first thing in the morning for about 2 months proves effective.

Dupor bon or Goethe plant
Dupor bon or Goethe plant
Source: bangaloreagrico.in

Bryophyllum Pinnatum is used in ethno medicine for treatment of earache, burns, abscesses, ulcers, insect bites, diarrhea and Lithiasis. The paste of this plant if applied on the head kills lice and is also effective in healing piles when applied on affected areas. The miracle leaf also prevents gastric ulcers, increases urination and lowers cholesterol.

3. Doron bon or Leucas : The scientific name of this plant is Leucas aspera and is commonly used as an insecticide. In Assamese we call it Doron bon. This plant is also used as an edible vegetable and herbal remedy as well. In many parts of India people plant this weed in front of their homes to repel snakes and other venomous animals. It is, in fact, most commonly used in the treatment of snakebites.

Duron bon or Leucas plant
Duron bon or Leucas plant
Source: thehindu.com

The flowers of this plant are administered in the form of a syrup as a domestic remedy for cough and cold, and for the treatment of intestinal worm infections in children. It is a valuable homeopathic drug and used in the treatment of chronic malaria and asthma. The juice extracted from the leaves cures skin problems since it is antibacterial. It also strengthens the liver and the lungs. Sinusitis, pharyngitis, decay of tooth, loss of appetite, headache, body ache, influenza are some other medical conditions which may be cured by the use of this plant.

4. Jilmil saak or White goosefoot : The scientific name of this plant is Chenopodium album and is consumed as a leafy vegetable. Jilmil saak, as we call it in Assamese, has a high level of oxalic acid for which it should be eaten in moderation. Its seeds are high in Protein, Vitamin A, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Jilmil or White goosefoot plant
Jilmil or White goosefoot plant
Source: world-crops.com

This plant helps increase haemoglobin levels in the body, and helps cure constipation, arthritis, rheumatism, enlargement of the spleen and bile related diseases.

5. Tengesi tenga or Indian sorrel : Also known as creeping wood sorrel it’s scientific name is Oxalis corniculata. Tengesi tenga is rich in Vitamin C and the leaves have a tangy taste.

Tengesi or Indian sorrel plant
Tengesi or Indian sorrel plant
Source: theayurveda.org

The paste of the leaves cures eczema and soothes painful insect bites. It also improves memory and strengthens the nervous system. It is helpful for the cure of lower back pain, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, diabetes, dysentery, fever, headache and loss of appetite.

6. Brahmi saak or Water hyssop : The scientific name of this plant is Bacopa Monnieri and is native to the wetlands of eastern and southern India. The plant is bitter in taste but with great medicinal properties. This plant is used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine to improve memory and treat various ailments. Preliminary clinical research found that Bacopa Monnieri may improve cognition. If taken for a long term it helps in improving concentration level and attention span.

Brahmi plant
Brahmi plant
Source: indiamart.com

The high anti-oxidant content in the plant helps reduce depression and anxiety. Because of this property it also lowers the risk of diabetes. It can also stabilize asthma and improve liver health. Bacopa Monnieri is currently being studied for its possible neuroprotective properties.

7. Musondori saak or Himalayan spinach : Hottuynia cordata is the scientific name of this plant which is a perennial ground creeper. In Assam it is consumed as a leafy vegetable also or used as a herb for the cure of certain ailments.

Musondori or Chameleon plant
Musondori or Chameleon plant
Source: southernliving.com

This plant is very useful in the treatment of stomach related problems and particularly very effective for curing dysentery. In countries like Japan and Korea the dried leaves of this plant is used to make tea because of its detoxifying properties. It increases blood in the body, prevents heart diseases and strengthens muscles.

8. Mati Kanduri or Dwarf copperleaf : This is an aquatic plant and its scientific name is Alternanthera sessilis. As a herbal medicine the plant has diuretic, cooling, tonic and laxative properties. Its stem and leaves are normally consumed as vegetables here in Assam.

Mati kanduri or dwarf copperleaf plant
Mati kanduri or dwarf copperleaf plant
Source: gramho.com

The juice of the leaves increases milk production and hence is good for lactating mothers, it increases milk production in cows also. It helps in skin related diseases like leprosy and minor itching. It is very beneficial for treating loose bowels, helpful in curing night blindness and fever.

These plants mentioned above are native not only to Assam but certain other places too. The manner in which they are consumed however differs from places to places. In Assam these are consumed as vegetables on quite a regular basis. Some go as accompaniments with fish as curry, or consumed raw as chutneys and salad dressings, some as juice after extraction. For common ailments like dysentery, stomach pain, cuts and bruises, cough and cold these plants tend to be very effective too and form an integral part of Ayurvedic traditional medicine.

Read: 10 Commonly Available Immunity booster Herbs and Plants