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

Rongali Bihu: The Advent

Bohaag mathu eti ritu nohoi

Nohoi Bohaag eti maah

Axomiya jaatir e ayukh rekha

Gonojiyonor e xakh

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika

Bohaag Bihu, the Assamese New Year is the most important festival of Assam. It would be unfair to call it merely a festival because Bihu, in reality, is the thread which binds the people here irrespective of any community, religion or language. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was a poet of the people and his songs reflect the Assamese life in its core. In this song he clearly expresses the emotions that we as Assamese hold in our heart for Bihu. Bohaag is not a season or a month for us, it is our lifeline, the inspiration for our social life.

Kopou phool ( Foxtail Orchid)
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Bohaag is the melodious singing of the Cuckoo ushering in a season of greenery. Bohaag is the raw smell of the tilled land as we get ready for another season of cultivation. Bohaag is the mesmerising sound of the pepa and Dhol which echoes in every nook and corner. Bohaag is the fragrance of the kopou and togor that adorns the hair of a young Bihu dancer. Bohaag is the aroma that fills every kitchen preparing the tasty pithas. Bohaag is the sound of the loom getting busy weaving gamucha (bihuan) .

In Assam the preparations for Bohaag Bihu starts many days ahead of the actual festival. Women gets busy weaving gamucha and mekhela sador in their looms. Gifting gamuchas to the elderly during Bihu has been a tradition here and when it’s woven rather than bought the value increases.

Gamucha in the handloom
Source: thenortheastwindow.com

Gamucha is also used to cover the altar at the prayer hall and the scriptures too. Usually every Bohaag Bihu this is replaced by a new one when family members offer prayers in their prayer halls. Gamucha is the pride of the Assamese people.

Another very important activity is preparation of the pithas or rice cakes and jolpaan. Nowadays everything is readily available in the market but many prepare these at home. Women in the villages use to get together and prepare the chira, hurum, akhoi, hando jolpaan first by grinding in the dheki and then roasting in the fire. Variety of pithas are prepared a few days ahead which includes til pitha, ghila pitha, anguli pitha, tekeli pitha etc. Every kitchen turns into a mini factory before and during the Bihu.

A very popular bihu song by Krishnamoni Nath aptly relates this activity. In this song he teases his beloved to treat him to jolpaan when he comes to her home for husori.

Dheki de dheki de o mure lahori

Dhekire sabote kopai tul suburi

Handoh pithaguri, aru tho sira bhaji

Husori gabo ahim jotonai dibi

Krishnamoni Nath
Bihu pitha and jolpaan
Source: indraniskitchenflavours.com

The entire month of Bohaag is celebrated as Bihu but there are certain traditions which are followed during the two days – goru Bihu and manuh Bihu. Manuh Bihu is the first day of the Assamese New Year and Goru Bihu is the last day of the previous year.

Goru Bihu

On Goru Bihu, the cows are worshipped because Assam being an agrarian State cows in particular and cattles in general are of utmost importance. The cows are gathered early morning and led to a pond or river where they are given a ceremonial bath with turmeric and black gram paste, and vegetables are offered to eat. They are whipped with Makhiloti and Dighloti leaves to keep insects and mosquitoes away. In the evening they are tied with new harnesses, dighloti leaves are burnt along with rice bran to ward off evil in the form of sickness and salted pithas are fed. While bathing the cows the farmers sing a song thereby invoking the divine blessings to bestow good health to their cows.

Dighloti dighol paat

Maakhi maru jaat jaat

Lau kha bengena kha

Bosore bosore barhi ja

Mar xoru baper horu

Toi hobi Bor goru

The goru Bihu special traditions
Source: Runjun Konwar Gogoi

Koni juj is another popular tradition where family members engage in a friendly match of eggs. One person holds an egg in his palm and another hits it with his, the person whose egg breaks first loses. This is in totality a fun tradition. The broken eggs are later cooked with either amlori tup (weaver ants) or scrambled to be eaten along with poita bhaat ( leftover rice). After a hearty exotic meal most people visit the Naamghar and engage in naam praxanga thereby offering prayers in thanksgiving as well as to welcome the new year.

In the evening 101 variety of vegetables are cooked which is believed to keep away illness. 101 haak as we call it, not necessarily includes 101 variety but as many as can be collected. This includes some with very good medicinal values for which the prevalent belief among people. This mixed vegetables delicacy tastes so good inspite of being a weird mixture of sour, bitter, sweet and a lot of other flavours.

The festivities of Bohaag Bihu continue throughout the month although the main traditions are performed during the first two days. There are a lot of related rituals, activities and traditions which will leave you mesmerised. In this post I have included the preparations leading to Bihu and goru Bihu tradition. A lot more other details and manuh Bihu traditions will be included in the next post.

The Na-Khua tradition – Thanksgiving in Assamese culture

O mur dharitri ai,

soronote diba thai

Khetiokor nistar nai,

mati bin oxohai

Doya kora doyaxila ai

……..

……..

Mati ke xaboti dhori

Mati ke sarothi kori

Matir bukut sunit dhalu

Jironi pahori

Dhoritri ai mur

Amak tumi neriba

Tumar seneh bine ai

Ami nirupai

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika

Assam is mainly an agriculture based economy and the farmers consider this land as their mother, the one who nurtures them. They forget all pain and toil incessantly to nurture the land which is their only source of livelihood. They pray to her to keep blessing them with good crop every year and thus nurture them. In the above song composed by our very own Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, this plight of the farmers is highlighted.

Since agriculture is the main source of livelihood in Assam so naturally a good crop is the reward for all farmers. And as thanksgiving to Mother Nature the Na- khua festival is organised. It is a lesser known tradition in Assam followed religiously by a few ethnic communities and a certain section of the society. It is like a community feast organised to celebrate the first meal of the fresh new harvest. The winter crop starts coming in by the month of Aghun ( mid-November to mid-December) according to the Assamese calendar and Na- khua is organised in this month.

A traditional Assamese platter
Source: Kaberi Gogoi Deka

Na-khua is a combination of two Assamese words, Na means new and khua means the act of eating. This is an extensive meal prepared in the traditional way with local ingredients from the local markets. Sometimes these ingredients are home grown in our own little farms. There’s a lot to learn and taste in such community feasts and is a good opportunity for those who would like to learn about Assamese food. The best part is that these dishes are cooked in firewood which gives a different flavour to the dish.

The dishes prepared in Na-khua are very elaborate and so I thought it better to discuss about the same with someone who has good knowledge of it. I got in contact with a home chef based in Guwahati, Kaberi Gogoi Deka who is very passionate about cooking and has won quite a few cooking competitions here in Guwahati. Her food related posts in social media are very interesting. She cooks the perfect pithas ( rice cakes) and has in depth knowledge of Assamese cuisine. She told me that Na- khua is actually synonymous with a few signature dishes like Haah manxho kumura ( duck with ash gourd), mati mah kath alu ( black gram and yam) , bora saul tora patot diya ( sticky rice wrapped in tora leaf) etc. These, in fact, are compulsory cooks apart from a variety of other dishes which may vary. Other typical ethnic dishes include gahori manxho khorikat diya ( pork barbecue), borolia maas khorikat diya ( fish barbecue), lai xaak bhaji ( mustard green), alu bilahi pitika ( mashed potato and baby tomato) and the list goes on.

Sticky rice wrapped in Tora leaf
Source: Kaberi Gogoi Deka

Na-khua, however, is organised in a different manner at my in- law’s place which was very novel to me. I witnessed a proper Na-khua ceremony of the Deodhai class of the Ahom community with elaborate rituals after my marriage. Na-khua is also called Mritokor hokaam by them because the food is first offered to the ancestors (grihadam) with full rituals as a kind of Thanksgiving to them. Xajpani is the most important requirement for every occasion in the Ahom Deodhai community. So about two weeks ahead of the set date ( in the month of Aghun) the mixture for xajpani is prepared and kept aside for fermentation. Another requirement for the ceremony is red hens which are also offered to the ancestors. The number of hens depended on the number of expired members of the family. A special kind of plate was made from bamboo for offering the food which is called the mehenga.

The food for the offering is prepared in the kitchen and it is very unique. The compulsory dishes are : bhapot diya bora saul ( steamed sticky rice), mati mah kath alu ( black gram and yam), gahori laixaak ( pork with mustard greens), ou-tenga borali maas ( a fish variety with elephant apple), goroi maas pura ( a variety of fish roasted over fire), kukura pura ( chicken roasted over fire) and our indispensable Xajpani.

The offering for ancestors on Na-khua

The Deodhai purohits perform the rituals uttering prayers in Tai language. They invoke the ancestors, express gratitude and seek blessings on behalf of all the family members. After the rituals a part of the offering is handed to the family members for them to share and eat. It is only after the rituals are over that the purohits and other guests present sit down for the meal. Xajpani is also served to everyone present. Along with all the dishes already mentioned there are few others which are very popular like haah kumura ( duck with ash gourd), masor petu (fish intestines), kukura petu ( chicken intestines), haah petu ( duck intestines), kol posola ( banana shoot).

Na-khua basically is a fun tradition but certain ethnic communities do have set rules or rituals. It is all about eating a hearty meal after the toil at the agricultural fields bear fruit and farmers are blessed with a good crop.

Maha Shivratri and Shivdol of Heritage Sivasagar

Shivdol
Source: templepurohit.com

Shivdol is a group of structures on the banks of the Sivasagar tank, also known as Borpukhuri, in Sivasagar, Assam. It comprises of three different temples namely Shivdol meaning temple of Lord Shiva, Vishnudol meaning temple of Lord Vishnu and Devidol meaning temple of Goddess Durga. Lord Shiva along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma form the holy trinity (trimurti) of Hinduism. Lord Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the Universe, with the goal of recreating it.

Located in the heart of the city of Sivasagar the Shivdol is a popular destination for pilgrims. Tourists and pilgrims come from around the country to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. The temple stands tall at 104 feet high and is said to be the tallest Shiva temple in North East India. Situated at the topmost part of the temple is a golden dome called Kolosi which is seven feet tall.

Mahashivratri meaning the great night of Shiva is the most important festival celebrated here on the new moon day in the month of Magha according to the Hindu calendar. The origin of this festival is not very clear and there are different versions. Some believe it to be the marriage consummation of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati. According to another belief Shivratri is celebrated as the day when Lord Shiva saved the world from the pot of poison that emerged from the ocean during Samudra Manthan. Devotees visit the temples and offer milk, fruits, flowers, fresh leaves and sweets to the shrine. Ardent devotees also remain awake throughout the night and engage in chanting prayers, or meditating. Some also keep fast to please Lord Shiva and receive his blessings.

Sadhus on the occasion of Mahashivratri at Shivdol
Source : Swarnav Borgohain

A special prasad made on the occasion of Mahashivratri is the bhang laddo or bhang lassi which is an edible preparation of cannabis. This is basically a cannabis infused sweet or drink and is the highlight of the festival. Bhang is said to be Lord Shiva’s favourite food. After having spent one night sleeping under this plant’s leaves, he ate it in the morning and feels refreshed. It is widely believed that since then Bhang became his favourite food.

Shivratri in Sivasagar is said to have been celebrated since the construction of the Shivdol by Queen Ambika, second wife of Swargadeo Siva Singha in 1731. Every year during Mahashivratri a huge mela or fair is organised over a few days and pilgrims and tourists alike visit from far and wide to offer their prayers as well as take part in the celebrations. This coming year Mahashivratri falls on February 21st, 2020 and as usual festivities and fairs are expected to be arranged for the occasion. The brightly illuminated temple standing on the banks of the Borpukhuri ( Sivasagar tank) is the most pleasant sight to see at night, with people bustling around the fair surrounding the temple walls on all sides.

Night view of Shivdol with the Sivasagar lake
Source: flickr.com

Sivasagar is a place of rich cultural heritage and great historic importance in Assam as it was the capital of the Ahom kingdom who ruled Assam for glorious six hundred years. It was earlier known as Rangpur and got its current name after its then ruler Swargadeo Shiva Singha. Sivasagar is home to some the most amazing historical monuments in Assam built during the Ahom rule. These include Ranghar, Talatal ghar, Kareng ghar which in a way boasts of the glorious Ahom reign.

In my earlier post on Talatal ghar, I have mentioned in details how to get to Sivasagar and other related information. There is a lot to visit and explore in this historic place called Sivasagar when it comes to history, architecture and culture which would definitely leave you enriched.

Magh Bihu – Harvest Festival of Assam

Buffalo fight on the occasion of Magh Bihu
Source: asianage.com

Magh Bihu is known as the harvest festival of Assam. It is celebrated in the month of Magha marking the end of the harvest season in Assam. It falls around mid- January and is a time of abundance which we celebrate with lot of festivities and feasting. Hence this Bihu is also called Bhogali Bihu derived from the word Bhog meaning eating and enjoying.

My reminiscence of Bhogali Bihu goes back to the days when we spent the Bihu eve beside the fire till midnight guarding our kitchen garden which my father nurtured with great care. My father used to grow vegetables in the little piece of land he had which mainly included potato and black gram ( mati mah ). Apart from these he also planted cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, bottle gourd, baby tomato, parsley, etc. in very small quantities. So it was naturally our duty to protect it from the local youngsters during the Uruka night which is the Bihu eve.

For those who might be wondering why we need to guard our kitchen garden on Bihu eve. Well, in Assam it’s like a tradition during Uruka night of Bhogali Bihu to steal from the neighbourhood gardens and farms. The more logical explanation of this tradition is that in villages the cowherd used to spend the entire Uruka night guarding the harvest in the granary and also the Meji built for the early morning of the Bihu. January in Assam is cold and to keep themselves warm the cowherd used to steal wood and bamboo from their neighbour’s field to light a fire. They also stole vegetables to satisfy their hunger throughout the night. This is more like a fun tradition and was an open secret for both parties involved. There were no fights later on for the theft done.

A simple bhelaghor. Source: reddit.com

These festivities and traditions were not restricted to the villages only but also celebrated with much enthusiasm in the towns and cities of Assam as well. I grew up in the small town of Dibrugarh and just like the cowherd guarding their granary in the villages, we guarded our small kitchen gardens.

Bhogali Bihu starts on the Uruka night when a community feast is organised in villages and towns alike to celebrate the end of the harvest season. People get together and contribute to arrange for the grand feast, the highlight being the new harvest of rice and of course our very own Xajpani in some cases, the impotance of which I have described in detail if you follow the link given. Men, women and children all help with preparation for the feast. We sing, dance and enjoy to our heart’s content rejoicing at the good harvest we are bestowed with God’s grace. Bhogali means feasting and merriment and we live up to its name.

A Bhelaghor is a makeshift hut made with the haystack of the harvest fields for the Uruka. It is here that the cowherd spend their night and eat their feast. In the earlier days this hut was made in as simple a way as possible. But with time the artistic minds of people have taken the art of making bhelaghor to the next level.

Modern day Bhelaghor
Source: hindustantimes.com

A Meji is a massive bonfire made of wood, bamboo and haystack for the morning of the main Bihu day. We get up early in the morning, take our bath and offer our prayers by lighting this Meji. We also offer pitha or rice cakes, betel nut to the sacred fire in thanksgivings. Some also offer Mah-karai, a special mixture of roasted rice and black gram to the fire which is considered auspicious too. This mixture is later also eaten by the people along with other delicacies like a variety of pitha, jolpaan etc. The makeshift bhelaghor is also burnt down along with the meji.

Our society Meji in Guwahati

The Bhogali festivities continue for a few days with family and friends visiting each other. A variety of pitha or rice cakes are made by the ladies to treat their guests. A traditional way to treat guests is to serve xurum, xando or sira Jolpaan with curd and gud ( jaggery). Pithas included til pitha, tel pitha, steamed pitha, til ladu, coconut ladu etc. served with xajpani. Sometimes the ladies get together as a community and prepare them on the Uruka night.

Assamese jolpaan and pitha served during Bihu. Source: nenow.in

Buffalo fight is another important aspect of the Magh Bihu festival. Such fights are still organised in some parts of the State and people in large numbers gather to witness these iconic fights. However, with the risk involved there has been a gradual decrease in such fights. This one time I was travelling to my hometown for Magh Bihu I happened to witness a buffalo fight somewhere in Nagaon, Assam. The dust in the air, the massive crowd hinted at the majesticity of the event.

Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu is considered the second most important festival in Assam after the Rongali Bihu or Bohaag Bihu. In a state where agriculture is the main source of livelihood, where a majority of the population rely on farming the Bhogali Bihu holds a very special place in our hearts. The sweat and tears of the farmers bear fruit and this calls for nothing but celebration.

Choklong – The Ahom Wedding Rituals & Dress

Marriages are made in heaven but solemnized on Earth

This is a popular saying on the institution of marriage and sounds cliche. But trust me, the customs, ceremonies, and rituals involved in a marriage are so varied, yet grand and beautiful that the institution itself cannot be cliche. An Assamese marriage ceremony is different for every ethnic community in Assam and each has its own intricate ritualistic affair.

Choklong is the unique marriage ceremony of the Tai-Ahom community of Assam. Choklong is the marriage ceremony performed in the divine presence of the Gods by lighting 101 earthen lamps.

The Maral with 101 earthen lamps distinctive of a Choklong marriage ceremony.
The Maral with 101 earthen lamps distinctive of a Choklong marriage ceremony.

In the ancient days, the Choklong marriage ceremony was a nine-day long ritualistic affair. But nowadays it has been reduced to three days namely Juron diya, Murot tel diya, and the main day Choklong ceremony. The Ahom priestly classes, i.e., Deodhai, Mohan and Bailung perform all the religious ceremonies of the community which included the marriage ceremonies as well. They had full knowledge of the Choklong system of marriage and therefore full authority too.

The most important aspect of a Choklong marriage is the lighting of the 101 earthen lamps. On the day of the marriage an altar is prepared which is called the Maral. It is basically an extensive rangoli decorated with 101 earthen lamps. In the rangoli pattern, 16 small earthen lamps are arranged in 6 concentric circles, and 4 medium earthen lamps are placed in the innermost circle. In the centre a large earthen lamp is placed. Another important part of the Choklong marriage is the Hengdang which is a single-edged sword with a long handle. The Hengdang is offered by the bride to the bridegroom which has a lot of symbolism. By accepting the Hengdang the groom is basically promising to protect his bride lifelong and look after the family. In the ancient days, the groom accepting the Hengdang meant that he would defend his country against enemies and thereby protect the nation.

Hengdang the sword of Ahoms
The Hengdang
Source – ancientpages.com

The Wedding Dress

The wedding apparel of the bride and groom in a Choklong marriage is so royal and elegant that it adds to the grandeur of the ceremony. The groom wears a kurta and dhoti with a turban on his head. A traditional cheleng sador is wrapped around the groom’s kurta. All these are made of our very own Muga silk, sometimes paat silk also. The bride wears a mekhela, reeha, full sleeved shirt like blouse, and a muga headgear. With time, however, the traditional mekhela sador is widely worn by the bride with the headgear.

Learn more about Assamese wedding dress in The Silk Tales – Assam Traditional Silk.

Every girl, at some point in her life, fantasises about her marriage even if for a second. She wants to look the best on her wedding day and fantasises her wedding dress, the jewelry, the sets, customs and rituals as well. I was no exception to this. In fact, from the day I learned about the royal Ahom Choklong marriage ceremony, I was very sure I am going to have one. My favorite part of the ceremony was the offering of the Hengdang to the groom by the bride. For me, it seemed larger than life event with the groom dressed in traditional Muga kurta and dhoti along with a muga turban. I was mesmerised by the thought of the groom promising to protect the bride from all evil with the Hengdang in his hands.

Ahom bride and groom in their wedding apparel of muga silk
Ahom bride and groom in their wedding apparel
Source: https://instagram.com/frozenframeproduction?igshid=sj5401s2q2on

The Wedding Rituals

An Assamese marriage these days is traditional with its unique customs and rituals, but also with a touch of modernity as far as the attire, extensive sets and glamour are concerned. It is an amalgamation of both. Ceremonies and rituals start many days ahead of the actual wedding day. In my previous post on Xajpani I had mentioned about Na purushor hokaam. This is the first ritual in any Assamese marriage which takes a few days prior to the marriage. The name, however, may vary according to different communities.

The ceremony starts with the Juron diya. The family of the groom brings gifts for the bride which includes her wedding trousseau, along with gold and traditional Assamese jewelry, cosmetics, ceremonial maah halodhi to be applied by the bride on her wedding day. There are many other things brought along with these. These are brought in two earthen pots, one with gifts for the bride,another with maah halodhi. The bride takes out a portion of the maah halodhi and leaves some for the groom in the same pot which is later carried back to the groom. Juron is given by the groom’s mother and other female relatives and basically is an all-female ceremony. The bride later changes her attire to the ones gifted by the groom’s family and seeks blessings from the elderly people present in the ceremony.

There’s another ritual called koina or dora nuuwa meaning bathing the bride and groom in a ceremonial way. This is arranged in the respective places of the bride and groom. The maah halodhi kept aside during the Juron ceremony is applied on the body of the bride and groom, and later washed with water. For this a bei is made with bamboo where the bride and groom are made to sit for the ritual. Under this bei is buried one egg, a needle, kasi, beetle nut and a coin. This ritual signifies cleansing the bride and groom of any impurities or evil spirits thereby preparing them for their new life. The water used during this ritual is brought from a nearby river or lake in another very ritualistic manner. The mother along with the ladies of the family and community goes to a nearby water body singing biya naam. This ritual is called pani tola.

Murot tel diya is solemnized on the next day after juron. Biya naam are traditional wedding songs sung during this ritual, and in fact throughout all the ceremonies related to marriage. The bride is applied tel now by her relatives and other female guests. The female guests gathered then asks for xoraai from all the family and relatives by singing biya naam. The xoraai basically consists of tamul-paan, gamucha, money, sweets etc. given to the ladies which is an expression of happiness and thanksgiving. This is more like a fun ceremony.

An Assamese Choklong marriage is an elaborate affair, a larger than life affair as all other Assamese marriages are. One cannot but be awe- inspired to witness such a marriage. It is all about customs and rituals. But with modernisation there has been some positive changes too which, however, have not affected the rituals. Videographers, photographers, make-up artists, dress designers, jewellery designers are involved nowadays to make a marriage more memorable. In Assam we have a talented bunch of such artists who gave given a whole new look to our traditional marriage ceremonies and taken it to another level. So if you ever get an invite to attend a Choklong marriage or any other Assamese marriage, do not miss the opportunity. You would be more than happy to be a part of an Assamese marriage.

 

 

Rang Ghar front view

Ranghar – The Tai-Ahom Heritage Monument

Sahityarathi Laxminath Bezbaruah had composed this beautiful song back in the days when Assam was not economically sound. But the poet firmly believed that we, the Assamese, can never be poor.

Ami Asomiya, nohou dukhiya

Kihor dukhiya hom?

Hokolu asil, hokolu ase

Nubuju nolou gham.

Sankare dile bishudh dharam,

Lachite baahut bol

Sati Joymotir satitwa tezere

Asomi aai probol.

Bajok doba, bajok sankha

Bajok mridang khul.

Asom akou unnatir pothot

‘Jai Aai Asom’ bul.

Yes, Assam has a very rich cultural heritage which is much precious to every Assamese. The language, literature, religion, custom, tradition, values which have been passed down from our ancestors is what makes us rich. Economically we are gradually growing too, but socially and culturally we never were and never will be poor.

Historic Sivasagar bears testimony to this rich cultural heritage of Assam in general, and Tai- Ahom cultural legacy in particular. And standing tall is the Ranghar, one of the earliest pavilions of outdoor stadia in the Indian sub-continent.

Ranghar

Ranghar was first constructed during the reign of Swargadeo Rudrasingha with bamboo and wood. It was later re- built with brick by Swargadeo Pramatta Singha in AD 1744 – 1750.

Ahom kings and nobles watched various activities like buffalo fights and other sports mainly during the Rongali Bihu festival from this amphitheatre. They would sit all high and mighty enjoying the fun down at rupohi pathar. Ranghar, in my opinion, therefore became more like a symbol of power and majesty of the Tai Ahom royalty.

Keeping with this tradition Ranghar comes to life once a year during Rongali bihu. Day long cultural programmes are held and people come from far and wide to experience this colourful event.

Ranghar is a popular tourist attraction of Assam. I too have visited Ranghar several times ever since my childhood. But my most memorable visit was the school field trip to Sivasagar when we were in 7th standard. Our school used to organise trips for students every year for all the classes. The lower classes were not taken to trips but allowed to picnic in school campus. But, if I remember correctly, from 5th standard onwards students were taken on day long short trips.

beautiful ranghar and its surroundings
Beautiful Ranghar and its surroundings

Source – commons.wikimedia.org

I loved these trips but at the same time was always nervous because I suffered from motion sickness. I knew very well that such bus trips would make me sick and I could barely enjoy. But I always ended up signing for these trips for the mere joy of going together with friends. Planning started several days ahead of the actual trip on the lunch menu, games to play and other stuff. Playlists of songs were finalised to be played on the Walkman. Breakfast was provided by school but we had to carry our own lunch boxes. This planning was the real exciting part of the entire trip.

In school ours was a crazy group of seven friends and we called ourselves Rainbow group. Back in those days to own a camera was a luxury and only a few of us could afford it. I don’t quite remember who among us carried a camera but we did manage to take a few pictures. And I am very sure most of my school buddies still cherish those beautiful moments and pictures as well.

Me and my child Nevaan in front of Rang Ghar
Me and Nevaan in front of Rang Ghar

This year, in the month of April, I revisited this historic monument to create memories with my 3 months young baby. As we were travelling for the first time with our baby from Guwahati to Ledo, a distance of 522.9 kms, we decided to take a break at Sivasagar for a night. It was an exhausting journey with a baby and two fur babies. After taking a good rest for the night we went to visit Ranghar, Talatal ghar and Shivdol early next morning. The charm and glory of this town and the historic Ranghar will never fade.

Sivasagar should be a must visit destination in your bucket list. It has much to offer when it comes to historic monuments, and most villages in Sivasagar will give you the real thrill of raw Assamese village life. And trust me Spring is the best time to visit Assam when nature is at its best.

Xaj Pani – The Drink of Assam

What is Xaj Pani?

Xaj Pani is a name known to almost everyone from Assam, a culturally rich state from Northeastern part of India. But for those who have no idea what it is, do read further. Also, if you already know what it is, how about a little revision?

Xaj Pani is Rice Beer made of fermented rice and a mix of rare species of herbs. However, the process and ingredients to make it differ from household to household.

Xaj is known to be the drink of the Ahoms and plays an important role in their socio-cultural lives. But nowadays Xaj is not distinctive of the Ahoms people only. People from other ethnicity and community also relish and even prepare this at their homes irrespective of it being an Ahom dish. Xaj has become more like the “Drink of Assam”.

Xaj Pani offered in a bowl
Xaj Pani – Drink of Assam

Source – assamtribune.com

When and where do you drink Xaj Pani?

Xaj Pani is offered by the Ahom and Deodhai communities to their forefathers to please them and seek their blessings. Special ceremonies are held during childbirth, marriage, and even funeral. These are called Na- Purushor Hokaam or Mritakar Hokaam meaning ceremonial offering to the forefathers. Since Xaj is the main element in these ceremonies, we also call them Xajor Hokaam. It is believed that such rituals ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the family with the blessings of the forefathers.

Apart from these ceremonies, Xaj is also prepared during Bhogali Bihu, the harvest festival, and during Rongali Bihu as well by people of these communities. This is offered as a welcome drink to guests during Bihu along with other varieties of mouth-watering delicacies.

First experience with Xaj Pani

From a personal standpoint, I have been a part of quite a few of these ceremonies, and in my opinion, these ceremonies are very elaborate.

My first experience as I remember was during Na- khua which is basically the meal after the first batch of harvest comes in. Normally during Na-khua, people get together to organize a feast with the fresh harvest of paddy. People arrange such feasts according to their convenience after the harvest is done.

Xajpani offering
Source: Runjun Konwar Gogoi

My experience with Na- khua was a little different. Our Na- khua was organized at home and guests were invited along with Tai Ahom purohits.

Around two weeks prior to the set date, my late father-in-law made arrangements to ferment the rice adding some seeds (unknown to me). He chose the Bara chawoul, a sticky variety of rice, steamed it and added the secret ingredient. He then left the mixture to ferment for a few days. I saw that he added little water after 3 – 4 days without touching the mixture. This I believe is done to keep the mixture moist.

On the day of Na- khua, he strained the mixture at first and then added water to the mixture. The initial liquid obtained is called Rohiand the final product after adding water is called Xaj. We then gave some offerings to our forefathers. Among many other special items/offering made was Xaj. Prayers were offered and rituals were performed, after which the purohits drink Xaj. Only after the rituals were complete, others sat for their feast. Xaj was later served to everyone present.

Why Xaj Pani is so important?

Xaj is one of the most favorite drinks in Assam. It is naturally loaded with a variety of probiotics and has great therapeutic values.

Till now Xaj Pani was a household drink, but very soon this will hit the market as Heritage Alcoholic Beverage. Some reliable official sources say that an MoU has been signed for this purpose between Assam Agriculture University and a private organization giving production rights to the latter. A pilot project has already been initiated to mass-produce Xaj Pani with standardized ingredients and process.

Great! When should I visit Assam to taste this awesome drink?

If you are planning for a trip to Assam, do visit during Rongali Bihu, which falls around mid-April, as it would be the best time to visit and personally witness the rich culture of Assam. People of Assam will always welcome you with open arms and warm hearts.

The scintillating song of the cuckoo, the gorgeous green nature, the reverberation of the traditional Dhol in the distance, the mesmerizingly beautiful dancing muses will make your heart flutter.

The warm hospitality that you will receive here would make you feel at home. And what more than a glass of our heritage Xaj to cheer you up.

Cheers to this unique TASTE OF ASSAM!

Bogibeel Bridge at sunset

Bogibeel Bridge – A Symbol of Hope for a Better Future

Bogibeel Bridge at sunset
Bogibeel Bridge at sunset

This spring I had the pleasure of visiting my hometown Dibrugarh after 13 long months. Spring is very special to us in Assam because with the advent of spring comes Bihu, the Assamese New Year. This Bihu was more special because my 3 months young baby was visiting his paternal as well as maternal grandparents for the first time. I decided to take this opportunity to visit a few tourist destinations with my baby to create memories together. And one destination which was on my list was the recently inaugurated Bogibeel bridge. So while I was at my parents’ place in Dibrugarh I seized the opportunity to take a ride over the bridge.

Bogibeel bridge is built over the mighty river the Brahmaputra and connecting the two major districts of Assam, Dhemaji and Dibrugarh are symbolic of hope for a better future. The other day I came across a poem written by Will Allen Dromgoole, ‘The Bridge Builder’ where an old pilgrim after crossing a river in high tide decides to build a bridge to pave the way for those who have to take that path in the future. His fellow pilgrim was not too positive about this step of his and asked him

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,

“You are wasting your strength with building here;

Your journey will end with the ending day,

You never again will pass this way;

You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide,

Why build this bridge at evening tide?”

The old man, the bridge builder replied

“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said

“There followed after me to-day

A youth whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm which has been as naught to me

To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;

He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;

Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”

The poem promotes the idea of building links for the future and passing the torch along for the next generation. In the same context the Bogibeel bridge has paved the way for progress and prosperity for the people of the region. Heavy flood during monsoon in the region brings life to a standstill, especially the northern bank. Connectivity is lost and assistance becomes next to impossible. The bridge is like a lifeline from this point of view. It is totally upon the people of this region as to how they use this bridge to overcome their obstacles and hardships.

Bogibeel Bridge from an intersecting line and direction perspective

A photographer’s view of Bogibeel Bridge

Bogibeel bridge is a combined road and rail bridge with a length of 4.94 kms. It is situated at a distance of 17 kms from Dibrugarh town. The rail line is double line broad gauge, and the road way is 3 lane. The Bogibeel bridge is the only bridge in India to be built by Steel-Concrete Composite Girders keeping in view the heavy flood in the region. It provides connectivity to nearly five million people residing in upper Assam and neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. The bridge also connects NH 37 and NH 52, and has reduced 705 kms by railroad and 150 kms by roadway to Itanagar. Bogibeel bridge is the 6th bridge over the river Brahmaputra after taking into account the new Saraighat bridge. The construction of the bridge started in 2002 which was finally completed on December 2018. One definite advantage the bridge has given to the people of Dhemaji is easy access to Assam Medical College Hospital located in the Dibrugarh district. Earlier the only way to reach Dibrugarh was to take a ferry across the river which took quite sometime considering the commute time to and from the jetty and the travel time on the ferry. In my opinion, the other advantages for the people of Dhemaji are easy commute to Dibrugarh Airport and Dibrugarh University. Majuli, the largest river island in the world is a popular tourist destination in Assam. The Satras in the island and the geography of the place has attracted many researchers from around the world. Earlier it took around 9 hours to reach Majuli via waterways, which has now been reduced to 4 hours via Bogibeel bridge. In the coming years Bogibeel bridge will definitely help promote commerce, trade and tourism.

Author and her child Nevaan on top of Bogibeel Bridge

Me and Nevaan on top of Bogibeel Bridge

For those willing to be mesmerised by the beauty of the tea gardens, the mountains, the rivers, pack your bag and take a flight to Dibrugarh away from the hustle and bustle of city lives. Hotels, lodges and even homestays are available in Dibrugarh. Uber and Ola rides are not in service here but cabs are available for conveyance. Summer in Assam is sweaty and hot, monsoon is humid and experience heavy rainfall. October to April are the best months to visit Assam when the weather is pleasant and the mood is festive.

Pic credit: Swarnav Borgohain