20 Tourist Attractions you must visit in Assam

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When it comes to tourism in India, much of the talk centres on Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Rajasthan. What about North-East India? True, the North-Eastern region of India comprising of the seven sisters – Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Sikkim – were for a long time ravaged by the scourge of terrorism and separatism. But that phase is thankfully well past us. North-East India is today one of the most peaceful regions in the world. What has not changed is that the region is as full of natural beauty as ever. Urbanization and deforestation that have overtaken such a large part of mainland India has not yet hit the North-East. So, again, why should you visit Assam?

Assam is the biggest and the most important state in the North-East. While it is also more urbanized and better developed than the other states, large parts of Assam are still heavily forested, full of exotic and rare wildlife species. The climate in Assam is cool and pleasant for the most part – as long as you don’t get caught in the rainy season, when it rains like dogs. The people of Assam are warm and friendly, and curious about tourists from the rest of India and abroad, always willing to go the extra yard to offer assistance if you get lost or need help. Assam is multicultural and multireligious and very tolerant of minorities. As a tourist, you’ll feel at home in Assam. So, what do you do when you finally reach Assam? Visit the 20 great places in Assam that we are going to tell you about.

Read on!

1. Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National Park Assam

Photo Credit : Gourab Das (Flickr)

Assam has an amazing biodiversity and a rich topography. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Kaziranga National Park, which lies at the heart of Assam, surrounded by lush green hills, with tributaries of the River Brahmaputra crisscrossing the region and is spread over an incredible 858 sq. kms of area. The Kaziranga National Park is perhaps the premier tourist destination in Assam and is so widely regarded that it has been declared as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO. An amazing range of wildlife can be found here – elephants, tigers, rhinoceros, the Indian bison, deer, sambar, a wide variety of birds and so much more. The best way to get around Kaziranga is by riding an elephant through it. Remember to take your best camera along, especially if you fancy yourself as a wildlife photographer.

2. The River Brahmaputra

The River Brahmaputra flows into Assam from Tibet and divides the state of Assam into two parts. The Brahmaputra is known as the Lord of Rivers and there are excellent reasons for it. In sheer splendor and majesty, no river comes close to the Brahmaputra. It would be a great idea for tourists to go on a cruise trip through the Brahmaputra and watch the rich and diverse land on either side, as they cruise through the middle of Assam. Get your best camera and start clicking away at the wildlife you see on the banks of the Brahmaputra.

3. Zoological Gardens

The Zoological Gardens is located in Guwahati, the biggest city in Assam and is spread across an area of 135 hectares. It is actually a natural forest which is classified officially as a zoo. It has a beautiful botanical garden. In the Zoological Garden, the animals are not trapped in small cages, but have much greater freedom of movement, and are kept as close to their natural habitat as possible, without it being risky for visitors. Your kids will have a field day here identifying all the animals and birds.

4. Agnigarh Hill

The Anigarh Hill is a beautiful hillock that has quite a mythology behind it. It is said that this hill was once a fortress, built by the king of the Asuras (or demons), Banasura, as a prison for his beautiful daughter, Usha, to prevent her from visiting the handsome grandson of Lord Krishna, Anirudha, whom she loved. It is said that an invisible fire surrounded the hill, which engulfed anyone who tried to get close to it, hence the name Agnigarh. It is a beautiful spot to have a family picnic at.

5. ISKON Temple, Guwahati

The ISKCON temple in Guwahati is considered to be a must visit for anybody visiting the city. It has pure white architecture and is built completely of marble. The idols of Lord Krishna and his consort Rukmani are the main attractions of the temple. It is also a very family friendly temple and a great place for children to have fun while parents pray to Lord Krishna.

6. Hajo

Hajo is one of the most important cities in North East India for Hindu devotees because of the sheer number of temples it has. The popular Hindu temples in Hajo are the Hayagriva Madhab Temple on Manikuta Hill, Kedareshwar Temple and Ganesha Temple. Hajo has something for Muslims too. The Powa Mecca mosque is quite popular. Buddhists also treasure Hajo as the spot where the Lord Gautam Buddha attained his Nirvana.

7. Kamakhya Temple

The Kamakhya Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in India and it is a marvel that is it over 2500 years old. The temple is located right on top of the Nilachal Hill and has the River Brahmaputra flowing behind it. As it is at a height of 800 feet, it offers an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside, the rivers and valleys.

8. Dibru Saikhowa National Park

This is another of Assam’s rich national parks, famous as one of the greatest biodiversity hotspots on the planet. The Dibru Saikowa National Park is located at Tinsukia. It is covered by thick deciduous forests and by a vast swampy region. It has very rare wildlife species such as the feral horse.

9. Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra

Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra or just Kalakshetra, is to be found at Juripar on Punjabari Road. It is a lovely campus built in the honor of Bhupen Hazarika, one of the greatest singers in Indian history and a legend in Assam. The Kalashetra holds several cultural gatherings, classical singing and dancing competitions in its open air theatre. Many great artists in the North-East as well as from the rest of India has performed here. It also has lovely water pools, is covered with greenery and is located on a hill, in a scenic location. There is also a nice museum here, where various items from Bhupen Hazarika’s life are showcased.

10. Shilpgram

The Shilpgram is very close to the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra on the Punjabari Road in Juripur. It has several stalls where lovely arts and handicrafts are sold from various North Eastern states. There is also a grand exhibition hall and vast auditorium where several cultural events are held throughout the year. Tourists should only visit the Shilpgram when a cultural event is held there, otherwise there is no point in going there. During cultural events, the Shilpgram is packed with large crowds and is a beehive of activity.

11. Orang National Park

The Orang National Park is the site of the Royal Bengal tiger, the rare one horned rhinoceros, as well as many elephants, leopards and so on. Although not as vast as the Kaziranga National Park – it has a size of only 78 sq kms – it is quite rich in its biodiversity. It is also a place where a plenty of rare migratory birds have their habitat.

12. Haflong Town

The Haflong Town is one of the most beautiful towns in India and is rightly called, “The Switzerland of the East”. It is situated on incredibly photogenic blue hills at a height of 1680 feet above the sea level and has vast lakes with clear and transparent water, fast flowing streams crisscrossing the landscape, enchanting waterfalls and a rich vegetation of pineapple and orange trees. This is a great place to have a quiet cup of coffee while enjoying the surrounding scenery.

13. Sivasagar

Sivasagar of the Ocean of Lord Shiva was one of the most important cities of the Ahom empire that ruled majestically over Assam for over 600 years. Sivasagar was said to be a “Land of Gold” for the Ahoms, who considered it to be the most important part of their empire. Today, Sivasagar is a treasure trove of history. Some of the historical landmarks of Sivasagar are Shivadol, Gaurisagar Tank, Joysagar Tank and Temples, Rang Ghar, Charaideo, Ahom Museum, Talatal Ghar and Gargaon Palace.

14. Diphu

Diphu is an interesting town that is famous for being at the center of several surrounding tourist attractions. Such as the Arnoretum, which is a large lush green location close by where one may have a great picnic with the family. Or the Botanical Gardens, which has a rich collection of plants and trees, and has a large lake where boating may be done. For the intelligent tourist, a trip to the 150-year old District Museum in Diphu is a must, where several North Eastern tribal artifacts are displayed.

15. Umrangshu

Umrangshu is a thickly forested hilly region in Assam, which is as yet unspoilt and has nature at its purest. It is a great place to do some adventurous trekking amid nature. Umrangshu is also the site of a natural hot string called Garampani. This hot spring is very popular as its water is said to have medicinal value. There is also the Kapili Hydel Power Plant close by.

16. Saraighat Bridge

The Saraighat Bridge is very important as it is the link between the entire North-East of India and the rest of India. It was built in 1964, a couple of years after the India-China war and is considered very important for India’s national integrity. It has a railway line as well as a road. It would be a good idea to take your camera along and capture the Saraighat Bridge on it – the bridge that holds India together.

17. Vashishtha Ashram

Built by the Ahom king Raja Rajeshwar, the Vashistha Ashra is considered important for Hindu devotees. It is situated on the Sandhychal hills in a very scenic spot. It is an ideal spot to do some meditation or Yoga. Also, if you need to get away from the maddening rush of city life, the Vashishtha Ashram offers an ideal escape route.

18. Jorhat

Jorhat was the abode of the Ahom kingdom which ruled over Assam for centuries. Assam derives much if its unique culture from the Ahom kingdom, and it is only to be expected for Jorhat to be culturally such a rich place. To understand Assamese culture, one must visit Jorhat, and sample its excellent tourist attractions such as the Bangal Pukhuri, Thengal Manor, Burigosain Devalaya, Purnananda Buragohain Maidam, Bilvesvar Siva Temple, Magolu Khat, Dhekiakhowa Bornamghar and Raja Maidam.

19. North Cachar Hills

The North Cachar Hills is a great get-a-way to take a girlfriend or boyfriend for a a bit if solitude and peace, and freedom from prying eyes! It is said to be the abode of lovers, and it is quite a lovely sight, with the enchanting waterfalls, onrushing streams and crisscrossing rivulets. It may be compared to the famous hill station Ooty in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. Some of the loveliest lush green valleys are to be found at the North Cachar Hills. Its most noted attractions are the Jatinga, Haflong, Maibang, Umrangso and Panimoor.

20. Digboi

Digboi is a beautiful little town that is famous for being the site of Asia’s very first oil refinery, which is over hundred years old. But that’s not it. You can watch the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas from a vantage point in Digboi. Digboi is also the site of lovely tea gardens. As a knowledgeable tourist, you may also want to visit the Digboi Centenary Museum to get a glimpse into the history of not just of Assam, but of the whole of North-East, and of Digboi’s relevance to this great mosaic.

We hope you’ve found the information given by us quite useful. While this is a comprehensive list of places you must visit when you are travelling to Assam, there are still a few other wonderful locations in Assam that we haven’t covered. This is because Assam is a large state and full of surprises. But going through our list is a good away to get started on your discovery of Assam.

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

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