Hajo

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Hajo, a small town of historical importance 25km northwest of Guwahati in the Kamrup district, has a rich cultural history and symbol of religious harmony. It is an ancient pilgrimage center for three religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. It lies on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, dotted with a number of ancient temples as well as other sacred artifacts. The Hayagriva Madhava Mandir is the most famous temple of Hajo, situated on the Monikut hill. It is a stone temple and enshrines an idol of Hayagriva Madhav. The rows of elephants are seen on the body of the temple which is fine specimens of Assamese art. There is a big pool known as Madhab Pukhuri near the temple. Doul, Bihu and Janmastami festivals are celebrated every year in this temple. Moreover this temple advocates both Hinduism and Buddhism, which attract Buddhist Monks from far flung places.

Main Temple – Hayagriva Madhab Temple

Hayagriva Madhab Temple on Manikuta Hill is perhaps the oldest temple in Hajo and a major tourist attraction of Assam. The temple is famous for its general layout and its architecture. Built on a small hillock, the temple has a flight of stone steps composed of slab which leads to the main grounds of the temple. It is built in stone in an octagonal shape which is about 30-feet in diameter and topped with a pyramidal roof.

The Garbha Griha is 14 feet square shaped catacomb, into which one can descend by a flight of stone steps. It contains the image and its platform. The shrine is formed of four blocks of granite which is ten feet high by five feet wide. While a lotus over the door, opens into an anteroom. Also there is a stone screen, ten feet by ten feet, having niches of four feet square, one on each side with gap for the admission of light and air. This is shaped in the form of lotus flowers. The temple has a Sikhara which has a pyramidal plane face and continues right up to a high point. The temple, it has large foyer measuring 40 feet by 20 feet built of brick in the horizontal aspect resting on vast brick pillars.

The Garbha Griha of the temple preserve the image of Pancha Madhab, or the five forms of Vishnu. The image of the main deity, Hayagriva Madhab is at the centre and is surrounded by Jagannath and Garuda to the right and Radha Govinda and Basudeva to the left.

Another structure next to the main temple is called Doul Griha. It is said to have been built by the Ahom king Pramata Singha in 1750 AD where festival Doul, similar to the colourful festival of Holi, is celebrated here on a huge scale every year.

The set of steps leads from the foot of the hill to a gateway that opens to the temple complex. At the foot of this stone staircase is a large pond inhabited by one of Hajo’s oldest residents- giant turtles. Numerous loose sculptures are strewed all around the temple which stands testimony to the sculptural finesse of the artisans of Assam.

The Hayagriva-Madhava temple of Hajo was included in the ASI’s protected list. Hajo has a number of other temples dating back to the 18th century.

Ganesh Temple, built on a giant, elephant-shaped rock is also called Deva Bhavana and is traditionally the meeting place of all the deities of the region. This temple is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Ahom King Pramatta Singh in 1744 AD.

Kedareswara Temple

This is a Shiva temple with inscriptions showing it to be built during the Rajeswar Singha (1751-69 AD)period. Kedareshwar Temple is located on Madanachala Hill, 2 kms from Ganesh Temple. The shivalinga in the temple is said to be svayambhu or naturally formed and is always kept covered with a big metal bowl. This is an important edifice that has been referred to in Tantric and Puranic literature.

Hajo Powa Mecca

Hajo is also a big centre of Muslim pilgrimage .The famous mosque known as the Poa Mecca (1/4th Mecca) is thought to have some of the sanctity ofMecca. Legends say that Powa Mecca was constructed from the soil that was brought from the city of Mecca itself, the holiest city for the Muslims located in the Saudi Arabia. Standing on the top of Garurachal Hill, it is noted as the tomb of Pir Giasuddin Auliya, who was the pioneer of Islamic religion in this part of the world. This mosque was erected by Sujauddin Mohammed Shah in 1657 AD, when the renowned Mughal emperor, Shahjahan reigned.

Nature’s Beauty

Located away from the city, Hajo is a good tourist spot .The Hayagriva (Horse faced Lord) Temple has an environment which is nice and calm. It’s a nice place away from the crowded city and has a charm of its own. It gives a big relief to visitors after crossing the bridge at Saraighat over the wide Brahmaputra River. The approach to the temple is lovely, immersed in verdant green settings, though one has to climb up the walkway that is truly steep yet on reaching the temple campus on right is a pond with fish and tortoise which is very welcoming. On the left is the temple market with sweet and tea shanties and few sellers selling religious items and plastic toys.

How to Reach

Nearest Railway Station is Guwahati and the nearest Airport is LGB Airport, Guwahati. Guwahati is well connected with regular bus services from all the major cities in and around the state. From Guwahati one can take hired vehicle, avail tourist bus and even state transport buses to reach Hajo, crossing the Sariaghat Bridge, one of the longest river bridge. Guwahati is the closest metropolis having varied hotels and tourist can stay in any of those hotels. On request hotels can facilitates your visit to the heritage site.

Location

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

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