The Mighty Brahmaputra: Lifeline of Assam

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Brahmaputra, the only ‘male’ river in the Indian subcontinent is the most important natural feature of the state. Respected and Revered, the mighty Brahmaputra is the lifeline of the people of Assam and Northeast. Originating in Tibet’s Angsi Glacier as the Tsangpo river, it journeys eastwards across southern Tibet for hundreds of kilometres before breaking through the Himalayas. Flowing into Arunachal Pradesh (India) as the Siang, it traverses 300 km of the fostered hills before it is met by the Luhit. From this union is born the Brahmaputra, the only river in the country to be named after the son of the Lord Brahma. It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and it merges with the Padma, then the Meghna, before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

River Tourism

Anyone who has loves to travel will be amazed to learn that there is actually a way to travel through the country in total serenity and comfort and that is through river. It is possible to cruise for miles on the rivers and inland waterways of India, passing through great cities, alongside wildlife sanctuaries and historical monuments and into the heart of rural India. In 2003 long-distance river cruising in India began with cruises on the River Brahmaputra in Assam. Assam, a rich, green land with hills, plains and dense forests, is the mystic land of blue hills and beautiful rivers renowned for its tea, rich flora and fauna. The Brahmaputra River is the only navigable river in the world from which you can see 7400 m high, snow covered Himalayan range. It is also the only river, apart from the Zambezi River in Africa, from which elephant, jeep and boat safaris are conducted. It is one of the major tourist attraction of Assam.

Generally, cruises operate in Assam from October to April. Wildlife and wilderness are the prime features of a cruise in Assam on the vast Brahmaputra River – the river bed is often 20 – 30 km across, an empty world of sand spits and water with marvelous birds and the occasional Gangetic Dolphin. The cruises in this part also give access to weaver’s tribal villages, National Parks, including Kaziranga, the finest of all, and Manas, a Project Tiger reserve on the Bhutan border. Assam and Brahmaputra displays a world of great adventures not only of present but also of the past.

Apart from the river cruise one can also enjoy short trip on the river without any fixed destination. There are many private ferry services that takes you on a short cruise around the Brahmaputra. In year 1998, the the first floating restaurant was set up to explore the river in tourism. There are a few floating restaurants between Fancy Bazar Ghat and Sukleswar Ghat( Panbazar jetty). These charmingly decorated ferries cum restaurants offer a good ambience, sitting area to visitors to enjoy the serenity and the majestic views with a hot cup of Assam tea in your hands of Brahmaputra River from close proximity. The cruise starts at 5:30 pm daily for one hour around the river. Though Brahmaputra is less polluted than most other rivers in India yet the air pollution lends itself to a lovely red/yellow sunset on the Brahmaputra River.

Brahmaputra beach festival is held every year which brings people closer to the mighty river. Various competitions are held which includes boating race as well. A fair is held in the beach of Brahmaputra in the Bharalumukh area. This festival is organized to make people aware of the river Brahmaputra and its significance in our everyday life.

Pandu Port

Another must-see place in Guwahati is the Pandu port. The word is derived from the Pandunath Temple on the bank of the Brahmaputra. Raghudev Narayan, the Koch King rebuilt the Pandunath Temple in 1586 A.D. according to history, the Ahom King Gourinath Singha also donated land to the temple in 1785 A.D. Pandu was the chief military base of the Ahoms. During the battle of Saraighat, General Lachit Barphukan defeated the powerful Mughal army by general Ramsingha in 1672.

It is also believed that the Pandavas took holy dips in the Brahmakunda and climbed the Nilachal Hill to worship Goddess Kamakhya before they set on their final journey to the heaven. Vashistha, the leading hermit also landed at Pandughat when he was in his search for an abode of peace.

JayB

A self-described travel enthusiast...

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