Location : North-eastern part of India
Capital City : Guwahati
Major Attractions : Kaziranga national park, Bihu dance, Kamakhyadham temple
What To Shop For : Assam tea, Exquisite tribal handicrafts
Women Plucking The Famous Three Leaves at Assam Tea Gardens
Sliced into two parts by the Brahmaputra river like a
cupid's arrow, Assam abounds in breathtaking scenic beauty coupled with a
bracing climate. It is the gateway to a very fascinating region -
north-east India - that is unlike any other in the country; impenetrable
forests that shelter some of the most exotic ecological systems, an array
of fascinating tribes and cultures and a landscape of tranquil rivers,
pictresque lakes, verdant valleys and lush hills.
And there are endless reasons for a holiday in the mist-clad hills of Assam. Assam tea is known the world over for being a strong, flavourful brew. There's adventure to be had in the rapid waters of Brahmaputra, offering some of the best whitewater rafting in the country. Culturally rich Assam has a significant tribal presence that can be experienced anytime during a vacation trip. And in the interiors, Assam houses a unique wildlife; the great one-horned rhino being the centre of attraction. The people here are strongly built and very hard working. Dance, music and sports reflect their way of life. Mindful of their cultural heritage, these simple folks are jovial and cordial. All these benefits together with a wide array of modern hospitality to satisfy an international traveller makes Assam a perfect holiday destination on the hills of India.
Nestling on the banks of Brahmaputra and ringed by rolling hills, Guwahati, the capital, is the largest city in the northeast. Its ancient name - Pragjyotishpur or the light of the east - aptly describes its beauty and status. Famed as one of the celebrated tourist destinations in the country, Guwahati is an impeccable blend of its picturesque past (the Colonial Raj), cosmopolitan character and westernised lifestyle. Apart from its tranquil atmosphere, scenic beauty and ethnic charm, Guwahati today has graduated to be the happy hunting ground for corporate entities and buisness travellers. Interestingly, the sun of this modern city rises to the bells of the famous Kamakhya Temple, one of the biggest Hindu tantrik centres of the country. Besides, Guwahati is also the commercial capital of the state and you can pick up some exquisite silk and handloom textiles along with a variety of handicrafts and agricultural and forest products.
One Horned Rhino At Kaziranga National Park
One of the finest national parks of India and the first
in Assam, Kaziranga, 217 km from Guwahati, is more popularly known as the
home of the one horned rhinoceros. Spread over about 430 sq km, the park
however harbours a much greater variety of wildlife, some of which is more
easily seen here in its natural habitat than elsewhere. Kaziranga was
first turned into a reserve forest in 1908, when it was believed to hold
only about a dozen rhinos, and was declared a national park in 1974 and
since then the population of rhinos has gone up to about 1000. To preserve
this bio-diversity, UNESCO has declared Kaziranga, a World Heritage site.
Go for an elephant safari in the morning, the best way to explore the jungle. The forest department conducts elephant rides which lasts for about an hour, and should be booked the previous evening at the park office. Although the elephants do not penetrate deep into the sanctuary, it is really surprising that how much wildlife can be seen in such a small circle of 3-4 km. Get ready with your handycams, because at any moment, you can see a rhino right before your peeled eyes. Don't get petrified, the rhino seems oblivious to visitors and camera clicks, but take care of wild buffalos.
Most of the journey is on NH 37 and the condition of the road ranges from fair to good. Adequate road side facilities are available, especially at Jagi Road and Nowgaon, with no dearth of petrol pumps. Kaziranga has a number of Assam tourism lodges offering accommodation, food, shopping and arrangements to visit the sanctuary.
Meandering amidst acres of lush tea gardens of Assam is no less enchanting than sipping one of the most flavoured tea liquors of the world. Watch the sparkling sunlight filter through the shade trees and piece together patterns of black and white on the neatly pruned tea-bushes. If you prefer a hammerhead, nothing can quench your thirst for refreshment than Assam tea. Plan a vacation trip during November and you can be a part of the colourful Tea festival, that is a complete holiday package in itself - a visit to tea Gardens, golf and memorable cruises on Brahmaputra. Visit Jorhat (314 km from Guwahati), the tea capital and hence the second most important city of the state. The city lies amidst extensive rolling tea estates shaded by tall cedar trees and is also an important commercial centre. You can also enjoy a picnic at Majuli, the largest river island in the world, nestling at a few kilometres north of Jorhat, beside visiting the tribal villages that cluster nearby.
Bihu Dance During Rongali Bihu
A beautiful way to express their love for nature and community is the Bihu festival. Cutting across all the bars of class and caste, Rongali Bihu is celebrated with much fun and gaiety in the mid of April. The festival marks the beginning of a new agricultural season in spring. The fun of this colourful festival however, finds its way through Bihu Dance, a placard of Assamese art. This joyful dance is performed by both young men and women adorned in traditional clothing, and is an extravaganza because of the brisk dance steps, rapid hand movements, and a rhythmic swaying of the hips in order to represent youthful passion, that enchants every visitor.
The Bodos (an ethnic community belonging to a larger
group Bodo-Kachari) are the larger group group of indigenous inhabitants
of the Brahmaputra valley. Caressing a language that traces its origin to
the Tibeto-Burmese family, the Bodos are known for their simple lifestyle
and traditional heritage. The best part of visiting their dwells is that,
you can experience the flavour of both the worlds - a simple village
culture with a distinctly tribal world view and the more sophisticated
urban culture of which guwahati is the clearest manifestation. During your
visit to the tribal village, remember to savour 'Zu Mai', a favourite
drink of the Bodos often accompanied by a non vegetarian dish such as fish
If you travel to North Cachar Hills, you can have the pleasure to meet the Dimasa tribes. With a congenital tendency to build their houses on hill slopes with a river or streamlet flowing nearby, the resting pads are usually leisure resorts with a picturesque ambience. The houses are clean and Dimasa housewives are reputed for their hospitality and hard work. Remember to spend an evening with these natives to experience a completely new holiday. You can see them dancing on the monotonous tunes of Khram (drum) and Muri (fife), creating euphoric strings of melody and amazement linked to each other. The merriment reaches its height as the beats rise and tourists slip under the influence of local drinks.
Visit Bogolmari, a pristine village 110 km to the west of Guwahati and about 3 km off of NH 37 from Dudhnoi. It is a good initiation by the co-operative of travel agents (Tourfed) in association with tourism administration to project the rich tribal culture of Assam. Bodo, Rabha Garo and Koch Rajbonshi tribes inhabit the village maintaining the traditional lifestyle. You can enjoy traditional folk dances and music together with the shopping spree of exquisite handicrafts made by different tribes.
Assam Tribal Women Returning After A Hard Day's Work
Travelling to Assam is easy, you just have to chalk a plan to this mist-clad lush holiday destination. The capital, Guwahati, is serviced by flights of Indian Airlines/Alliance Air, Jet Airways and Air Sahara. Tourists can also go for helicopter services from Guwahati to Shilong (30 min), Tura (50 min) and Itanagar (75 min). The Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloii Airport is 25 km from downtown Paltan Bazaar area. Taxis, including pre-paid service, are available at the airport for transfer to the city. Guwahati is the headquarters of Northeast Frontier Railway and is linked to all parts of the country through express trains. The railway station is located near the downtown. Taxis and autorickshaws, rates negotiable, are available at the railway station for transfer to different parts of the city. One can also get taxis for Shillong from the station. Guwahati is also the junction of NH 31 (Cooch Bihar/Hashimara, West Bengal), NH 37 (Arunachal Pradesh), NH 40 (Shillong, Meghalaya) and NH 52 (Pasighat/itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh). For more tourism related information, contact India Tourism Information Counter at the Guwahati airport.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Assam
Assam - A Peak of Enchantments
Capital Moments At Guwahati
Go Horny In Kaziranga
Savour A Cup of Assam Tea
See A Round of Bihu Dance
Lost Empire of
South & East India
Glorious Golden Triangles (I & II)
Sundarbans - West