The name "Assam" is derived from the term "Asom" which, in Sanskrit, refers to unequal or unrivalled
The history of Assam is divided into four periods, viz. the legendary period, the early period, the Ahom period, and the modern period.
During the legendary period though Assam was ruled first by the non-Aryan peoples called Danavas and Asuras (Demon family), the Aryans also penetrated into Assam from the north-west frontier. This was during the fourth century A.D and the earliest epigraphic reference to Assam (earlier known as Kamarupa) is found in the Allahabad inscription of Samudragupta, the second Emperor of Gupta Dynasty (AD 330-80). The early period may be said to have continued till the thirteenth century when Assam had been invaded by the Ahoms (they are off-shoots of Thai or Shah Race who came from Upper Burma presently Yangoon). Muslims, attacking from the West, invaded Assam for a record 17 times during the Ahom rule but were never able to establish a permanent Kingdom. Truly speaking, there was never any Muslim rule in the history of Assam
Assam was known as 'Kamarupa or 'Pragjyotish' in the period of the Epics. The boundary of Ancient Kamarupa included the Brahmaputra valley, Bhutan, the Rangpur area (now in Bangladesh), and Koch Bihar, in West Bengal. The legend of King Narakasura (regarded as the son of Mother Earth, although otherwise the history of his birth is a mystery) is said to come from the Demon family, and together with his son Bhagadatta, are very famous rulers of Kamarupa, depicted in the Mahabharata period, as early as 1000 BC. Other records indicate that human inhabitation of this area dates backs to about 2000 BC.
The population of Assam consists mainly of the migrants from Burma and China. They penetrated into Assam after the Mongol migration. One segment of the migrants came from Punjab through Bihar and North Bengal. Thus the civilization of Assam represents a fusion of Mongol-Aryan culture.
The early history of Assam is dated back to 400 AD to 13th century during the Varman dynasty. The famous Chinese traveler Huien Tsang visited Assam during the 7th century and met the then King Kumar Bhaskar Varman. In his inscriptions he wrote in praise of the social and political system of Kamrupa, that is Assam.
The Ahoms ventured into Assam in about 1228 AD. The first King of the Ahoms was SUKAPHA who came with eight nobles, four elephants, four hundred horses and nine thousand men, women and children. He made his first Capital in Charaideo (the ‘ glittering town in the top of the hill’). By 15th century the Ahoms had established the Greater Assam ( BAR ASOM), ruling through constructive diplomatic measures such as matrimonial alliances with the surrounded petty chiefs, and by accepting and exchanging each others socio-cultural heritages.
The Ahom Kingdom declined due to internal conflict during the early 18th century. The Burmese took the full advantage of the political chaos surrounding the Assamese throne and overpowered the Ahoms, thus in turn provoking a British intervention. The Treaty of Yandaboo was signed in 1826 between the British and the Burmese, thus putting an end to the ambitions of the later. In this way, British rule started in Assam and politically Assam became an integral part of British-ruled mainland India.
The people of Assam participated in the Indian Freedom Movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1947 along with the other parts of India Assam got independence from the British rule. Post independence the Assamese won control of their state assembly and campaigned broadly to improve employment opportunities and the livelihood for the Assamese people.
Guwahati is situated on the Southern bank of the mighty River Brahmaputra in Kamrup district of Assam. Previously it was known as Pragjyotishpur (The City of the eastern Light) Guwahati is the fast growing premier city and it is also the gateway to the North Eastern states of India.This city subsequently got the name Guwahati (Guwa-means beetlenut and Hat –means market in Assamese)
Places to visit:
Kamakhya Temple: The origin of Kamakhya Temple is pre Aryan situated atop the Nilachal Hill And is the foremost shrine of Assam, The Kamakhya is an ancient seat of Tantric and shakti Cults of Hinduism. The original temple was destroyed by the invading Muslims in their crusade against Hindu temples and idols in the early part of 16th century. Ultimately it was restored from ruins by King Naranarayan of the Koch dynasty and rebuilt in its present form in 1665 AD.
Umananda Temple: In the vicinity of Guwahati in the middle of the river Brahmaputra on an island hill stands the temple of Shiva ‘Umananda’ (also known as Peacock Island). It is also known as ‘Bhasmachal’ as the rays that emanated from his forehead reduced Kamdev to ashes. Within the temple are to be seen the images of Anandi Shiva Linga and a silver ox and Umananda with five faces and ten handshands.
Navagraha Temple: To the extreme east of Guwahati on the Chitrachal Hills stands the Navagraha Temple (Temple of Nine Planets) is a center of Astrological and Astronomical research. The government conducted research here, and as a result of excavation twelve Shiva Temples have been un earthed.
Shankardev Kalakshetra: a place where Assamese history and culture is depicted in a sprawling open enclosure. It has a beautiful museum where they preserved the masks (these masks are made in Majuli island), the traditional dresses and the jewellery of the entire North East India. A Namghar (Assamese prayer Hall) and an open air theatre has been constructed to perform plays and other cultural activities during festivals.
Vasistha Ashram: This Ashram was established by the great sage Vasistha on Sandhyachal Hill. By the force of penance and meditation, the sage Vasistha had opened the Ganges into three flows called ‘Sandhya’, ‘Lalita’, and ‘Kanta’. The sage Vasistha every day offered worship at the confluence of the three courses of the Ganges. Many people assembled during eclipses (Solar & Lunar).
Guwahati War Cemetery: Built and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery was started during the war when several military hospitals were posted in the area and was originally for burials from these hospitals. There are now 517 soldiers buried in this cemetery .
Sualkuchi is known to be the Manchester of the East and it is famous for the Assam Silk. This place is also known as the “Silk Village”. The ‘Muga’, the golden silk of Assam is made here and was made known to the world way back in 1662 by a French traveler Jean Joseph Tavernier. The silk was the royal fabric of the Ahom Kings who ruled Assam for six centuries till 1826
Madan Kamdev Temple: Situated 35 kms from Guwahati Madan, Kamdev is an archeological site where erotic sculptures are found. Is is often referred to as the ‘Khajuraho of Kamrup’. It is a complex of 24 temples. It has been presumed to have been built during the period 10th to 12th century.
MANAS NATIONAL PARK:
Located in the Himalayan foothill Bhabar area of western Assam, Manas has been a game reserve since 1928 and become a tiger reserve in 1974. It was recognized as World Heritage Site in 1985 and declared as a National Park in 1990 with an area of 500 sq Kms and also a broader area of 2600 sq kms. The Park harbours more then 20 endangered species like Tiger, Rhino, Indian Elephant, Pygmy Hog, Golden Languor, Golden Cat, Clouded Leopard, Loepard Cat. Jungle Cat etc. It is also an important bird area. White winged Wood Duck were recently recorded in the park.
- Jeep Safari
- Elephant Safari
- Village Tour
Modern day Tezpur, the headquarter of Sonitpur district of Assam, is said to be the erstwhile Sonitpur, the Kingdom of legendary King Banasura. According to the legend, Lord Krishna's army and Banasura's army fought for the rescue of Aniruddha (grandson of Lord Krishna) who married Banasura’s daughter ‘Usha’ against the will of her father. There was so much bloodshed that the whole place was stained in red. This led to the name of the place becoming Tezpur, which means the City of Blood. Modern Tezpur was founded by the British colonial administration in 1835 as the headquarters of Darrang
Places to Visit:
Cole Park (Chitralekha Udyan): The Deputy Commissioner of Darrang, Colonel Cole, in the early part of 20th century had a dream of creating a park at a naturally beautiful site by gathering sculptures and displaying them in a prominent public place. His successor fulfilled his dream and dedicated this park to his memory. The central portion has the collection of sculptures attributed to Colonel Cole.
Da Parbatiya: The earliest and one of the finest examples of ancient architecture of Assam is to be found at Da Parbatiya near Tezpur. It is a small stone door frame dating back to fifth-six centuries bearing some exquisite carvings clearly representing the best of Gupta Art.
Agnigarh: According to the legend the site of the fortress was built by Banasura to keep his daughter Usha in isolation. The name ‘Agnigarh’ has been derived from two Sanskrit words 'Agni’ (meaning fire) and 'garh' (meaning fortress or wall). It is a hill on the banks of the Brahmaputra river and one of the big tourist attractions in Tezpur. The view of river Brahmaputra the Kolia Bhomora Setu bridge (named after the Ahom general Kolia Bhomora) is really eye catching.
Mahabhairav Temple: This ancient Shiva Temple located in the heart of Tezpur town is believed to have been established by king Banasura in pre-historic times. The temple was originally built of stone but renovated and rebuilt with concrete. During Shivaratri thousands of devotees around the country visit the temple and offer their prayer to Lord Shiva.
NAMERI NATIONAL PARK
The Nameri National Park of 200 sq kms area is located in the Sonitpur district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh and it is also the core area of Nameri Tiger Reserve (344sq kms). It is the home of Elephant, Tiger, leopard, Sambar,Barking deer, Hog Deer, Wild Boar,Gaur, slow loris,gaplangur,Burmese ferret badger, and over 350 species of birds including White-winged Wood Duck, Ibisbill (uncommon), Ruddy Kingfisher, Palla’sfishing eagle,Lesser Adjutant stork , Greater spotted eagle,Rufous necked hornbill, Great pied Indian hornbill, Wreathed hornbill, Long-billed Ringed Plover, Sultan Tit, and Yellow-bellied and White-throated Fantails. Another important wild life sanctuary of Arunachal Pradesh, The Pakhui (Pakke) wild life Sanctuary, adjoins the Park on its North-Eastern point. The river Jia- Bhoroli and its tributaries namely the Diji, Dinai, Doigurung, Nameri, Dikorai, Kharietc crisscross the park. During rainy season a few jheels also dot the area. One can enjoy rafting in the Jia Bhoroli river in the south western part of the park
1. Nature Walk inside Nameri National Park
2. Guided Bird Watching tour
3. River Rafting in Jia Bharali river
KAZIRANGA NATIONAL PARK
There is considerable debate regarding the originality of the name Kaziranga, there being so many possible explanations regarding the same. Legend says, a Karbi girl named Ranga eloped with a youth named Kazi, from Karbi Anglong. However their families did not accept their relationship and the couple disappeared into the forest and never came back again. The forest was then named after them. According to another legend, the great saint of Assam, Sankardeva, once blessed a childless couple, Kazi and Rangai, and asked them to dig a big pond in the region so that their name would remain forever. One document of the Ahom History states that the 19th ruler of the Ahom, king Pratap Singha (Siu-Seng-Pha), was passing by the region and was impressed by the taste of fish; and on inquiry, he was told it came from Kaziranga. However, the name Kaziranga can also also signify the "Land of red goats (Deer)", as the word Kazi in the Karbi language means "Goat", and Ranga means "Red”.
Kaziranga National Park has become synonymous with successful conservation of the Great One Horn Rhinoceros (from the Greek word, "rhino" means nose and "ceros" means horn). (Unicornis from the Latin word, "uni" means one and "cornis" also means horn). Kaziranga is also the home of may other threatened species including Indian Elephant (Elephant Maximus), Tiger(Panthera tigris), Hoolock Gibbon (Bunipithecus hoolock), Ganges dolphin (Platanista gangetica),Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Barasingha or Swamp Deer (duvauceli), Hog Deer, Indian Muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak), Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and Gaur (Bos frontalis)etc.
Over 500 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including 25 species of globally threatened birds. Over and above that, there are 21 other rare and endangered species. In winter one can observe a large breeding population of Spot Bill Pelicans about one thousand breeding nests are found in a place which has been named as Pelican Colony in the Eastern Range.
Among the reptiles species like Water Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator), Indian python (Python molurus), Cobra (Naja naja) and the King Cobra are found.
1905: Preliminary notifications.
1908: Reserve Forest
1916: Game Sanctuary
1938: Open to visitors
1950: Wild Life Sanctuary
1974: National Park
1985: World Heritage Site by UNESCO
2006: Declared as Tiger Reserve.
1. Elephant Safari
2. Jeep Safari
3. Trekking and bird watching
4. Village visit (Assamese & Mishing tribe)
5. Tea Garden Tour
6. Dolphin viewing in Brahmaputra River.
The name “JORHAT” or “JOREHAUT” delived from two ‘hats’ or markets which subsisted on the two banks of the river Bhogdoi during the 18th Century. Jorhat was the last capital of the Ahom Kingdom (erstwhile ”Rangpur”). This flourishing town was completely destroyed by the Burmese invasions in1817, which were stopped by the arrival of the British in 1824 under the leadership of David Scott and Captain Richard.
There are about 135 Tea Gardens in and around Jorhat.
Places of Interests:
Jorhat Gymkhana Club: Built in 1876 by D. Slimmon, it is the oldest planter’s club in Assam and still maintains its heritage.
Tokolai Tea Research Center: The Tocklai Experimental Station, Jorhat is the oldest and the largest research station of its kind in the world.
The largest inhabited riverine island in the world, Majuli has been the hub of Assamese neo-vaishnavite culture and the cultural capital and the cradle of Assamese civilization for the past 500 years. Here lived the revered Assamese saint Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva. The first vaishnavite monastery was at Belaguri in west Majuli. After that 65 Monasteries (SATRAS) were set up. Today only 22 of the original 65 survive.
The main tribe of Majuli is Mishing. They comprise of about 47% of the population of Majuli. The term Mishing is made up of two words- 'mi' means people and 'yassing' means fine, and that's why they call themselves fine people. Other people comprise Chutias, Deoris, Sonowal Kacharies, Koches, Naths, Kaivarttas, Mattaks, Ahoms, Kalitas, Brahmins etc.
Visit to the Auniati Satra or Monastery: Niranjan Pathak Dev founded the Satra and it has a collection of old Assamese utensils, jewelries and handicrafts.
Kamalabari Satra: Founded by Bedula Padma Atais a centure of ethnic art and culture.
Situaterd 369 Kms east of Guwahati, Sivasagar (or erstwhile Rangpur) is full of historic relics. Bearing testimony of 600 years of Ahom rule. Rangpur became the 4TH Capital of Ahom Kingdom. The name of the town and the district originated from the Sivsasagar Tank (water reservoir) and associated temples.
Places of interests:
Rang Ghar: An antique two storied imposing structure, the Rang Ghar (‘Rang’ means enjoyment ang ‘Ghar’ means house in Assamese language) happened to be the royal sports pavilion (with wrestling, bird fights, buffalo fights etc) of the Ahom Kings. It was constructed by the 34th Ahom king Pramatta Singha in 1746.
Tolatol Ghar: Originally constructed by the Ahom king Rudra Singha in 1699, the present palace made of bricks and indigenous type of cement was constructed by King Rajeswar Singha in 1751-69. Known as the seven storied Kareng Ghar of which four were above ground and the remaining three were underground, it was the Capital and the military headquarters of the Ahom kings.
Shiva Dole: The Shiva Dole, Vishnu Dole and Devi Dole were all constructed by the second queen of Shiva Singha known as Ambika in 1734. This is reputed to be the tallest Shiva Temple in North East India. The Shiva Dole is 180 feet in height and 195 feet in diameter, and is capped by a seven feet height golden dome.
Shivasagar Tank (Barpukhuri): Also constructed by Ambika the second queen of Shiva Singha in 1734, it covers an area of 129 acres. The water level of the tank never changes and remains above the level of the town all the time.
Kareng Ghar (The Gargaon Palace): The original structure had been made of wood and stones. In 1747 King Pramatta Singha constructed the brick wall of about 5 kms..The present surviving brick palace was rebuilt by king Rajeshwar Singha in 1752.
Charaideo Maidam: The tombs of Kings and Queens at Charaideo Hillock are comparable to the pyramids of Egypt. Charaideo was the first Capital of Ahom Kingdom established by King Sui- Ka- Pha. This is also the sacred burial ground of the kings and the queens of the Ahom Kingdom.