The state of Assam lies in the north eastern part of India. It is a land which is filled with blankets of tea plantation and wild forests. The mighty river Brahmaputra cuts across the state, providing for the general need of food and water of the local population, and has also created a breath-taking landscape. The capital of the state is Dispur and the largest city is Guwahati, which is also one of the fastest growing cities of the world. The river side town Dibrugarh is famous for being called the tea capital of the world. The state shares international borders with two countries namely Bhutan and Bangladesh and has recently witnessed an high influx of Bangladeshi immigrants. Assam is famous for its world class tea, oil and petroleum resources, muga silk and a very rich bio diversity. The monsoons bless the region with a lot of rainfall, allowing for lush green landscapes to flourish. The region is listed among the top bio-diversity hotspots of the world.
Things to do while in Assam ~
1. Visit a tea plantation :- A major area of the state’s landscape is filled with tea gardens, providing the world with one of the finest tea, with exports reaching all over the world. The gardens seem magical and to visit one is to get lost in a land filled with the greenery of tea plantation all around you. It is a must to visit a factory and taste the different variety’s of tea grown.They give you a sense of serenity and calmness .
2. Visit to the various wildlife sanctuaries :- Assam is blessed with a wide variety of wildlife. It is a heaven for nature enthusiasts, boasting a total of fifteen spots of wild eco systems. Two of these are world famous and are also world heritage sites, namely the Kaziranga National Park and the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary. The various animals to be found in the forests of Assam are the great Indian one horned Rhinoceros, Tiger, the spotted Deer, Wild Buffalo, swamp Deer, Golden Langur, Clouded Leopard, Gibbon, Pigmy Hog, the Golden Cat, Giant Civet, Asiatic Elephants, Reptiles etc. Birds to be seen are Blue throated Barbet, The great Indian Hornbill, White Winged Wood Duck, ring tailed fishing Eagle, the Himalayan Golden Backed Wood-pecker, migratory Pelicans etc. Also found are variuos plant species, including a large variety of Orchids.
3. A boat ride on the Brahmaputra :- Brahmaputra is the mightiest river of India. It is a trans-boundary river and one of the largest rivers of Asia. The river flows for thousand miles in the great mountains of the Himalayas before entering Assam, and in the process dumping all the water into the plains of Assam, creating the widest river in India. The width of the river sometimes exceeds 7 miles, creating vast river islands. A ride in this river provides you a breath taking scenery, with a view of the Himalayas in the north, it makes it more majestic. If you are lucky you will be able to catch a glimpse of a group of Gangetic Dolphins playing in the holy waters of the river.
4. Visit the river island of Majuli :- The largest river Island of Asia, Majuli is as huge as 500 kilometres square. The island has a colorful tribal culture, and is famous for pottery and mask making. It has a rich heritage and the inhabitants are beautiful people. Famous for Neo-Vasnavite culture, a visitor to this island is sure to find spiritual and inner calmness.
5. Visit to Shivsagar (Shiva’s Ocean) :- Shivsagar is famous for its rich history. It is a heritage place with numerous historical monuments, all built by the Ahoms who ruled Assam till the 1800’s. The most famous is a temple dedicated to the Hindu God of destruction, Lord Shiva.
6. A trip to Assam is incomplete unless you have witnessed the dance and culture of the local people. Bihu is a form of dance performed by the locals, both men and women, and is very classical and elegant. Also, it is a must to drink the local spirit “lau pani” or rice beer, which is made by brewing rice and has a sweet flavor to it. Foods to be eaten while in Assam are the local dishes, especially the fish and pork cooked in the village areas.
7. Saulkuchi :- One of the largest weaving villages of the world, also called the Manchester of the East. It is a village renowned for its silk production and people from all around the world visit to learn about its magnificent history of weaving.
8. Hajo :- A small town near Guwahati & an ancient pilgrimage site for 3 religions. An integration of Hinduism, Islam & Buddhism. People from all faiths live in Harmony and a very very friendly atmosphere exists in the town.The area is dotted with a number of ancient temples as well as other sacred artifacts
Important Sites :- Poa Mecca, The Hayagriva Madhava Mandir, The Kedareswara Temple.
9. Digboi :- The place has the oldest running oil-well of the world. It has guest houses and tourist residential apartments laid on Italian architectural plan. An oil museum also exists, which provides some good insights.
10. Stilwell Road :- The Ledo Road was built during World War II so that the Allies could supply the Chinese as an alternative to the Burma Road which had been cut by the Japanese in 1942. The road was built by 15,000 American soldiers (60 percent of whom were African-Americans) and 35,000 local workers at a cost of US$150 Million. 1,100 Afro-Americans and more than 5,000 locals died during the construction. It was renamed the Stilwell Road (named after General Vinegar Joe Stilwell of the U.S Army) in early 1945. The road passes through Burma and was an engineering marvel at its time. Many Allied personnel lost there lives in this region.
If you are interested in visiting a land you have the least amount of knowledge about, then Assam will be a good option. You will always be near to the elements of nature, and you will get a chance to know about a new culture and along the way, learn about life and wisdom from people who are yet to be touched by the means and ways of modern life styles. There are places not listed in the list, and it is upon the traveler to explore the many unexplored places of this region.