Assam is a land of myths and mystery. “The land of red river and blue hills,” as it is described, has a unique landscape with sprawling tea gardens and unending stretches of paddy fields interspersed with groves of coconut, areca nuts, and banana trees. Its population is a confluence of streams of different races and tribes like the Austrics, the Aryans, Negroids, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Tibetans, and Mongoloid. They have enriched each other and have evolved to give a distinctive identity to the Assamese people.
The most important and well-known tourist spots are Capital Guwahati, Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Majuli river island and Sualkuchi where Assam silk is made. One shouldn’t miss Kaziranga and Majuli.
Fast Facts :
Area: 78,438 sq km
Religion: Hinduism (67.13%), Islam (28.43%), Others (4.44%)
Languages: Assamese and Bengali
Best time to visit: October to March
Major cities: Guwahati, Tezpur, Digboi, Jorhat
State Emblem: Uses the National Emblem of India
State Song: O Mur Apunar Desh (O My Endearing Country!)
State Animal: Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
State Bird: White-winged duck (Asarcornis scutulata)
State Tree: Hollong (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus)
State Flower: Foxtail orchid (Rhynchostylis retusa)
Tourist Attractions :
The capital of Assam, Guwahati derives its importance from its location on the bank of the Brahmaputra. Guwahati has a state museum that houses rare sculptures of the former dynasties of the region. In and around Guwahati are several temples. Guwahati has a choice of good hotels.
Kaziranga Wildlife Sanctuary
On the south bank of the Brahmaputra, 233 km northeast of Guwahati is the main sanctuary for the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. Visitors view the rhino and other wildlife on elephant-back in this National Park. Kaziranga National Park has a good forest lodge and some tourist lodges.
Manas National Park
Covering an area of 520 sq km, Manas National Park is a tiger reserve. It is also a World Heritage site. Rare wildlife like a hispid hare, pygmy hog, golden langur, rhinoceros, Asiatic buffalo can also be seen here. The park is 176 km from Guwahati by road. The nearest airport is in Guwahati and the nearest railhead is Borpeta Road, 136 km from Guwahati.
By its unique location and picturesque setting on the north bank of the majestic river Brahmaputra, Tezpur can be considered as one of the most beautiful towns of the state. Tezpur can also be remembered for the legend of princess Usha, the daughter of King Bana and for prince Aniruddha, the grandsons of Lord Krishna for their eternal love and romance. It is 181kms from Guwahati Buses ply regularly from Guwahati & other towns of the state, the nearest railhead is Rangapara and the airport is Salonibari.
Digboi is known as the city of oil. Oil was first found in 1879, drilling started in 1888 and in 1889, Assam Oil Company established the first oil refinery of Asia in Digboi. Other local attractions are dolls being made from wax. The atmosphere is sylvan outside the town. Wild elephants run amuck. Another oil town is Duliajan, 15 km away.
Getting There :
- By Air: Connected with Calcutta, Delhi, Bagdogra, Imphal Agartala, Dibrugarh, and Dimapur.
- By Rail: Connected with New Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Cochin, Silchar, Tinsukia, and Dibrugarh.
- By Road: Shillong- 103 kms, Kaziranga National Park- 217 kms, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary- 176 kms, Dimapur- 280 kms, Itanagar- 420 kms, Imphal- 487 kms, Agartala- 599 kms, Aizawal- 538 kms, Gangtok- 624 kms, Darjeeling- 587 kms, Calcutta- 1182 kms and Kohima- 342 kms.