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Explore Assam

Explore Assam
Explore Assam
Assam – Overview

Assam, one of the seven north-eastern states (together called ‘seven sisters’), is the gateway to the north-eastern part of India. Situated just below the eastern Himalayan foothills, Assam is bordered by the Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to its north-east. The states of Nagaland, Manipur, and Mizoram lie in the south, while Meghalaya lies to the south-west. West Bengal and Bangladesh are to its west. The state of Assam spreads over an area of 78,438 sq.kms and has a population of 26,638,407.

Blessed with several natural gifts, Assam is dominated by the massive Brahmaputra river which has its origins in Tibet. The state is bestowed with vast alluvial plains and dense forests, tracts of paddy and tea and oil from the deep depths of the earth. In Assam, you can see a variety of flora and fauna including the world-famous one Horned Rhinoceros and other rare species. In fact, after Africa, Assam is perhaps the only part of the world where a wide variety of wildlife exists. Besides, Assam’s colorful fairs and festivals, rich art and culture and cuisine will surely leave you spellbound.

Assam – History

Assam has an old history dating back to ancient times. You can find the base of Assam’s history in various literature like Tantric literature, Buddhist literature, Vedic literature, and Assamese folklore. Reference of Assam is also found in the epics and the religious legends. According to legends, the earliest ruler of Assam was Mahiranga Danava, who was followed by other rulers namely – Harakasur, Sambarsur, Ratnasur, and Ghataksur. Naraksur removed the earlier rulers and established his dynasty. The Naraka king was slain by Lord Krishna of Dwarka and Bhagadatta became his successor.

As per history, from 350 AD to the 12th century, Assam was mainly ruled by the Varman Dynasty and several other dynasties such as the Kacharis, the Chitias, etc. During the rule of the famous Varman king, Bhaskarvarman (600 AD-650 AD), the Chinese traveler Xuan Zang visited the Assam region and recorded his trips. The Ahoms ventured into Assam in around 1228 AD and ruled till 1826 AD. Other noted kingdom during that period was the Koch, which arrived in the region in 1510 AD.

In the latter part of the 18th century, the Ahom Kingdom weakened due to internal conflicts. Later in 1821, the Burmese invaded Assam and installed a puppet king. Due to the Burmese intervention, the First Anglo-Burmese War broke out. The war ended with the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826 and the East India Company occupied the region. Between 1905-12, Assam was separated with some parts of Bengal and separate provinces of Eastern Bengal and Assam were established. At the time of India’s independence in 1947, Assam consisted of the original Ahom kingdom and the present-day Arunachal Pradesh. Further, Assam was divided into four more states to become one of the seven sister states in the 1960s and 1970s.

Assam – Tourist Destinations

Assam, a land of pleasant contrast and excitement attracts a large number of tourists every year. From the big towns and cities to the remote areas, Assam offers a wide array of attractions. A journey through this picturesque land is bound to cheer up your mind and body and stimulate you to explore more as well as learn more. Important tourist destinations of the state are Guwahati, Dispur, and Tezpur.

Assam – Wildlife

Blessed with nature’s scenic grandeur, Assam has a wealth of rarest and near-extinct wildlife species. Some of the wild species which you can spot in the wildlife sanctuaries and parks are Tigers, Clouded Leopard, Hoolock Gibbon, Golden Langur, Pygmy Hog, Hispid Hare, Swamp Deer, Gangetic Dolphins, White-Winged Wood-duck, etc. Apart from these, several resident and migratory birds make Assam their habitats in winter and other seasons. Most popular wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of Assam include Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri National Park, Orang (Rajiv Gandhi) National Park and Pabitora Sanctuary.

Assam – Arts & Culture

A perfect fusion of heritage of several old races has made Assam the home of a rich art & culture. Art and culture of Assam reflect the true spirit, tradition, and lifestyle of the people of the state. Music, Dance, and several other art forms make an important part of the people of Assam. Also, since time immemorial, the people of Assam have traditionally been master craftsmen. Though the state is known mainly for its fine silk fabric and the bamboo and cane products, you will find several other excellent pieces of crafts here. Some of the popular arts and crafts include Cane and Bamboo, Metal Crafts, Woodcraft, Handlooms, Toys, Pottery, Masks, Jewellery, Terracotta, and Traditional Paintings.

Assam – Cuisine

People of Assam love traditional as well as Indian and continental cuisine. A fusion of indigenous as well as external influences, Assamese cuisine will pamper your taste-buds. Assamese cuisine is characterized by the use of simple ingredients which are very delicious. Rice is a principal component of Assamese cuisine, besides, fermented food is also used widely which has a distinct flavor. Fish and Meat are the favorite food of the Assamese. Vegetable dishes are also liked by a large number of people. Amongst the vegetable dishes, ‘Aloo Pitaka’ is very popular.

Assam – Fairs and Festivals

A land of varied culture and traditions, Assam witnesses several fairs and festivals all through the year. Most of the festivals in Assam have their roots linked to the diverse faith and belief of its inhabitants. Important fairs and festivals are Bihu, Baishagu, Rongker, Ali-ai-Liang, Rongali Utsav, Jonbeel Mela, Majuli Festival, Elephant Festival, Brahmaputra Beach Festival, Dehing Patkai Festival, Baikho, Rajini Gabra & Harni Gabra, Ambhbashi Mela, Bohaggiyo Bishu and Tea Festival.

Assam – Shopping

Rich in traditional handicrafts and locally made items, Assam provides you wonderful shopping experience. While you visit Assam, you can shop a wide range of handicrafts available everywhere from Government Emporia to private shops. In addition to handicrafts, Assam is renowned for its traditional handloom products. Amongst the variety of handlooms, Assam silk is one of the exclusive souvenirs to take back home. Must buy items in Assam include Tea, Silk fabric like – Muga and Paat, Hand made toys, Eri Handloom products, Cane and Bamboo work, Decorative items, Furniture, Bell metal products.

Assam – Climate

Assam’s climate is characterized by high humidity. The climate of Assam is somehow different from the rest of the country, the most distinguishing feature is the copious rainfall between March and May when most parts of Indian territory remain dry. Climatically, the year in Assam can be divided into two main seasons namely winter season and the rainy season. The south-west monsoon starts in the state from mid-June and continues till September. The winter season begins from October and ends by February. In between monsoon and winter seasons, the summer comes for a short duration.

Best time to visit Assam is between October to April.

Assam – Transportation

Airlines: Guwahati airport is the only international airport in the state of Assam. Deccan Air operates an international weekly flight between Guwahati and Bangkok. Apart from Guwahati airport, the state has other airports in Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur and Silchar. Several airlines like Air India, Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Deccan Air and Sahara Airlines operate regular flights from Guwahati to major cities of India.

Railways: An excellent rail network of Indian Railways connects Assam with the rest of the country. Assam is well-connected by railways with the rest of the country. Rajdhani Express and several Super-fast and Express trains run between Delhi and Guwahati. Several trains also run to Guwahati from cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and rest of the country.

Roadways: National Highways and many other roads link Assam with other cities and towns of the country. All the tourist destinations in Assam are well-connected by road network and served by buses and other modes of road transport.

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