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                                                                              Introduction of Assam

'Assam' name itself is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Asoma', meaning peerless. The land of Assam, is in fact, peerless, judging by her exquisite natural beauty, cultural richness and human wealth. Assam has a rich legacy of culture and civilisation behind her. Home to different races of men - Austric, Mongolian, Dravidian, and Aryan, who came to dwell in these hills at different points of time. Assam has developed a composite culture of variegated colour.

Assam, the land of hills and valleys, the land of the mighty river Brahmaputra, the land of Mother Goddess Kamakhya, lies in the northeastern corner of India.

Climate-Assam has four well defined seasons in a year. Summer, monsoon, winter and spring-- these four seasons presents Assam in different moods. The best time to visit Assam is during the winters and spring seasons. October to April offer a mild and moderate climate. Assam is never extremely cold or hot.

Clothing- As the climate of Assam is not very extreme, clothing is very simple. Winters require light woolen clothes and summers can be enjoyed in cotton attires.

This is Assam, a place which lives in different moods in different times. Rows of ancient monuments, temples of pristine charm and ruins of a bygone eras take you through the corridors of time. Assam has drawn people from diverse cultures and races in different points of time. They are the colourful people, weaving fairy tales in dresses, singing and dancing in clouds and sunshine of pastoral life, creating art out of life adding colour to itself.

Exotic denizens of the sylvan world add to the mystery and charm of this weird land. Frolick of apes, graceful elephants, fluttering of wings & singing of birds, migratory birds flying into the hills, the majestic tiger enforcing his authority all invite you to carry back home a little what the heaven is made of. The rhino emerges as if from prehistory and treads the Kaziranga National park. And who can forget lush green Tea gardens which beckon you to have a cup of fresh tea and enjoy the enthralling music of life.

The capital of Assam, is Dispur, a suburb of Guwahati in 1972. The uneven topography of the land, full of hills, plains and rivers might, therefore, have contributed to her name. The Mongolian Ahom dynasty which had ruled Assam for more than six hundred years might also be the cause for her name.

Assam is a land with an illustrious recorded history going back to the 4th century BC. Assam was an independent kingdom throughout all of history till the end of the first quarter of the 19th century when the British conquered the kingdom and annexed it to British India. The current state capital of Assam, Guwahati, known in ancient time as Pragjyotishpura or The Eastern City of Light, was the capital of Kamrup which finds frequent mention in the Great Hindu Epic Mahabharata and other Sanskrit volumes and historical lores. Assam's economy is based on agriculture and oil. Assam produces a significant part of the total tea production of the world. Assam produces more than half of India's petroleum.

Industries :Tea, Petroleum, Handlooms, Sericulture, Cane, Bamboo, Carpentry, Brass, Metal crafts

Crops:Rice, Jute, Tea, Cotton, Oil Seeds, Sugar-cane, Potatoes.

Assam is rich in minerals. It produces 55% of the tea produced in the country. Petroleum products are the other major contribution of the state.

The current political situation in Assam is unstable with United Liberation of Asom (ULFA) fighting a low-intensity but wide-spread guerrilla warfare for independence from India. Although the Indian military has tried to quell the insurgents with a large presence for more than ten years, they have been not very successful. There are other militant groups who are seeking independence or autonomy in Assam.

There have been consistent reports of grave human rights violations in Assam committed primarily by the Indian military. The humidity that is brought into Assam by the southwest monsoons, which shower an average annual rainfall of 120 inches or more on the great Brahmaputra valley and the surrounding region, also create spectacular sunsets during most of the year. The monsoons are Assam's life blood; creating a bio-diversity that can compete with the equatorial rain-forests and painting the region with a thousand shades of green.

    Assam produces almost 400 million kg tea per annum. Assam tea is famous for its rich full bodied, bright liquor. The tea from here is best for those who prefer a strong cup.


                                                            History

Assam's history goes back to ancient times. Assam history has been one of dramatic rises and falls; of assimilation and painful separation. Many people have migrated and invaded the land and its people; and yet nearly all have stayed back. It is the land where the cultures of south asia meets that of south-east asia; where the hills meet the plains. The base of this history can be found in Tantric literature, Buddhist literature, Assamese folklore and Vedic literature.


However, first mention of the state of Assam is found in the epics and the religious legends. The Aryans belonging to the priestly and warrior classes found their way into Assam in very early times. Various places mentioned in the epics, like Mahabharata etc. are now identified with sites in this state.


The first known ruler of  Assam was Mahiranga Danava of Danava dynasty, who was succeeded in turn, in the direct line by Hatakasur, Sambarsur and Ratnasur. After them there was a chief  named Ghatakasur, the ruler of the Kiratas. He made Progjyotishpur (the modern Guwahati) his capital, and settled numerous Brahmans at Kamakhya. Narakasur was killed by Lord Krishna of Dwaraka. Narakasur's successor, Bhagadatta, figured in the Mahabharata war leading a vast army against the Pandavas.


Sri Krishna frequently appears in Assam Mythology. Sri Krishna fought against king Bhismaka of Kundil (now Sadia) in his bid to marry Bhismaka's daughter Rukmini. Another king Banasura of Sonitpur (now Tezpur) fought against Sri Krishna, when Banasura's daughter Usha was secretly married to Anirudh, the grandson of Sri Krishna.


Political History


Historically speaking, the first king who ruled over Kamrupa was Pushya Varman (350-380 AD), who was a contemporary of Samudragupta (350-375 AD). He took on the title of Maharajadhiraj and ensured steps to establish Kamrupa as a frontier state. Mahendra Varman, a descendent of Pushya Varman, was the first king of Kamrupa who waged a successful war against the Gupta army and also the first Varman king who performed the Ashwamedha Yagya. The rule of the Varman dynasty found apex in the rule of Bhaskar Varman (594-650 AD), because it is with the rule of Bhaskar Varman, that a new epoch of Assam history opened.



Harshavardhan
(606-648 AD) was a contemporary of Bhaskar Varman. Harshavardan honoured Bhaskar Varman at a conference held at Kanauj. The dynasty of the Varman kings ended with Bhaskar Varman (650 AD).


The Salasthambha dynasty was the next in the line which began with the reign of a chieftain called Salastambha. Among all the kings of the Salastambha dynasty, it was Shri Harshadeva (725-750 AD) who acquitted himself as a good king. After the last king of this dynasty, Tyaga Singha (970-990), it was Brahmapala (990-1010 AD), who opened the door to a new dynasty - the Pala dynasty. Jayapala (1120-1138 AD) was the last ruler of this dynasty.


The first Mohammedan invasion (1206 &1226 AD) of Kamrupa took place during the reign of a king called Prithu who was killed in a battle with Illtutmish's son Nassiruddin in 1228. During the second invasion by Ikhtiyaruddin Yuzbak or Tughril Khan, about 1257 AD, the king of Kamrupa Saindhya (1250-1270AD) transferred the capital 'Kamrup Nagar' to Kamatapur in the west. From then onwards, Kamata's ruler was called Kamateshwar. During the last part of 14th century, Arimatta was the ruler of Gaur (the northern region of former Kamatapur) who had his capital at Vaidyagar. And after the invasion of the Mughals in the 15th century many Muslims settled in this State and can be said to be the first Muslim settlers of this region.


Chutia Kingdom
During the early part of the 13th century, when the Ahoms established their rule over Assam with the capital at Sibsagar, the Sovansiri area and the area by the banks of the Disang  river were under the control of the Chutias. According to popular Chutia legend, Chutia king Birpal established his rule at Sadia in 1189 AD. He was succeeded by ten kings of whom the eighth king Dhirnarayan or Dharmadhwajpal, in his old age, handed over his kingdom to his son-in-law Nitai or Nityapal. Later on Nityapal's incompetent rule gave a wonderful chance to the Ahom king Suhungmung or Dihingia Raja, who annexed it to the Ahom kingdom.


Barobhuyans
The Bhuyans were petty chief who had their principalities towards the east of Kamrup-Kamata area. The title 'Baro' is a title of honour given to twelve chieftains who, even though were not kings, established kingdoms which were small on the basis of their strength. They took up arms against the Ahoms also, but it was the Ahom king Pratap Singha who crushed the rebellion of the Baro Bhuyans.


Koch Kingdom
Bishwa Singha (1515-1540) laid the foundation of the Koch dominion over Kamata kingdom in the early part  of the 16th century and established his capital in Cooch-Bihar. He was succeeded by his son Malladeva who took the name Naranarayana. His brother Sukladhvaj became his commander-in-chief. He was also called 'Chilarai' or 'Kite King' because of his ability to attack the enemy like a Chila (hawk or Kite). Naranarayan's rule was the most glorious epoch of Koch kingdom. It was during his reign that the Ahoms suffered defeat in 1562. Chilarai also annexed the Kachari kingdom, Manipur, Tripura, Jayantia and Srihatta and extended its boundaries. Then again there was a battle with the Nawab of Gour. During that time Chilarai was attacked by small-pox and died on the banks of the Gangas.


Naranarayan died in 1584 after a reign of nearly fifty years (1540-1584). During his rule, the power of the Koch kings reached its zenith. Naranarayan's rule is remarkable, for it was during his reign that the Assamese literature and culture flourished, which was inaugurated by Srimanta Sankardeva. After the death of Naranarayan, the Koch kingdom was not able to retain its glory. Consequently the Afghans and the Mughals took advantage and in 1615, the Koch kingdom was annexed to the Mughal Empire.


Kachari Kingdom


The early part of the 13th century saw the rise of the Kachari kingdom, one of the ancient races of Assam. The powerful kings of the Kachari Kingdom were Jashanarayan, Pratapnarayan, Jamradwaj and Govindchandra. The Kacharis claim descent from Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima. Towards the end of the 15th century the Kacharis had to surrender their capital Hidimbapur (now Dimapur) and the areas adjoining it to the Ahoms.


The third and the final invasion of the Kachari kingdom took place in 1803, when their king Krishna Chandra refused to send back the Moamarias to the Ahom king. The last king of the Kachari kingdom was Gobind Chandra (1813-1830).


Jayantia Kingdom
Jayantia was a matriarchal race which had established their kingdom in and around Jayantia hills. Dhanamanik and Jashamanik were the powerful kings of the Jayantia Kingdom. They forged matrimonial relations with the Ahoms and fought alongside during the invasion of the Mughals. One of their rulers, Jashomatta Rai was the contemporary of the Ahom king Nariya Raja (1644-1648). He claimed back the possession of Dimoria, Gobha, Nellie and Khola principalities which led to the souring of the relations between the Jayantias and Ahoms. Bijaynarayan was the last Jayantia ruler after whom the kingdom passed into the hands of the British along with the Ahom kingdom.


Harshavardhan (606-648 AD) was a contemporary of Bhaskar Varman. Harshavardan honoured Bhaskar Varman at a conference held at Kanauj. The dynasty of the Varman kings ended with Bhaskar Varman (650 AD).


The Salasthambha dynasty was the next in the line which began with the reign of a chieftain called Salastambha. Among all the kings of the Salastambha dynasty, it was Shri Harshadeva (725-750 AD) who acquitted himself as a good king. After the last king of this dynasty, Tyaga Singha (970-990), it was Brahmapala (990-1010 AD), who opened the door to a new dynasty - the Pala dynasty. Jayapala (1120-1138 AD) was the last ruler of this dynasty.


The first Mohammedan invasion (1206 &1226 AD) of Kamrupa took place during the reign of a king called Prithu who was killed in a battle with Illtutmish's son Nassiruddin in 1228. During the second invasion by Ikhtiyaruddin Yuzbak or Tughril Khan, about 1257 AD, the king of Kamrupa Saindhya (1250-1270AD) transferred the capital 'Kamrup Nagar' to Kamatapur in the west. From then onwards, Kamata's ruler was called Kamateshwar. During the last part of 14th century, Arimatta was the ruler of Gaur (the northern region of former Kamatapur) who had his capital at Vaidyagar. And after the invasion of the Mughals in the 15th century many Muslims settled in this State and can be said to be the first Muslim settlers of this region.  


Chutia Kingdom
During the early part of the 13th century, when the Ahoms established their rule over Assam with the capital at Sibsagar, the Sovansiri area and the area by the banks of the Disang  river were under the control of the Chutias. According to popular Chutia legend, Chutia king Birpal established his rule at Sadia in 1189 AD. He was succeeded by ten kings of whom the eighth king Dhirnarayan or Dharmadhwajpal, in his old age, handed over his kingdom to his son-in-law Nitai or Nityapal. Later on Nityapal's incompetent rule gave a wonderful chance to the Ahom king Suhungmung or Dihingia Raja, who annexed it to the Ahom kingdom.


Barobhuyans
The Bhuyans were petty chief who had their principalities towards the east of Kamrup-Kamata area. The title 'Baro' is a title of honour given to twelve chieftains who, even though were not kings, established kingdoms which were small on the basis of their strength. They took up arms against the Ahoms also, but it was the Ahom king Pratap Singha who crushed the rebellion of the Baro Bhuyans. 


Koch Kingdom
Bishwa Singha (1515-1540) laid the foundation of the Koch dominion over Kamata kingdom in the early part  of the 16th century and established his capital in Cooch-Bihar. He was succeeded by his son Malladeva who took the name Naranarayana. His brother Sukladhvaj became his commander-in-chief. He was also called 'Chilarai' or 'Kite King' because of his ability to attack the enemy like a Chila (hawk or Kite). Naranarayan's rule was the most glorious epoch of Koch kingdom. It was during his reign that the Ahoms suffered defeat in 1562. Chilarai also annexed the Kachari kingdom, Manipur, Tripura, Jayantia and Srihatta and extended its boundaries. Then again there was a battle with the Nawab of Gour. During that time Chilarai was attacked by small-pox and died on the banks of the Gangas.


Naranarayan died in 1584 after a reign of nearly fifty years (1540-1584). During his rule, the power of the Koch kings reached its zenith. Naranarayan's rule is remarkable, for it was during his reign that the Assamese literature and culture flourished, which was inaugurated by Srimanta Sankardeva. After the death of Naranarayan, the Koch kingdom was not able to retain its glory. Consequently the Afghans and the Mughals took advantage and in 1615, the Koch kingdom was annexed to the Mughal Empire.


Kachari Kingdom
The early part of the 13th century saw the rise of the Kachari kingdom, one of the ancient races of Assam. The powerful kings of the Kachari Kingdom were Jashanarayan, Pratapnarayan, Jamradwaj and Govindchandra. The Kacharis claim descent from Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima. Towards the end of the 15th century the Kacharis had to surrender their capital Hidimbapur (now Dimapur) and the areas adjoining it to the Ahoms.


The third and the final invasion of the Kachari kingdom took place in 1803, when their king Krishna Chandra refused to send back the Moamarias to the Ahom king. The last king of the Kachari kingdom was Gobind Chandra (1813-1830).


Jayantia Kingdom
Jayantia was a matriarchal race which had established their kingdom in and around Jayantia hills. Dhanamanik and Jashamanik were the powerful kings of the Jayantia Kingdom. They forged matrimonial relations with the Ahoms and fought alongside during the invasion of the Mughals. One of their rulers, Jashomatta Rai was the contemporary of the Ahom king Nariya Raja (1644-1648). He claimed back the possession of Dimoria, Gobha, Nellie and Khola principalities which led to the souring of the relations between the Jayantias and Ahoms. Bijaynarayan was the last Jayantia ruler after whom the kingdom passed into the hands of the British along with the Ahom kingdom.


Ahom Rule
The 13th century witnessed the advent of the Ahoms, led by their first king Sukafa who was the prince of Monlung of Upper Burma (now Myanmar). In the early 13th century he together with a band of followers settled in the Patkai mountains. In 1228 he entered the boundaries of Assam through the Naga Kingdom. He formed his capital at Charaideo in 1253. The base for 600 years of Ahom rule was set up by Sukafa. Sukafa died in1268 AD. His son Suseupha (1268-1281) succeeded and extended the boundaries of the Ahom kingdom from the area adjoining Dikhow river at Namdang river. In 1397 Sudangpha (1397-1407) was crowned as king. His accession marks the first stage in the growth of Brahmanical influence amongst the Ahoms. A war between Ahoms and Tipams took place during his reign but was later on peacefully concluded.
It was Suhungmung's reign (1497-1539) which is counted as one of the most memorable in 600 years of Ahom rule. He assumed the Hindu name Swarganarayan. He was popularly known as Dihingia Raja, because he shifted the Ahom capital to Bokota near Dihing river. He annexed the Chutia and the Kachari territories to the Ahom domains. He created a third class of Ministers: Borgohain, Buragohain and Borpatra Gohain. It was during his reign that the first ever census took place. The economic scenario of the State was also comprehensively surveyed. During his reign, the Mughals invaded thrice but they could not taste victory. This invasion taught Ahoms the use of gunpower, which was a deviation from the traditional system of warfare which comprised of bows, arrows and swords.

The Mughal invasion had another positive effect; the Mughals who were taken as prisoner of war were settled in different areas of Assam. Later on, they came to be popularly known as "Morias". Srimanta Sankardev got full impetus to preach his Vaishnava Dharma during the rule of Swarganarayan. In 1539 AD he died at the hands of a Kachari servant as a result of a conspiracy hatched by his son Suklengmung (1539-1552), who after becoming king, shifted the capital to Gargoan from Bokota which is why he is called 'Gargainya Raja'. Plenty of battles between Ahoms and the Koch took place during his reign. Under his supervision 'Gargaon Pukhuri', a pond, was dug and a road named 'Naga Ali' was constructed.

Susengpha, a descendant of Suklengmung, ascended the throne in 1603. He took on the name of Pratap Singha. It was during his time that war between Ahoms and Mughals reached its peak and needless to say that Pratap Singha acquitted himself with full honours and was able to extend the boundaries of the state. He created a new post of Barphukan to look after the administration of the areas beyond Kaliabor. The three classes of ministers Buragohain, Borgohain and Borpatra Gohain had their well defined areas to rule and those part of the kingdom which did not fall under their jurisdiction were brought under the control of Barbaruah, a new post created during the rule of Pratap Singha. Momai Tamuli Barbaruah was the first official to hold this post. Pratap Singha tried his level best to upgrade the life of citizens. He also introduced Pyke (common rayat) system. Under this system, people were divided into groups of 1000, 100 and 20, and over groups- officials Hazarika, Saikia and Bora were elected. Creation of other posts like Rohiyal Barua, Jagiyal Gohain, Kajalimukhiya Gohain is also credited to him. For his organizational capability, political acumen and his great wisdom, he is also known as Buddhi Swarganarayan.

Supungmung or Chakradhvaj Singha (1663- 1669) was an independent minded king who prepared himself for another fight against the Mughals. He enlisted the help of Lachit Barphukan, who was the son of Momai Tamuli Barbaruah. In August 1667, under the excellent leadership of Lachit Barphukan, the Ahoms were able to get back Guwahati and Pandu. Hearing the news of this defeat Aurangzeb sent a huge force with Ramsingh to attack the Ahom kingdom once again. A fierce battle took place between the Ahoms and the Mughals in 1671 at Saraighat. As expected, the Mughals suffered an ignominious defeat. Consequently in the west the Manas river became the demarcation line between the Ahom and Mughal territories and remained so until the British occupation in 1826 AD.

Supatpha or Gadapani who assumed the Hindu name Gadadhar Singha (1681-1696), waged a war against the Mughals which is also famously known as Itakhulir Rann (war of Itakhuli) and captured back Guwahati from the Mughals. He was a Shaivite and to help propagate this form of Hindu worship he built 'Umananda Devaloi' at Guwahati. He also built the 'Dhodar Ali', a road near Golaghat . Gadadhar Singha's eldest son Lai succeeded him. He took on the Hindu name of Rudra Singha (1696-1714) and the Ahom name Sukrumpha. In the honour of the memory of his mother Joymoti, he dug the Joysagar tank. Other architectural monuments and structures accredited to him are Kareng Ghar, stone bridge built over the Namdang river, Kharikatia Ali, Metaka Ali. Rudra Singha gave royal patronage to 'Bihu'. He also created Khels or positions like Khaund, Kotoki, Bairagi, Doloi, Kakoti.

In (1714-1744) Sutanpha, son of Rudra Singha took on the Hindu name of Siva Singha. He became a Shakti worshipper, as he was initiated in the tenets of the Shakti cult by Krishnaram Bhattacharya, who was later on installed as head priest of Kamakhya temple which is situated atop the Nilachal Hills. Siva Singha was a weak person who relied heavily on astrologers which explains the fact that when an astrologer told him that he was in danger of being dethroned, he installed his Queen Phuleswari, who assumed the name Pramateswari (one of the name Durga), as Bor Raj, or chief king, thus engineering the beginning of the end of the Ahom Dynasty. Phuleswari was an orthodox Shakti worshiper who persecuted the Moamoria Mahantas by forcibly making them to take prasad of Durga worship and anointing their foreheads with sacrificial blood. This resulted in the famous Moamoria rebellion. After Phuleswari died in 1731, Siva Singha married her sister Drupadi or Deopadi and made her the next Bor Raja, with the name Ambika. She was the one who constructed the Shiva Dol (temple) at Sibsagar, which is the highest Shiva temple in Assam. It was during her reign that 'Dhai Ali' was constructed at Sibsagar. Gauri Sagar tank and Sibsagar tank were dug at the instruction of 'Bor Raja' Phuleswari and Ambika respectively

The Rule of British
In the beginning, the people welcomed the British with open arms because they were seen as saviour. The Assamese had suffered more than enough on account of the Burmese invasion, Moamoria rebellion, downfall of the Ahom kingdom. The British however, saw it as a golden opportunity to annex Assam to the vast British empire which consisted of almost the whole of India. The Pyke system was alive and the post were filled up with non-Assamese, which did not go down well with the people, specially the intellectuals. The plans were afoot to overthrow the British yoke and re-establish the Ahom rule.

The first notable revolt against the British was led by Dhananjay Borgohain and Gumadhar Konwar in 1828. Gumadhar Konwar was sentenced to seven years in prison and Dhananjay Borgohain who was ordered to be hanged, fled to the Matak kingdom. There he together with his sons Harakanta and Haranath, son-in-law Jeuram Dulia Baruah, Piyoli Barphukan, Rupchand and many others secretly set up a plan to attack Rangpur. But before they could execute the plans, Sadiya Khowa Gohain informed the British of their plans, because he wanted to prove his loyalty to the British. Piyoli Barphukan and Jeuram Dulia Baruah were hanged to death in 1830 and the rest were expelled from the country. Thus Assam passed into the hands of the British. Besides Assam, they annexed Khamtis, Singhpho, Matak, Kachari, Naga, Garo, Luchai and other hilly kingdoms to the ever growing empire.

The time had come when the people decided to take matters in their own hands. The famous revolt of 1857, found an echo in Assam under the leadership of Maniram Dewan and Piyoli Barua, who were consequently hanged in 1558. The British dispensed justice in a high handed manner, without making any distinction between the innocent and the guilty. Sir Holroyd had this to say in connection with the innocents pleading for fair trial that, "We will hang you first, try you afterwards."

On the other hand, the British sought to clamp to linguistic freedom of the natives by introducing Bengali as the medium of instruction in 1837. It was an unsuccessful attempt since the unstinted efforts by the American Baptist Missionaries, and front ranking personalities of the day like Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, Hemchandra Baruah, Gunabhiram Baruah that Assamese regained its place as the medium of instruction in 1873. During those days Calcutta was the Mecca of higher learning. The educated Assamese thought it was important that the element of cohesiveness should rejoin the social fabric of the state, so that the fight for liberty could percolate to every strata of the society. In 1884 Jagannath Baruah formed the first such organisation and named it Sarbajanik Sabha at Jorhat. In 1916 the Assam Chatra Sanmilan and in 1917 Assam Sahitya Sabha(formerly known as Sadou Asom Sahitya Sanmilani) was formed. It was followed by Assam Association formed by Manik Chandra Baruah. In 1919, this particular association joined the Assam branch of Indian National Congress.

In 1919-20 like the rest of the country Assam also plunged into the non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhiji. Assam's participation in the national wave dates back to 1886 at the second session of Indian National Congress held at Calcutta, where Debi Chandra Baruah, Gopinath Bordoloi, Kamini Kumar Chandra, Bipin Chandra Pal, Satyanath Baruah, Joy Gobindasom represented Assam. The year 1912 is a memorable year is the annals of Assam history because of three things, which were: (1) Gandhiji's visit to Assam, (2) Strikes by Assam Bengal train service and steamer companies, which were the cause of widespread unrest and (3) After a period of 63 years i.e., in 1912, Assam passed into the hands of a Governor, thus paving the way for a dual administration, which lasted till 1936.

Assam joined the rest of the country in the Civil Disobedience movement of 1930 launched by Gandhiji. In 1935 self goverance in Assam was introduced. Assam plunged into the Quit India Movement in 1942 which was also popularly known as Peoples' Revolution.

The first Governor of Independent Assam was Sir Akbar Haidari and Chief Minister was Gopinath Bordoloi who saw the foundations laid of Gauhati University (1948), Gauhati High Court (1948), Guwahati Station of All India Radio.


 



                                Geographical Data

 Assam State of northeast India (Area: 78,400 sq km/30,262 sq mi)  Situated between 90-96 degree East Longitute and 24-28 degree North Latitude, Assam is bordered in the North and East by the Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Along the south lies Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram. Meghalaya lies to her South-West, Bengal and Bangladesh to her West.

Capital: Dispur (a suburb of  Guwahati) 

Towns and cities: Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Silchar 

Industries: half of India's oil produced here; coal, petrochemicals, paper, cement 

Agriculture: half of India's tea grown here; rice, jute, sugar, cotton 

Population: (1994 est) 24,200,000, including 12 million Assamese (Hindus), 5 million Bengalis (chiefly Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh), Nepalis, and 2 million indigenous people (Christian and traditional religions) 

Language: Assamese , English.


                                   Monuments of Assam

Sibsagar

Kareng Ghar & Talatal Ghar - These historical monuments were built by King Rudra Singha during 1696-1714 AD was the military station of the Ahom Kings. It is a seven storied palace having three storeys underground- known as Talatal Ghar and the the upper storeys known as Kareng Ghar. The entire structure are of historical and architectural interest.

Rang Ghar- This amphitheatre was built by King Pramatta Singha. This two storeyed oval shaped pavilion is one of the largest of its kind in Asia.

Kamakhya Temple- Situated on Nilachala hill 10 km from the Guwahati Railway station, is one of the most important religious places in the country. It attracts a very large number of worshippers from all over the country. The temple represents Shaktism, a particular phase of religion and is regarded as belonging to a goddess which represents the pro-culture aspect of nature. Pilgrims from Nepal and Bangladesh also come to the temple to worship Mother Goddess. The scenic beauty of the place which overlooks the river Brahamaputra from the temple and hill are added attractions.

Hajo (Guwahati)


Batadrawa Satra and Shrine :- 14 kms from Nagaon town, Batadrawa is the birthplace of famous Vaishnava reformer Sankerdeva.

Barpeta Satra and Kirtanghar :- This famous Shrine and Kirtanghar attracts Vaishanavas from all over India. It was established by Madhadeva, the greatest disciple of Shankerdeva.

Kamakhya and Bhubaneswari Temple :- This temple is on the top of the Nilachal hill some eight kms from Guwahati. This temple is dedicated to Shaktism and the different sculptures in the temple premises date back from eighth to seventeenth century. Devotees from all over India converge on this holy place during Ambubachi Mela and Manasha Puja.

Navagraha Temple :- As the name indicates, this temple is dedicated to the nine planets in the solar system. It is situated on Chitrachal hill in Guwahati and is a center of astrological and astronomical research.

Vasistha Ashram :- This Ashram is 16 kms from Guwahati and is believed to have been established by the great Sage Vasistha. It is located on the Sandhyachal hills. The ashram has a bestowing charm of its own. It is an important pilgrimage with rivulets Sandhya, Lalita and Kanta converging here.

Umananda Temple :- The great Shiva temple situated on the pea-cock island in the middle of Brahamaputra in Guwahati attracts devotees from all over the country during the Shivaratri celebrations.

Hayagriva-Madhab Temple :- Hajo, about 20 Kms. from Guwahati is the meeting place of Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. It is an important pilgrimage for Hindus and Buddhists both.

Poa Macca :-At Hajo itself there is this Poa Macca. It is a pilgrimage for Muslims. It is believed that by offering prayers here a faithful gains one fourth spiritual enlightenment of what could be gained at Macca.

Shivadol :- It is the tallest Shiva temple in North East India. It is located in Sibsagar. This temple is on the banks of a huge lake where thousands of migratory birds are seen during winter.

Dargah of Ajan Pir :- The dargah of Muslim saint Shah Aulia alias Ajan Fakir, who led a Muslim reform movement in Assam, is a revered place of pilgrimage for the Muslims and Hindus alike.This is in a place known as Sahaguri Chapari near Sibsagar.

Maha Bhairav Temple :- Dedicated to Lord Shiva this temple is the oldest Shiva shrine in the region. It is located in Tezpur town.

Other Places of religious importance

Navagraha Temple
Basistha Temple
Balaji Temple


                             Festivals of Assam

Assam is a land of fairs and festivals. Most of the festivals celebrated in Assam have their roots in the diverse faith and belief of her inhabitants, but a spirit of accommodation and togetherness characterizes the celebration of all festivals.

The perfect fusion of heritage of her numerous races has made Assam the home of the most colorful festivals which are passionate, compelling and mesmerizing reflecting the true spirit, tradition and lifestlye of the people of Assam.

Six festivals are organised by the Department of Tourism, Govt. of Assam, every year to encourage tourists to visit Assam. They are given below:

 

Majuli Festival 21st - 24th November
Elephant Festival 11th February - 17th February
Brahmaputra Beach Festival (Dates to be announced)
Dehing Patkai Festival
16t h- 19th January
Tea Festival
(Dates to be announced)
Rongali Utsav 
(The Spring Festival) 28th - 30th April


Besides these, the major festivals celebrated in Assam are Bihu, Baishagu, Ali-Ai-Ligang, Baikho, Rongker, Rajini Gabra Harni Gabra, Bohaggiyo Bishu, Ambubashi Mela and Jonbill Mela and so on.
The people of Assam also celebrate Holi, Durga Puja, Diwali, Swaraswati Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja, Idd, Muharram, Me-Dam-Me-Phi, the birth and death anniversaries of Vaishnava Saints Srimanta Sankardev and Madhabdev.

 

The tribals of Assam have their own colourful festivals like the Kherai Puja of the Bodos, the Baikhu and Pharkantis of the Rabhas, Ali-ai-ligang and Parag of the Mishing tribe, the Sagra-misawa wansawa and laghun of the Tiwas.

The Ahoms of Tai origin celebrate Me-Dum-Me-Phi on the 31st of January annually.
The Ojapali dances of non-Vaishnavite origin are usually associated with the Serpent Goddess Manasa.

Bathow festival is celebrated by the Kacharis through sacrifice of goats and chickens. The Boros of the plains in general have an intricate pattern of indigenous dances associated with the primitive rituals like Kherai Puja. The Dimasas celebrate Rangi Gobra and Harni Gobra at the start of the cropping cycle for prosperity to ward off calamities. The Deoris observe Bohagiya visu- the Spring time festival.

Brahmaputra Beach Festival

Coinciding with Magh Bihu, the Assamese harvest festival, this event offers you a scintillating outdoor experience. Held on the beautiful, white riverine beaches of the river Brahmaputra, it is a perfect blend of traditional contests like elephant race, kite flying and modern adventure sports like wind surfing, rafting, canoeing, kayaking, para-dropping, hot air ballooning, beach volleyball and beach cricket.

Dehing Patkai Festival
  
This festival in eastern Assam derives its name from the lofty Patkai range and the playful Dehing river. It is a heady cocktail of ethnic fairs, golfing, tea heritage tours, adventures sports, wildlife excursion and down-mwmory-lane trips to World War II cemeteries and the Stilwell Road, once the passage to the golden land of Myanmar. It is organized in the month of January every year.

Tea Festival
Celebrated every year in Jorhat, this festival is all about tea, music and merriment. A world of festivity with traditional hospitality, jungle safaris, tea garden visits, golf, local cuisine, rafting in turbulent rivers, angling, shopping and cultural extravaganza. A harmonious blend of business and pleasure. Come and meet the warm hearted people of Assam and savour Assam's beauty and cultural diversity.

Elephant Festival   
For conservation and protection of Asiatic elephant a festival is organized every year at Kaziranga National Park jointly by the Forest Department and Tourism Department, Govt. of Assam. The festival includes many activities

 

For further details contact:
Director of Tourism
Govt. of Assam
Phone : +91-361-2542748 / 2547102

Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd.
Dr. B.Baruah Road
Guwahati - 781 007
Phone : +91- 361-2454421/2454570

 

                                    SANCTUARY OF ASSAM

Kaziranga National Park (430 sq. kilometers)
Kaziranga park is the oldest national park in Assam. This park is known for the great one horned rhinoceros . But among the tall elephant grass and rugged reeds, marshes & shallow pools are hidden many other animals. These animals are very much part of the complex ecological balance of the park. Elephants, Indian bison, Swamp Deer, Sambar, Hog Deer, sloth Bear, Tiger, Leopard. Leopard Cat, Jungle Cat, Hog Badger, Capped Langur, Hoolock Gibbon, Jackal, Goose, Hornbill, Ibis, Cormorants, Egret, Heron Fishing Eagle and many more. All these are joined by a number of migratory birds during winters.

The scenic national park supports all of them with grace and style. Kaziranga was declared a national park in 1974. This park is partly in Golaghat district and partly in Nagaon district. It is 217 kms from Guwahati and 96 kms from Jorhat and 87 km from Tezpur by road. One can fly to the Rowaria airport in Jorhat and from there take a taxi to the park. The nearest rail head is that of Furkating.

The tourism department of Assam organises a conducted tour on every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Reservations for these tours can be made at the Tourism office in Guwahati. Due to the presence of elephant grass Kaziranga national park is best seen from the elephant back.

The best season to visit Kaziranga is between November to April. This is the period when park is full of greenery, monsoon has just ended and animals wake up from slumber. Being moderately cold animals are mainly basking and lazing in the sun, thus they are easily spotted. One needs to carry woolens in winters and light cotton cloths in summers. There are good accommodation facilities in and around the park

. Assam Tourist Lodge and Wild Grass Resort (Pvt.) at Kaziranga Park provide excellent accomodation. There are other private lodges and hotels near the park. Also, inspection bungalows of the forest department can be hired for staying near the park.

Manas National Park
While Kaziranga is known for the Rhinoceros, Manas National Park is famous for the Majestic Tigers. This park is the only Project Tiger in Assam. The sub-Himalayan hills forms the back drop of this park. The scenic beauty and rare wealth of wild life combine with this unique world heritage site to offer one of the most enthralling experiences. The core area of Manas Park is 360 kms. Hispid Hare, Pigmy Hog and Golden Langur are some of the rare species of animals to be found in the park apart from the Tiger. Elephants, Rhinoceros, Wild Buffalo, Wild Boar, Sambar, Swamp Deer, Hog Deer are some of the animals which are easily spotted at this park. Come winter and Manas is full of Migratory birds like the Riverchats, Forktails, Cormorants and ducks like the Ruddy Shelduck. There are regular woodland birds like the Indian Hornbill and Pied Hornbill.

Manas Park is 176 kms from Guwahati. The nearest airport is Borjhar, Guwahati. The nearest rail head is Barpeta road. As for the accommodation tourism department has two tourist lodges. One at Barpeta Road and other at the Bansbari. The state forest department also has two bungalows at Mathanguri, which is inside the forest. Mark that there are no catering facilities hence tourists have to carry their foodstuff from Barpeta Road. These can be got cooked by chefs at the lodges.

Orang Wild life Sanctuary
Popularly known as mini Kaziranga, Orang national park covers 72 sq kms only and is located towards the north bank of Brahamaputra. This park is 150 kms from Guwahati and 32 kms from Tezpur. The nearest railhead is Saloni & Rangapara is the closest railhead. The park has only a small rest house so it is better to stay at Tezpur and visit this park. Pabha or Milroy Sanctuary :- Located in Lakhimpur Dist., Pabha Sanctuary spreads in an area of 49 sq. kms.

This Sanctuary was created to protect the wild water buffalo. Details can be obtained from the Chief Conservator of forest, Wildlife, Zoo- Narengi Road, Guwahati- Assam. Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary :- Slightly larger than the Pabha Sanctuary, Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary covers an area of 175 sq. kms. It is located along the foothills of Himalayas in Sonitpur District. This park combines scenic beauty with the exotic wildlife. It is the home for Elephant, Indian Bison and many other species of birds & animals.

Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary
It is situated in the Nagaon Dist. This park has a small area of 60 sq. kms. Laokhowa wildlife Sanctuary is just 15 kms from Nagoan town so the park can be visited while staying at Nagaon. This park is famous for one horned Rhinos, wild buffalo, Swamp deer and many varieties of birds.

Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary
Famous for wild horses.This sanctuary is a safe haven for extremely rare white winged wood duck and many migratory birds. Speciality of Dibru Saikhowa is it's wild horses, called Feral Horses. Margherita- 14 kms east of Digboi, this is the centre of Tea Gardens, Plywood factories and coal mines. Namdapha National Park- 100 km east of Digboi in Arunachal Pradesh beyond Margherita is a true wilderness--not widely known and is a vast stretch of enchanting beauty of lush green vegetation.

Other Wildlife Sanctuaries and Forest Reserves
Pobitora wildlife sanctuary(Guwahati), Nagaon Dist. Namber Wildlife sanctuary, Golaghat Dist. Barnadi Game Reserve, North Kamrup Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, Tinsukia Dist. Pani Dihing Bird Sanctuary, Sibsagar Dist.



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