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Assam

Assam

Assam the land of Brahamaputra, one of the most predominant rivers in the world. Being a Trans boundary river it starts the journey as the Tsangpo, near the sacred Mt Kailash in South Western Tibet and flows through the mountainous Tibet ,forming the deepest and the largest canyon of the world namely, Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon .After flowing at an average altitude of 4000 mts in Tibet the river takes the course to Arunachal Pradesh where he is named as Siang , and further passes through Assam where it joins with other two major rivers Dibang and Luit along with many other tributaries, and the river creates the fertile Brahamapurta Valley in Assam. Further down in Bangladesh the river is known as Jamuna and merges with river Ganges ,flows further down as two great rivers as Padma and Meghna after forming the largest delta at Sundarbans it merges into the Bay of Bengal. This mighty river completes its journey of 2900 kms from its source to its confluence.

Assam, as a destination corresponds to a world of contrasts and excitement with each place of the state having something amazing to offer. Some people call it a magic land while others call it a green paradise.

The State of Assam is one of the most beautiful regions of India. There is hardly any other state which has greater variety and colour in its natural scenery and in the cultural treasures of the people that inhabit it.

Guwahati:

Hugging the shores of the turbulent Brahmaputra, Guwahati is the gateway to the enchanting North Eastern India. The Light of the East, Pragjyotishpura, as it was known once upon a time, is said to have been a vast kingdom during the epic period of the Mahabharata. Today, Guwahati is the hub of the region and also its largest city.

Sualkuchi:

Assam produces three unique varieties of silks, the Golden Muga, the White Pat and the warm Eri. Silks grown all over the state find their way to Sualkuchi, 32 kms from Guwahati. Sualkuchi is one of the world's largest weaving villages often called the Manchester of the East. The entire population here is engaged in weaving exquisite silk fabrics. A renowned centre for silk production, particularly known for Muga - the golden silk of Assam which is not produced anywhere else in the world.

Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary:

A wildlife reserve spreaded over 38.8 sq km of area in Marigaon district, located 30 kms. east of Guwahati.It has a dense population of one-horned Rhinoceros. Besides Rhinoceros the other animals are Leopard, Wild boar, Barking deer, etc. Assamís Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to more than 2000 migratory birds and various reptiles. It is also an Important Bird Area.

Hajo:

Located 32 kms. from Guwahati on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, it is a place where three religions meet - Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. It has a large number of temples, the chief among them being Hayagriva-Madhab Temple. There is a belief that this temple contains the relic of Lord Buddha, while a section of the Buddhist hold that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. Large number of Bhutanese visit this temple every year during the winter season.There is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims here known as Poa-Mecca.

According to mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in this region during their agyatvas or the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima during the agyatvas.

Kaziranga National Park:

Kaziranga National Park is situated in the Golaghat District of Assam .It covers an area of 470 sq. kms. This is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kaziranga is situated on the flood plains of Brahmaputra and is the haven to some of the most exotic and endemic wildlife in the World. Most important of all is Indian One Horned Rhinoceros. The forest consists of tall dense grasslands, open woodlands, streams and wetlands. . The park is divided into 4 ranges. The Eastern or the Agoratoli range covers the eastern part with woodland interspersed with grassland and wetlands. The Kohora range covers the central part and it is most easily accessible. The Baguri range covers the western part of the Park and has the highest rhinoceros density. Burhapahar, 4th range, covers the first additional area attached to the Park. First three ranges are open for the visitors. Kaziranga is a birding paradise with a checklist of almost 500 species. Key species include Bengal Florican, Swamp Francolin, Pale-capped Pigeon, Great and Wreathed Hornbill, Jerdon's Baza, Slender-billed Vulture, Pallasís Fishing Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Pied Harrier, Oriental Hobby, Greater Adjutant Stork, Hodgsonís Bushchat, Rufous-vented Prinia, Marsh Babbler, Jerdonís Babbler, and Black-breasted Parrotbill.

"Big Five" - the elephant, rhinoceros, wild buffalo, tiger and Swamp Deer are found in Kaziranga. A total of about 50 species of mammals are found in the park, which includes rare animals like Gangetic Dolphin, Chinese Pangolin, Hoolock Gibbon, Hog-Badger and Parti-coloured Flying Squirrel. 39 reptiles make the list and include the endangered Gharial and the rare Assam Roofed Turtle. Both Reticulated and Rock Pythons are found here.

Jorhat & Gibbons sanctuary:

Jorhat is one of the most important agricultural township in Assam.The town is a Jewel in the crown amidst the lush green tea gardens.It is the tea capital of Assam. Research and experimentation on new variety of tea and its therapeutic use is done here.

Gibbons Sanctuary is adjacent to Jorhat, spreaded over a small area of 20 hecters of area in the south bank of Brahamaputra .The sanctuary consists of evergreen rain forest and surrounded by tea gardens. It is named after the endangered ďHoolock Gibbons.Ē

Hoolock Gibbons are the only existing ape in India. Apart from Gibbons Stump tailed Macaque, Pig-tailed Macaque,Resus Macaque,Assamese Macaque, Capped Langur and the Slow loris are found here.This small sanctuary has got enormous importance to the nature lovers from all over the world since this is the habitat for seven species of primates and most of them are endemic.

Majuli:

Assam is famous for Majuli, the world's largest river island. Majuli situated in the midst of river Brahmaputra, is the centre of Vishnava culture. The total area of Majuli has been steadily decreasing due to strong erosion of the river Brahmaputra. The area of the island has reduced from 2,82,165 acres in 1853 to less than 886 sq. kms today.

There are over fifteen Vaishnava monasteries or satras on Majuli. The major satras are Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari, Auniati, Garmur, Samoguri, Dakhinpat and Bengenaati. These satras are regarded as the main centres for Assamese art, music, dance, drama, handicrafts, literature and religion etc. Auniati is famous for its considerable collection of Assamese old utensils, jewellery and handicrafts.

Upper Majuli is inhabited by tribes like the Mising and the Deoris and is the centre of a living heritage of colourful costumes and festivals.

Plenty of migratory birds of great varieties are also found here.

Sibsagar:

Sibsagar is 369 kms. towards the east of Guwahati and is the headquarters of a district of the same name. It is also a leading tea and oil producing district. The Eastern Regional Headquarter of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission is located at Nazira, 18 kms. from Sibsagar. Modern Sibsagar is a fast developing town.

Sibsagar was the capital of the Ahoms who ruled Assam at a stretch for six hundreds years before the advent of the British. It is a beautiful town located around the huge Sibsagar tank, an artificial lake constructed by Queen Madambika in 1734 A.D. The Shiva dol or Shiva Temple on the bank of this tank is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India.

Manas National Park:

Manas is lying on the foothills of the Himalaya, and has the most stunning and pristine wildlife habitat in India, comparable to the best in the world in the beauty of its spectacular landscape. It is also a UNESCO Natural World Heritage (in danger) site, a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve - a unique distinction. This Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forest Terrestrial Eco-region is also the richest in species of all Indian wildlife areas and the only known home for the rare and endangered Assam Roofed Turtle, Hispid Hare, Golden Langur and Pygmy Hog.

The focus point of Manas National Park is the enchanting Manas River, named after the serpent goddess Manasa. It is the largest Himalayan tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra. Coming down the Bhutan Hills from the north, the crystal clear waters of the Manas river runs through the heart of the 500 sq. km core area of Manas Park.

Situated in the north bank of the Brahmaputra river, in Assam, Manas lies on the international border with Bhutan. It is bounded on the north by the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan, on the south by populous North Kamrup district and on both east and west by buffer forest reserves which are part of 2,840 sq. Km Manas Tiger Reserve.

Vegetation:

The Burma Monsoon Forests of Manas lie on the borders between the Indo-Gangetic and Indo-Malayan bio-geographical realms and is part of the Brahmaputra Valley Biogeographic Province. The combination of Sub-Himalayan Bhabar Terai formation with riverine succession leading up to Sub-Himalayan mountain forest makes it one of the richest biodiversity areas in the world. Two major biomes are represented in Manas ~ the grassland biome and the forest biome.

Fauna:

Manas is the melting point of the west and the east, with many species at the westernmost and easternmost point of their range representing a gateway for species exchanges between the typically Indian and Malayan' faunas. A total of 55 mammals, 50 reptiles and three amphibians have been recorded, several species being endemic. Manas contains 21 of India's Schedule I mammals and at least 33 of its animals listed as threatened, by far the greatest number of any protected area in the country. Some, like the Assam Roofed turtle Kachuga sylhetensis, Golden Langur Presbytis geei, Hispid Hare Caprolagus hispidus, Pygmy Hog Sus salvanius and the only pure strain of Asiatic Wild Buffalo Bubalus arnee, are best seen here.

Bird Life:

The diverse habitat of Manas is ideal home for a variety of specialized birds. Manas boasts the largest population of the endangered Bengal Florican in the world and is also a great place to see the Great Hornbill. The National Park lists around 380 species and the adjoining hilly terrain in Bhutan can easily add a hundred birds to that total. Good birds to look for are Greater Adjutant, Black-tailed Crake, Red-headed Trogon, Swamp Francolin, Wreathed and Rufous-necked Hornbill, Marsh and Jerdon's Babblers, Pied Harrier, Rufous-rumped and Bristled Grassbirds, Hodgson's Bushchat, Rufous-vented Laughingthrush, Finn's Weaver, Ibisbill and a variety of foothills species.

Haflong:

Up in the rugged terrains stands Assam's only hill station, Haflong, where one can see the rainbow down below. It is the district Headquarters of North Cachar Hills.

Hilly Assam is a land of sensuousness. A heaven to the senses where one touches the sweetest dream with one's fingers. The mountains float in the distant sky. The clouds descend and snugly lie below one's feet. The beautiful Haflong Lake is located in the heart of the town.

Jatinga 9 kms. from Haflong, is famous for the unexplained phenomenon of migratory birds 'committing mass suicide'. The migratory birds come during the month of August to November and it becomes the Orinthologists attraction. From the elevated watch tower one can see them yielding to their death wish and their little plumage dropping down. Season to visit is from August to April.

Other attractions include exciting trekking in Borail Hills, watching the traditional dances of the Tribals and a visit to the Orchid Garden.

Orang National Park:

Orang is 140 km drive from Guwahati and situated on the North Bank of Brahamaputra in Udaigiri district of Assam. The park is famous for itís pristinely and scenic beauty. The Park consists of tall grassland, woodland and wetland including the channels and islands of Brahamaputra.

Indian one-horned rhinoceros is the main dominant species among other animals Asiatic elephant, tigers, hog deer, civet, porcupines are found here.Orang is a great destination for bird watchers, a great number of migratory birds along with some endemic grassland birds are found here. Snakes like python Cobras and different species of turtles are also found in Orang.

Tejpur:

Tezpur, known as Sonitpur (city of blood) of Puranic fame, is associated with the legend of princess Usha, the daughter of King Bana and prince Anirudha, the grandson of Lord Krishna for their eternal love and romance. The great mythological war believed to have been fought between Hari(Lord Krishna) and Hara (Lord Shiva) and as a result the whole city was said to have been drenched in blood, hence the name.

Situated on the north bank of the majestic river Brahmaputra, Tezpur town is of magnificient scenic beauty and exquisite archaeological ruins. It is the headquarters of Sonitpur district and is considered as one of the most beautiful towns of the state.

Undulated green valleys surrounded by the hills of Arunachal Pradesh, with snow capped peaks of the Himalayas as the northern backdrop, lush green tea gardens and magnificient archaeological ruins have all contributed to make Tezpur a tourist's delight. Her contribution to art, culture, literature particularly her contribution to the freedom struggle have earned Tezpur a unique niche in the history of Assam.

In 1942, for the first time in entire British India, the tricolour (Indian flag) was hoisted in the police station at Gahpur, a quiet mofussil town under Sonitpur district. Fourteen years old girl Kanaklata braved British bullets and died holding the national flag aloft.

Bhalukpong:

Bhalukpong is situated on the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya beside the Kameng River, one of the most scenic spots in the state bordering between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, further down in Assam ,this Kameng river is named as Jia Bhoroli and it merges into Brahamaputra.

Iner line permit is required to visit the Arunachal part of Bhalukpong

Nameri National Park:

Nameri National Park is situated in the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, in the foothills of Eastern Himalaya. It covers an area of 200 Sq. Km with river Jia Bhoroli flowing inside the park. Nameri is home to some of the endangered species like Sloth Bear, Royal Bengal Tiger, Clouded Leopard, Indian Wild Dog and winged rarities like white winged wood duck, four varieties of Hornbill and many other birds. Jia Bhoroli river of Assam is famous for the Mahseer angling. The river is home to the endangered Golden Mahseer.Angling , rafting , trekking in the forest is popular activities here.

Dibrugarh & Dibrusaikhowa National Park:

Dibrugarh is the tea capital of Assam,stretches on the northern bank. Brahamaputra is at his best here along with the major tributaries. At places the river is 10 kms wide, which gives this mighty river the look of a sea with both the banks not visible at the same time. Dibrugarh consists of flood plains of Bhahamaputra , swamps and bheels.

Dibrusaikhowa National Park consists of 340 sq kms. of grassland, riverine and swampy area, including a large area of deciduous and ever green forests. The park is situated on the flood plains of Brahamaputra and is sandwiched between Brahamaputra and its tributary Dibru river. It is a Biodiversity hotspot, a Tiger reserve, and a National park.

350 species of birds and 26 species of Mammals have been recorded in the park.

Some of the important birds of this area are Marsh Babbler, Jordonís Babbler, Black-breasted Parrot bill, Swamp Prinia and Jordonís Bush chat. Some of the other species found here are Swamp Francolin, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Spot-billed Duck, Speckled Piculet, Drongo Cuckoo, Pale-capped Pigeon, Grey-headed Lapwing, Slender-billed Vulture, Red-necked Falcon, Peregrine Falcon etc.

Important mammals of this area are the six species of primates, seven species of cats, such as tiger leopard, leopard cat, clouded leopard, golden cat, fishing cat, jungle cat. It is also home for Indian Elephant, Asiatic wild buffalo, feral horse. Forest is approachable through the river, the adventurous ones can trek inside the park.

Digboi:

Surrounded by numerous Tea Gardens and mystic blue hills, Digboi is a major oil town. A hundred year old Refinery and it's hundred and twelve year old oil field still exist here. The Digboi Refinery came into being in 1901 as the first refinery of Asia and as the second one in the world. Today, the oil field and refinery are the oldest continuing oil field and refinery in the world.

There is also a War Cemetry and Golf Course in Digboi.


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