Assam - home of Brahmaputra
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Brahmaputra River, Assam The stunning grandeur of its dense tracts of tropical forests interspersed with emerald patchwork quilts of paddy and lush tea gardens, showcase the life-giving largesse of the mighty River Brahmaputra that dominates the world of this land and its people. 'Son of Brahma', the great river that wends its way from the Mansarovar Lake in the higher reaches of the Tibetan plateau (as the Tsangpo) through Arunachal (as the Siang) and on to the plains of Assam, the second largest state in the North East.

The alluvial plains of the Assam valley (100 km at its widest) enjoy an abundance of natural riches. The state is the largest producer of timber and tea in the country and it has the oldest oil refinery in India. Its rich bio-diversity supports an immense range of rare and endangered creatures such as the one-horned rhinoceros, the golden langur, the Gangetic dolphin and the clouded leopard.

"The Light of the East" is the gateway to Assam and to the entire North East region. Straddling the banks of the Brahmaputra, this former capital of the Kamrup kings (when it was ancient Pragjyotishpur) is a crowded, busy river-town and a major commercial hub for the region. Surrounded by paddy fields and ancient rain-forests, Guwahati is home to many temples that date back to Vedic and Puranic times.

The Kamakhya Temple dominates the life of Guwahati, as much as does the great Brahmaputra River. One of the most revered shrines of the Hindu faith, the temple is located on Neelachal Hill. The temple offers grandstand views of the Brahmaputra and its surroundings. The reigning deity here is Goddess Parvati (Sati). Legend has it that the body of Sati was dismembered and it is believed that of the pieces of her body which were scattered across the land, her yoni fell on Neelachal Hill. The temple here is also called Yoni Pith and is said to be a tantric centre. The shrine finds mention in the inscription of King Samudragupta's pillar at Allahabad. A rush of devotees throngs the temple during the Amliubachi Puja.


The oldest park in Assam, Kaziranga, on the south bank of the Brahmaputra River, is world famous for its great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, of which there are aplenty. Spread across 430 sq km, it is a danling mosaic of dense rain-forest, tall elephant grass and swathes of reeds interspersed with vast tracts of marshes and shallow pools that are a favourite haunt of this celebrity pre-historic beast. Wild elephant, hog deer and barasingha also abound. Book in advance for at least a night's stay at the forest lodge to catch those early morning views of him from elephant-back. Jeep safaris are also arranged. This National Park is 217 km from Guwahati and 95 km from Jorhat.

Fairs and festivals

Bihu Dance, Assam Bihu
Marking the beginning of agricultural season is Assam's most important festival Bihu. It is celebrated during mid-April with much pomp and gaiety.

Celebrated during mid-April, Baishagu is the most cherished festival of Boro tribe and heralds the New Year.

Ali-ai-ligang is the colourful annual festival of Mishing tribe. It is held on the first Wednesday of the month of 'Ginmur Polo' (February-March). The ceremonial sowing of paddy starts on this day.

Rongker, the most important festival of the Karbis , is celebrated in April to propitiate different gods and goddesses for the well being of the entire village.

Rajini Gabra & Harni Gabra
Rajini Gabra & Harni Gabra is an annual festival of Dimasa tribe. This socio-religious festival is celebrated before starting new cultivation.

The Rabha tribe celebrates the Baikho festival during the spring season in order to propitiate the goddess of wealth 'Baikho'.

Bohaggiyo Bishu
Bohaggiyo Bishu, the spring festival of the Deoris one of the four divisions of Chutia tribe is fascinating.

Ambubashi Mela
Ambubashi, the most important festival of Kamakhya temple, is celebrated in mid-June every year. Thousands of devotees throng the temple on this auspicious occasion.

Tea festival
Celebrated with pomp and show during January-February.

Paragliding in Assam The stunning variety of terrain, splendid landscapes and sparkling rivers offer adventure sports lovers a vast choice of activities. Amongst the popular adventure activities are angling, river rafting, mountaineering, trekking, mountain biking, para-sailing, hang-gliding, and golf.


Foremost amongst the traditional crafts of Assam are hand-made toys, made from clay, cork (pith), wood and bamboo and an admixture of cloth and mud. While the bride

and groom are common subjects, in the clay- toy making segment animals dominate. Clay toys are traditionally made by the Kumar and Hira potter communities. Deities and mythological figures are also important themes in the toy-making repertoire.

Assam is reputed for its silk and the most prominent variety is muga, the golden silk exclusive only to this state. Apart from muga, there is paat, as also eri the latter being used in the manufacture of warm clothes for winter.

A wide range of decorative items is available in cane and bamboo work and bell-metal and brass . Tribal arts, including masks, bhaonas, in metal, bamboo and wood are popular souvenir items.

Guwahati STD Code: 0361

By Air
Nearest airport Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport (25 km from downtown) Tel 2452859, 2452599.
The facilities at the airport have been lately improved, and include a restaurant, snack bar, gift and bookshops, telecommunication counter, and tourist information offices of the Govt. of India and Govt. of Assam.

Guwahati is serviced by flights of Indian Airlines/Alliance Air, Jet Air-ways and Air Sahara. Indian Airlines links the city to Kolkata, Delhi, Agartala and Imphal, Jet Airways operates between Guwahati and Kolkata, Delhi, Bagdogra and Imphal. Air Sahara connects it with Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Lucknow and Dibrugarh through direct flights/connections.

Helicopter services are operated from Guwahati to Shillong (30 min/Rs. 625 for Indians and Rs. 850 for foreigners), Tura (50 min/Rs. 1125 for Indians and Rs.1 330 for foreigners) and Naharlagun (ltanagar) (75 min/Rs. 2700).

Taxi services including pre-paid service, are available at the airport for transfer to the city and cost about Rs. 300. Taxis can also be hired at the airport for Shillong, for around Rs. 1100.

Tribal Arts Assam Indian Airlines Ganeshguri
Tel 2264420-22,141
Open: 0900-1700 hrs
Sunday closed.
Airport Tel 2840279/221 /401 Indian Airlines provides tele-check-in facility for J-class and Frequent Flying Club
Member passengers with hand baggage only.

Jet Airways Silpukhari
Tel 2520202, 2522396
Open: 0830-1800 hrs (weekdays) and 0830-1730 hrs (Sunday)
Airport Tel 2840130-131 Open: 0900-1730 hrs Tele-check-in Tel 2840600(0930-1400 hrs)

Air Sahara Ulubari
Tel 2548676, 2547808
Open: 0630-1800 hrs (weekdays) and 0630-1730 hrs (Sunday)

Meghalaya Helicopter Service Guwahati Airport Tel 2840300
Open: 0800-1600 hrs