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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

Assam

Assam is a state in the North-Eastern part of India. It is part of the North eastern states of India which are also known as seven sisters, collectively of which Assam is the largest, with respect to surface area.

This state is located along the valley of Barak river and the Brahmaputra river, and is known for its famous Assam tea as well as its unique variety of silk garments and sarees. Assam was also the first site for oil drilling in all of Asia.

History

The area where Assam exists today is said to have evidences of human habitation from as long ago as the beginning of Stone Age.

After being ruled by various empires, Assam was colonized by the East India Company and the British Raj over a period of 150 years. The colonization began with the Goalpara region in 1765 to drawing of the McMahon Line (a demarcation line between Tibet and British India which included Assam, the Himalaya and Burma) in 1913-1914.

After India got its independence in 1947, Assam also became a constituent state of India. The Sylhet District which was previously part of Assam was given up to Pakistan, and later became what is now the country of Bangladesh.

Cities

The primary urban cities in Assam are Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Nagaon, Tezpur, Silchar, Jorhat, and Dhubri.

Guwahati is the capital of Assam and also the largest metropolitan area in the state.

People

Assam has a population of 3.60 Crore (as of 2020) of which 62% are Hindus, 35% are Muslims and around 4% are Christians and the remaining comprise of Sikhs and Buddhists. The natives of the state of Assam are known as "Asomiya" or Assamese – which is also the name of their official language.

A large number of Asomiya people belong to Kachari group - these are ethnic groups that speak Assamese and Boro-Garo languages. The people of this group are further divided into 18 major tribal groups such as Boro, Dimasa, Chutia, Sonowal, Tiwa, Garo, Rabha, Sarania Kachari, Hajong, Tripuri, Deori, Thengal Kachari, Hojai, Koch, and some others. These people co-exist in Assam’s little towns and villages.

Culture

The population of Assam is a fascinating blend of various religions, 3-4 languages and few dialects within them as well as multiple races! This includes Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian and Aryan, which have all evolved through years.

Assam also consists of various tribes like Bodo, Kachari, Karbi, Miri, Mishimi, Rabha, etc that co-exist in its little towns and villages. The natives of the state of Assam are known as "Asomiya" or Assamese – which is also the name of their official language.

Buddhism and Hinduism are the largely followed religions here. Assam also has a couple of its own dance forms, such as Bihu (a folk-dance form) and Satriya Nritya (a classical dance form) and Jhumur (a tribal dance form).

Language

The official language of Assam is Assamese, which is the most commonly spoken language of the state, followed by Bengali, which is spoken by a large part of the population, because of many Bengalis (from the state of West Bengal) settling here. Bengali has many similarities to Assamese, with various words meaning the same in both languages, but also having their differences. Apart from these, Bodo is another regional language spoken in some parts of Assam by people belonging to certain tribes.

Food

Assam’s staple food ingredient is rice. Apart from this, fish and meat are largely eaten along with lot of vegetables and fruits. The dishes here use a mixture of techniques and ingredients from different regions in the state as well as some external influences. The ways of cooking these dishes have similarities to other neighbouring countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and so on.

Some of the dishes of Assamese cuisine include: Khar (a dish that uses raw papaya, mustard leaves pulses and some vegetable or fish), Masor Tonga (a sour fish curry), Komolar Kheer (Orange kheer/orange-milk pudding) and different kinds of Pithas (deep fried sweet balls of flour and other ingredients).

Travel/Transportation

The major modes of inter-city transportation within Assam are Trains, Flights and Buses and for inter-state and abroad travel, the state has domestic as well as international airports connecting to cities in other states and countries. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as rickshaws, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking.

Airports - Assam has some airports, which includes one international airport and the rest mostly domestic (with flights connecting to cities in other states in the country. Some of the popular airports in the state are –

  • Guwahati International Airport (or) Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport – (formerly known as Borjhar Airport) located in the capital city Guwahati, this is the largest and main international airport in the state connecting not only Assam but all the other North-Eastern States of India to various parts of the country and the world.
  • Silchar Airport (at Kumbhirgram, Assam)
  • Jorhat Airport (at Jorhat, Assam)
  • Rupsi Airport (located at Sukatikhata in Assam and used by people to travel from the lower part of Assam to India's major cities and states)
  • Dibrugarh Airport
  • Lilabari Airport (at North Lakhimpur, Assam)
  • Tezpur Airport

Train Stations - Assam has many train terminals or stations from where trains to various cities, towns and villages within Assam or surrounding states can be boarded. Some important train stations in the city to board trains for travelling to any other part of the city are -

  • Guwahati Train station
  • Kamakhya Junction
  • New Bongaigaon Junction
  • Dibrugarh Railway Junction
  • Dibrugarh Town Railway Station
  • Mariani Junction
  • New Tinsukia Junction
  • Lumding Junction
  • Goalpara Town Railway Station

Bus Terminals - Assam has its own line of state-run ASTC (Assam State Transport Corporation) buses which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. These buses can be boarded at ASTC stops/terminals that are available in every division and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town or village in Assam - they can be easily found as these are major hubs where people usually gather to board buses, and are conveniently accessible.

Attractions

Assam has many interesting and impressive attractions which visitors, especially those visiting Assam for the first time, should add to their must-see list. These include:

  • Kaziranga National Park
  • Kamakhya Temple
  • Majuli Island
  • Assam State Museum
  • Guwahati Planetarium

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

These are some places in Assam which are great for a short getaway during weekends or small holidays, to spend some peaceful time and do fun and interesting things –

  • Tezpur - Some places to check out in this town include: Agnigarh, Bamuni Hills, Bura-Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary, Chitralekha Udyan, District Museum, Ouguri Hill, Kalia Bhomora Setu and Nag-Sankar Temple)
  • Kaziranga National Park – A large and popular national park known for housing India’s largest population of one-horn Rhinoceros; and also, tigers, elephants and water buffaloes. Great for a peaceful getaway and spend time among wilderness and wildlife.
  • Haflong – A stunning place with beautiful landscapes and lakes; great for camping and nature lovers.
  • Jorhat – For experiencing the most colourful scenes of Assamese culture and tribes, and some deep history of the people and the state through museums and historical buildings. Great for people looking to do something more than relaxing or spending quiet time.
  • Nalbari – A place with lots of greenery (paddy fields, forests) and ancient temples; situated less than 45 kms from capital city Guwahati.
  • Other national parks mentioned in attractions (Orang, Manas, Nameri) also make for a great weekend getaway destination.

ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES

There is more to Assam that what just meets the eye – the city not just has incredible tea plantations and other natural wonders but also offers some exciting adventure experiences for the adrenaline junkies. Some incredible and adventurous things to do in Assam include –

  • Rafting (in gushing waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, and rivers in the state)
  • Kayaking in pristine waters of the Brahmaputra
  • Trekking the beautiful hilly terrains, slopes etc. through luscious green forests and hidden lakes (some great trails include the Nilachal hills, Beyul of Pemako, Garbhanga forest reserve, Cachar hills, Karbi hills, and so on)
  • Paragliding (especially around Northern Guwahati, Kaziranga Forest and Kamakhya Hills)
  • Rock Climbing (Assam has many high and low mountains and rock formations, which have become popular rock-climbing destinations, like Elephant caves and some places around Guwahati)

HISTORICAL PLACES

Assam also has some incredible places of historical significance and architectural beauty, such as –

  • Rang Ghar – An amphitheatre built in around 1746 AD; also known as Colosseum of the East. It is said to be one of the oldest surviving amphitheatres in Asia.
  • Hajo Powa Mecca – A Muslim religious centre built during the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan; the name means one-quarter of Mecca (people believe that they get here one-fourth of God’s grace that they would get in the main Mecca – in Saudi)
  • Talatal Ghar – A historical Ahom monument that dates back to centuries, and has amazing architecture of Ahom dynasty (a late medieval kingdom that ruled centuries ago in the Brahmaputra valley in Assam).
  • Surya Pahar – A historic site located about 12 km away from Goalpara district in Assam – this is said to have many secrets and an intriguing presence, with lot of ancient remains including more than 90,000 old Shiva lingas (idol that symbolizes Hindu Lord Shiva)! A must-visit for history and archaeology enthusiasts.
  • Khaspur – An ancient city that has ruins of an old Kingdom that ruled the place (Dimasa kingdom)
  • Charaideo – A place that contains burial grounds and tombs of kings and their queens of the Ahom dynasty.