Assam is one of the eight states in the Northeastern part of India. It is comprised mostly of the valleys of Brahmaputra and Barak. Assam and the rest of the Northeastern states are connected to the rest of the country via the Siliguri Corridor or the Chicken's Neck, a 22-kilometre small strip of land in West Bengal. Its other name is the Gateway to the Northeast, as it is the main connection to reach the other states in the Northeastern part of the country. The state also shares an international border with Bhutan and Bangladesh. The people, culture and traditions of Assam are similar to that of the South Eastern countries. Legend and History of Assam The state had different names before becoming known as Assam. The oldest name known is Pragjyotisha, it was found from Sanskrit records and supposedly covered the entire Brahmaputra Valley. This name was also mentioned in the epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Later, the name Kamrupa came up, which supposedly covered the Western part of the state. This name was found in an inscription of Samudra Gupta and from the records of Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim. The name Assam was not even in use in the region until the Ahoms came to it. The Ahoms are a Shan tribe from Burma, they crossed the Patkai Range and conquered Assam. Other evidences state that the name Assam has some relations to the Tai and the Mongoloid people, mostly from other countries in Southeast Asia. In fact, the Thai and Siamese people are referred to as Shan, a variation of Syam, but pronounced with an n as Burmese words ending in m are pronounced with an n. Syam was later changed to Asam, Ahom, Aham, Ahomiya and Axomiya. A possible coinage of the name is Haa meaning land and Sham meaning Tai. Together, they mean the Land of the Tais. Another possible explanation is that in Tai, the word Cham means to be defeated and adding in the prefix A, it then meant undefeated or peerless. Historically, from the Ancient Era during 350 AD, when Assam was referred to as Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa, it has been conquered by different dynasties. Salasthamba of the Mlechchha Dynasty ruled the region from 655 AD to 990 AD. During the Medieval Era, the Khen Empire conquered Assam. But during the year of 1498, the Khens surrendered to Alauddin Hussein Shah and thus began the ruling of the Turks in Kamrupa. Other notable dynasties during this era are the Koch, Kachari, Chutia and Ahom. In the Colonial Era, there was a surge of tea plantations in Assam. However, this was also the time when the first Anglo-Burmese War ensued in 1824. The war ended in 1826, after the Treaty of Yandabo was established. The treaty lasted until 1838 until the British annexed Assam. Assam was first separated from Bengal during the year 1874. It was then known as the Assam Chief Commissionership. In 1905, it was established as a part of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. It was only in 1912 that it became the Assam Province. In the year 1970, Assam was separated into several states to fulfil the national aspirations of the tribal people living in it. Getting There 1. By Air - There is only one international airport in Assam, the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport or also known as the Guwahati International Airport. The airport is located in Borjhar and it was named after Gopinath Bordoloi, the first Chief Minister of Assam after Independence. It provides international flights for both Paro and Bangkok. It also has many flights from the different cities in India. Here are some of the flight timings from the Delhi going to the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport: Indigo 6E 251 - Departs at 5:35 and arrives at 7:50. Flight duration is 2 and a half hours. Fare is at Rs. 3,791 per passenger. Air Asia I5 791 - Departs at 6:05 and arrives at 8:25. Flight duration is 2 and a half hours. Fare is at Rs. 3,791 per passenger. Jet Airways 9W 7160 - Departs at 14:05 and arrives at 16:40. Flight duration is 2 and a half hours. Fare is at Rs. 4,194 per passenger. Aside from Delhi, the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport also connects Assam to other cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Mumbai. There are also other domestic airports in Assam, namely the Dibrugarh Airport, Jorhat Airport, Lilabari Airport, Rupsi Airport, Shella Airport, Silchar Airport and Tezpur Airport. 2. By Bus - There are no direct buses from Delhi, Kolkata or Mumbai to Assam. Your best option would be to reach Siliguri and from there, board a bus going to Guwahati. The North Bengal State Transport Corporation operates buses plying from Kolkata to Siliguri. Here are their timings: NBSTC Rocket Bus Service - This is a non-AC bus service from the NBSTC. This bus leaves at 8:00 pm and reaches Siliguri the next day at 10:00 am. Ticket fare is at Rs. 245 to Rs. 300 per passenger. NBSTC Royal Cruiser Bus Service - This is a Volvo bus service from the NBSTC. This bus also leaves at 8:00 am although it can be earlier. It reaches Siliguri at 10:00 am or 9:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 745 per passenger or more. There are also private bus operators plying between Kolkata and Siliguri: Greenline (Volvo AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 7:00 pm and arrives at 6:30 am. Fare is at Rs. 1,200 per passenger. Shyamoli Paribahan (Volco AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 6:30 pm and arrives at 6:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 1,100 per passenger. Rajdhani Express (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 5:30 pm and arrives at 8:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 650 per passenger. Ghosh Travels (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 6:00 pm and arrives at 9:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 600 per passenger. These buses depart from Esplanade and Ultadanga in Kolkata. They arrive at the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus in Siliguri. If you're coming from Delhi, there are no direct buses that go to Siliguri. You can go to Kolkata and from there, board a bus going to Siliguri. Or you can board a bus going to Muzaffarpur, here's one timing I was able to find: Shive Bhole Nath Travels (AC Seater/Sleeper) - Departs in Nangloi Metro Station at 7:00 pm and arrives at 3:30 pm. Fare is at Rs. 1,520 per passenger. From Muzaffarpur, you can board a bus going to Siliguri. Here are some timings: Raj Bus Service (AC Seater/Sleeper) - Departs at 4:30 pm and arrives at 3:15 am. Fare is at Rs. 450 per passenger. Mitruka Pushparaj (AC Seater/Sleeper) - Departs at 8:15 pm and arrives at 6:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 500 per passenger. From Siliguri, there are buses plying to Guwahati. Here are their timings: Jay Ram Krishna Bus Service (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 1:30 pm and arrives at 4:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 500 per passenger. Swapna Travels (Non-AC Seater Bus) - Departs at 1:30 pm and arrives at 3:00 am. Fare is at Rs. 540 per passenger. 3. By Train - The state of Assam has about 107 railway stations. The biggest one is the Guwahati Railway Station. There are direct trains from Delhi to Guwahati Railway Station in Assam. Here are their timings: Avadh Assam Express Train No. 15910 - This train runs daily, departs at 7:45 and arrives at 3:00 the next day. North East Express Train No. 12506 - This train runs daily, departs at 6:45 and arrives at 16:50 the next day. Guwahati Rajdhani Train No. 12236 - This train runs on Tuesdays, departs at 9:25 and arrives at 19:00 the next day. There are also direct trains from Kolkata to Guwahati Railway Station: Kanchanjanga Express Train No. 25657 - This train runs during Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. It departs at 6:35 and arrives at 4:15 the next day. Guwahati Express Train No. 12509 - This train runs during Sundays, Fridays and Saturdays. It departs at 10:03 and arrives at 6:00 the next day. Saraighat Express Train No. 12345 - This train runs daily, departs at 15:50 and arrives at 9:35 the next day. 4. By Private Vehicle - The distance between Delhi and Assam is about 2,093 kms. It can take you about 36 hours to reach Assam from Delhi. With stopovers, it can take you two to three days to reach Assam from Delhi. Here's the route you have to take: Delhi > Agra > Kanpur > Lucknow > Faizabad > Darbhanga > Kishanganj > Siliguri > Guwahati/Assam. Another route you can take is: Delhi > Agra > Kanpur > Allahabad > Varanasi > Muzaffarpur > Kishanganj > Siliguri > Guwahati/Assam. Assam Quick Facts Region - Northeast India Capital - Dispur Largest City - Guwahati Official Language - Assamese Other Languages - English, Bengali and Bodo Attractions - National Parks, Temples and Museums Best Time to Visit Assam The state of Assam has three general seasons: winter, summer and monsoon. The best time to visit Assam is during the winter season, between the months of October to March. Temperatures during this time are between 8°C to 20°C. The mild climate is pleasant enough for sightseeing and even trekking. The Bhopal Bihu Festival or Harvest Festival of Assam is also held during January. After the winter season, the summer season follows, which is between April to June. Temperatures range between 32°C to 38°C during these months. If you'd like to visit the wildlife parks of Assam, this is the best time to do so as the animals go to the bodies of water for some relief from the heat. Make sure that you bring your umbrella and light clothing with you as the climate is a bit hot. The last season is the monsoon season, between July to September. Temperatures range between 28°C to 32°C. During this time, heavy rain showers and thunderstorms are rampant along Assam. It's not a good time to visit the region as it's not uncommon for flooding to occur as well. Places to Visit in Assam Assam can be divided into four divisions, namely: Lower Assam, North Assam, Central Assam and Barak Valley or Southern Assam. North Assam's divisional office is Tezpur. Lower Assam's divisional office is Panbazar. Central Assam's divisional office is Nagaon. Upper Assam's divisional office is Jorhat. Barak Valley's divisional office is Silchar. All these divisions are then sub-divided into different districts. Lower Assam - This is also known as the Namoni Oxom Region. The largest city in Assam can be found here as well, Guwahati. This is also the first region you'd reach if you come from Siliguri. Here are some of the places that you can visit in Lower Assam: 1. Guwahati - This city is situated in the Southern bank of the Brahmaputra River. Its other name is the City of Temples because of the numerous temples you can find here. It is a major riverine port city and also one of the fastest growing cities in the country. There are many places to visit in Guwahati,some of the main attractions here are the following: Religious Kamakhya Temple - This is located in the Nilachal Hill in the Western part of Guwahati. It is one of the oldest temples in the 51 Shakti Pithas. The main temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kamakhya. It was built between the 8th and 17th centuries by various individuals. It is believed that the earliest temple in the complex was built by the Mlechchha Dynasty. In 1498, it is believed that Hussein Shah destroyed the temple complex. It was then again rebuilt by Naranarayan during the year 1565. The Ahoms also had some part in the reconstruction of the temple. According to the Kalika Purana, Kamakhya Temple is the place where Sati retires in secret to satisfy her amour with Lord Shiva. The temple is popular among pilgrims of Tantric worship, more so during the annual Ambubachi Mela Festival. Bhuvaneswari Temple - This temple is also located in the Nilachal Hill of Guwahati. It is located nearby the Kamakhya Temple. It's dedicated to the Goddess Bhuvaneswari. She is also 1 of the 10 Mahavidya goddesses, just like Goddess Kamakhya. She is also known as the Ruler of the Universe and the entire universe is considered as a part of her body. Basistha Ashram Temple - This temple was built by Ahom King Rajeshwar Singha in the year 1764. There's a cave inside the temple complex in which it is believed that Basistha or Vasistha meditated during his lifetime. You would also find a waterfall inside the ashram/temple complex which is another favourite attraction for tourists. Hayagriva Madhava Temple - You can find this 30 kms West of Guwahati. It's situated on the Monikut Hill of Hajo. The present temple was constructed by King Raghudeva Narayan in 1583. Although some evidences say that the original temple was constructed by the King of Pala Dynasty during the 6th century. The presiding deity here is Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is both a Hindu and Buddhist temple. Some Buddhists even believe that this is the temple where Buddha attained Nirvana. Ugro Tara Temple - This temple was built by Ahom King Siva Singha during 1752 AD. At the East of the temple, you can find the Jorepukhuri Tank. You can find the temple in the locality of Latasil. Legend has it that the navel of Sati fell to this region, hence the temple is dedicated to Goddess Tara. Umananda Temple - This temple is located on the Peacock Island of Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. This temple was built by Ahom King Gadadhar Singha during 1694 AD. It is believed that Shiva resided here in the form of Bhayananda. When Shiva was in meditation in this hillock, Kamadeva interrupted him and thus angered Shiva which in turn burned Kamadeva into ashes. Thus, the other name of this region is Bhasmacala. Navagraha Temple - You can find this in Chitrasal Hill in Guwahati. The temple has the nine shivalingams to represent the nine Celestial Bodies. It was Ahom King Rajeshwar Singha who built this temple in the 18th century. However, it has been renovated recently during 1923 to 1945. Janardana Temple - You can find this in the Shukleshwar Hillock near the Brahmaputra River. It is a temple dedicated to the Lord Buddha, although the architectural styles of the temple are both Hindu and Buddhist. The temple was renovated during the 17th century however it is believed to have been built much earlier. Wildlife Kaziranga National ParkKaziranga National Park - This national park is located in both the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. It was built in 1905 as the Kaziranga Proposed Reserve Forest, which the main goal is to preserve the one-horned rhinos in the region. The park is home to the largest population of the world's one-horned rhino species. The park also has the largest numbers of the wild Asiatic water buffalo and Eastern swamp deer. The national park also has the highest density of tigers at about one tiger per five kms squared. Also, 9 of the 14 primate species in the country lives in the park. Manas National Park - This is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan. The park is famous for its high population of the wild water buffalo species. The park was declared as a sanctuary during the year 1928, although it was a hunting ground for many years before that. Other animals that you can find in the park are the following: pygmy hog, Indian rhinoceros, sambar and Malayan giant squirrel. Assam State Zoo - This is the largest zoo in the state. There are about 895 animals here of about 113 different species. The zoo was established during 1957 and was opened to the public during 1958. You can see animals like one-horned rhinos, tigers, clouded leopards, golden langurs and Himalayan black bears here. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary - This is about 30 kms East of Guwahati. The sanctuary was declared as a reserve in 1971 and as a sanctuary in 1987. There are about 98 one-horned rhinos here, which is a 10% increase over the last 6 years. Aside from rhinos, you can also see leopards, wild boars, barking deers and wild buffalos here. Deepor Beel - You can find this in the Kamrup district of Assam, in the South West of Guwahati. This is a freshwater lake home to about 219 species of birds, 70 of which are migratory ones. Threatened species like the spot billed pelican, lesser adjutant stork and Pallas' sea eagle can also be spotted here. You can also find animals like elephants, leopards, barking deers and sambars here. Orang National Park - This was established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1985 and as a national park in 1999. You can find it within the Darrang and Sonitpur districts. There are about 68 one-horned rhinos here. You can also find the Royal Bengal tiger, Asiatic elephant and pygmy hog. Museum Sankardev Kalashetra - This was built in the 1990's in order to preserve the cultural and artistic artefacts of the state. It was named after Srimanta Sankardev, a medieval poet, playwright and reformist. The Central Museum here displays the items used by the different ethnic groups of Assam. There's an open-air theatre as well where cultural programs are held. There's also a library, cultural village, heritage park, cable car facility and an exhibition centre inside the complex. Assam State Museum - You can find this near the Dighali Pukhuri Tank in Guwahati. It was established by the Assam Research Society during the 1940's. The museum has different sections showcasing sculptures, items and stenographic collections used during the ancient, medieval and colonial periods. Park/Planetarium Guwahati Planetarium - This is an astronomical research centre, featuring shows about astronomy and science. It's the most advanced planetarium in the state of Assam. There are daily shows about the solar system although they also conduct seminars and activities for students and science lovers. The planetarium also has a library section with books about space and terrestrial bodies. There are also plans of including a hybrid planetarium projection system in it, it would be the second to receive that, after the New Delhi Planetarium. Nehru Park - You can find this at the Panbazar area of Guwahati. The prestigious Cotton College is just adjacent to the park. There are also other educational institutions beside the park. Inside the park, you would see the 45 statues depicting the dance forms of Assam. There's also an open-air theatre, rock garden and lawn that you can visit. 2. Bongaigaon - This is the second largest city in Lower Assam and the fourth largest city in Assam. It is about 18o kms away from Guwahati. This is also one of the major commercial and business hubs of the state. A major petrochemical industry also can be found in here, Indian Oil Corporation Limited. Here are some of the attractions in Bongaigaon: Religious Bageshwari Temple - This temple is dedicated to Goddess Bageshwari, one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pithas. According to Hindu mythology, this is where the trishul of Goddess Durga fell when her body was cut into pieces by Lord Vishnu. There's a small artificial lake here, fed by a stream, which adds to the serenity of the temple. Lalmati Duramari Ganesh Temple - The origin of this temple is unknown, although evidences claim that it was built between the 8th to 10th centuries. The temple is mostly in ruins and it's not sure what has caused the destruction. Some believe that an earthquake caused it while others believe that Kalahapar destroyed it. During 1974, the government did some excavations around the site and found idols of gods and goddesses. Now, a community hall and office had been built on site and there are on going works for the building of a water tank. Wildlife Kachugaon Game Reserve - This is about 48 kms from Bongaigaon, in the town of Kachugaon. You can spot endangered species of animals like gaurs, golden langurs, spotted deers and elephants here. Kakaijana Wildlife Sanctuary - This was declared as a reserve forest in 1966. Now, it has been upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary. The golden langur, a rare species of langur, found only in the Indo-Bhutan border, resides here. Other rare species of animals here are the pangolin, flying squirrel and binturong. Historical Rock Cut Caves - You can find this in Jogighopa in the Bongaigaon district. These caves are a fine example of the Salasthambha style of architecture. They are not as elaborate as the rock cut caves in Western India, but they do provide some evidence that this type of architecture did exist in the North Eastern part of India too. Nature Bageshwari Hill - This hill is surrounded by the Birjhora Tea Estate. It provides a panoramic view of the city below. Aside from that, three temples are also located here namely: Bageshwari Temple, Baba Tarak Nath Temple and Shiva Temple, located inside a stone cave. Central Assam - This consists of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar. This region is between the Lower Assam and North Assam regions. Below it lies the Barak Valley region. Here are some of the must visit places in Central Assam: 1. Tezpur - This is the largest city in Central Assam. It's also known as the Cultural Capital of Assam. The city is also considered as the cleanest one out of all the cities in Assam. Here are some of the attractions you can visit in Tezpur: Religious Mahabhairav Temple - You can find this on a hillock near the town of Tezpur. The original structure was built by King Banasura during the prehistorical era, between the 8th and 10th centuries. The shivalinga in the temple is considered as a living stone that grows a little year by year. The original temple was damaged by the 1897 earthquake. The present structure was built by Sri Swayambar Bharati or Naga Baba. Nagsankar Temple - This Shiva temple can be found at the East of Tezpur in Chatia. The origin of the temple is not definite. However, many locals believe that King Nag Sankar from Lohitya dynasty in late 4th century built the temple. Another legend is that King Nagmatta built the temple, he is the son of river god Brahmaputra. In 1480 though, Ahom King Su Sen Pha renovated the temple. Several turtles, fishes, peacocks, deers and pythons can be found around the temple which adds to the mystique of the place. Bhairavi Devalaya Temple - This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Bhairavi. She is one of the Mahavidyas of Durga Devi. Legend has it that the daughter of King Banasura, Usha, used to come here to worship the goddess. It is believed that the temple was built around the 5,000 BC. Picnic Agnigarh - This is a hillock in Tezpur. According to Hindu mythology, this is where Banasura built a fortress to isolate his daughter from other people. However, Usha still fell in love with Aniruddha in her dreams. Her companion, Chitralekha, flew in Aniruddha one night and once the latter opened his eyes, he immediately fell in love with Usha. Aniruddha was Lord Krishna's son and he did agreed with the marriage but Banasura won't. He asked for protection from Lord Shiva which lead to a battle, where rivers of blood flowed, hence the name Tezpur was coined, meaning City of Blood. In the end, an agreement was made to marry the two, through the help of Lord Brahma. This entire story can be seen from the sculptures in the hillock. Cole Park - This is also known as Chitralekha Udyan. Chitralekha was the companion of Usha, who brought together the two lovers, the other being Aniruddha. There's a small lake here where paddle boating is allowed. Kids can also enjoy the Bumping Cars attraction here. There's also a model of the jet fighter Valiant MIG 21 and a large concrete mao of India here. Wildlife Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary - This is about 40 kms away from Tezpur. Previously, this was a forest reserve and was only declared a sanctuary in 1995. There are many migratory birds here, with the Bengal florican being the most dominant one. Other animals that you might be able to spot here are the Indian rhinos, leopards, tigers and wild buffalos. Nameri National Park - This is about 35 kms from Tezpur. It was established as a sanctuary during the year of 1985. It was then declared a national park during the year of 1998. The park is most well-known for its elephants. You can also spot other animals such as tigers, leopards, Indian wild bisons, leopard cats and clouded leopards here. The park also has over 300 species of birds such as the white-winged wood duck, wreathed hornbill and rufous neck horned bill. Historical Da Parbatia - You can find this in the West of Tezpur. It's a small village but the archeological excavations done here are quite extensive. An ancient temple that can be traced back to the 6th century was dug here. This temple was built over another Shiva temple built during the Ahom dynasty. The excavations also revealed many terracotta plaques with humans in sitting position. One of the most important finds here is the door frame made of stone with carvings depicting the Gupta period art form. Kolia Bhomora Setu - This is a concrete bridge stretched over Sonitpur to Nagaon. It is about 3,015 metres and was built between the years 1981 to 1987. The bridge was named after Ahom General Kolia Bhomora Phukan. District Museum - This museum was established in 1986. It is best known for its wide collection of textiles. You can also find other artefacts like manuscripts, coins, sculptures and inscriptions here. Nature Bamuni Hills - You can find this on the right banks of the Brahmaputra River, near the Bhairavi Temple. The site is believed to be the location of an old Vishnu temple along with four smaller temples of Shiva around it. Its construction is believed to have been between the 9th and 10th centuries. The ruins of the temples have floral, geometric and animal designs. It is believed that the temples were built by the Pala dynasty. However, an earthquake might have destroyed it. Hazara Pukhuri - This is the third largest water reservoir in Tezpur. The tank was named after Hazara Varman and was excavated during the 19th century. These smaller ponds or lakes within Assam provide some respite from the heat during summer. It's also a great place for strolling around with your loved one. 2. Haflong - This is the only hill station in the state of Assam. It is about 966 metres above sea level and is also known as the White Ant Hillock. This is one of the most scenic regions in Assam as well. Here are some of its attractions: Nature Haflong Lake - This is perhaps the most popular attraction in Haflong. The lake has a hanging bridge which adds beauty to it. Tourists can enjoy angling here as well as there are tons of fishes living in the lake. For the adventure seekers, you can try out some water sports here. There are also boating facilities within the lake itself. Panimoor Waterfalls - The source of the Panimoor Waterfalls is the Kopili River. As soon as the river reaches Panimoor, it turns into a thrilling and gushing waterfall. Even Bhupen Hazarika was so enthralled with the beauty of the falls that he wrote a song about it. Wildlife Jatinga Bird Observatory - Jatinga itself is a village in the North Cachar Hills district. It is well-known for the phenomenon of birds committing mass suicide during winter in the village. The mass suicide happens when there are fogs, clouds and mists so between September to November. There's also a set time for it, between 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The phenomenon is not yet fully explained although experts believe that the combination of mists and fogs confuse the birds and the lights of the villagers attract them. As they make their way through the lights, they bump into walls, poles and trees which lead to their deaths. You can watch this phenomenon from the observatory centre in Jatinga. North Assam - This is also known as the Ujoni Oxom Region. It is comprised of the Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Golaghat, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur and Sibsagar districts. Some of the must-visit places in North Assam are the following: 1. Dibrugarh - This is a city and also the headquarters of the Dibrugarh district of Assam. It is also known as the Tea City of India. The name Dibrugarh means a fort on the banks of the Dibaru River. You can find Dibrugarh on the Easternmost part of Assam. It's one of the fastest growing cities in the state. It is the centre of economic activities in the state with industries like oil and natural gases, tea, power generation, fertiliser and cottage. Here are some of the attractions in Dibrugarh: Religious Tilinga Mandir - This is a Shiva temple in in the Tinsukia district of Assam. Tilinga means bell and mandir means temple, hence the name means Bell Temple. In the temple premises, you can find bells of different sizes and of different materials. It is believed that your wish will be granted in this temple as long as you donate a bell in it. It was in 1965 when a shivalinga emerged near the banyan tree in this location. The tea garden management then built a temple in honour of Shiva and kept the shivalinga within it. Historical Barbarua Maidam - This is about 14 kms to the South of Dibrugarh. This maidam houses two graveyards, one of Deka Dihingia Barbarua and the other one to Bura Dihinigia Barbarua. These individuals are officials from the Ahom dynasty. Bahikhowa Maidam - This graveyard is dedicated to Bahikhowa Dasarath Dowerah. He was the Chief of the Army of the Ahom dynasty during his lifetime. The graveyard is in ruins now but it's worth a visit for history lovers. Sarumechlow and Bormechow Maidam - These graves are dedicated to Sarumechlow and Bormechow, the queens of King Sukhampha Khura. It's one of the few graves dedicated to the royalty in the city. Garden Jokai Botanical Garden - This is about 12 kms away from the city centre of Dibrugarh. The botanical garden is a part of the Jokai Forest Reserve. There's a Germplasm Section here showcasing the valuable and endangered plants in the region. Other sections of the garden are the orchids, medicinal plants, aromatic plants and rainforest specimen plants. 2. Majuli - This is a large river island in the Brahmaputra River. In the 20th century, the island had about 1,250 square kilometres of land. However, due to erosion, the island occupies only 325 square kilometres of land now. It is formed by the Brahmaputra River in the South and the Subansiri River in the North. Here are some of the attractions in Majuli: Satras Kamalabari Satra - This was established in 1595 by Badala Ata. Kamala means orange and bari means garden, hence Kamalabri means Orange Garden. The Kalamabari Satra has been a centre of cultural, art, literature and classical studies. Some of the prominent artists that came from the Kamalabari Satra are Maniram Dutta, Muktiyar Bayan and Raseswar Barbayan. Dakhinpat Satra - This was established by Satradhikar Sri Vanamalidev in 1584. The satra is a treasure house of dances and antiques of cultural importance. The satra is also the home to about 100 celibate bhakats. The satra also houses important manuscripts written by Srimanta Sankardeva himself. Auniati Satra - This satra was established by Ahom King Sultanla in 1653 AD. Its name was derived from Auni Paan, a kind of betel creeper plant found locally in the town and Ati which means elevated place. The presiding deity here is Lord Krishna, which is referred to as Govinda. Barak Valley or Southern Assam - This part of Assam is comprised of three districts namely: Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi. Barak is derived from two words, Bra meaning bifurcation and Kro meaning upper stream. The Barak River is bifurcated near the Karimganj district thus the locals called the region Brakro. Over the years, Brakro became Barak. Silchar is probably the most developed city in the Southern part of Assam. 1. Silchar - This is the headquarters of the Cachar district of Assam. It is also the second largest city in the state. Back then, the region was known as Shiler Chor, referring to the bank of stones where ships and vessels dock to in here. Over time, Shiler Chor became Silchar. Here are some of the attractions in Silchar: Religious Bhubaneswar Temple - This is a temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It's located on top of the Bhuvan Hill, about 50 kms away from Silchar. To reach the temple, one has to trek for about 17 kms as there are no motorable roads that can access it. It is best visited during the Shivaratri when thousands of pilgrims go to the temple to pay their respects. Kancha Kanti Kali Temple - This temple is dedicated to the four-armed Goddess Kali and Durga. The temple is about 15 kms from the city centre of Silchar. It is dedicated to Mother Goddess, the union of Goddess Kali and Durga. The idol inside the temple is believed to have been built in 1806. Historical Kachari Fort - This is about 20 kms from Silchar. It was constructed around 1690 AD and was the royal seat of the Bodo Kachari dynasty. The main palace in the fort is already in ruins. However, you can still see the main entrance gate, the Devalaya, the Suryadwar and the intricate carvings all over the walls of the fort. Martyrs' Tomb - These tombs hold the graves of the 11 martyrs who died fighting for the language movement of Assam during the year 1964. This movement established Bengali as the official language of the Cachar district. These martyrs are the following: Chandicharan Sutradhar, Hitesh Biswas, Satyendra Deb, Kumud Ranjan Das, Sunil Sarkar, Tarani Debnath, Kanailal Niyogi, Sachindra Chandra Pal, Birendra Sutradhar, Sukamal Purakayastha and Kamala Bhattacharya. Maniharan Tunnel - You can find this about 5 kms away from the Bhubaneswar Temple. Below the tunnel, the Triveni River flows. You can also find the Maniharan Temple inside the premises of the tunnel. According to mythology, this tunnel was used by Lord Krishna as well. Accommodation Options in Assam Lower Assam - You'd have plenty of options for hotels around Guwahati. Outside of it, you'd find a few guest houses and home stays which would have the basic facilities that you need. Here are some hotels in Guwahati: Budget Hotels in Guwahati Hotel Prince B - This hotel is centrally located with easy access to transportation and shopping areas. Their Double Standard Non AC Room is at Rs. 650 per night. It has two twin-sized beds, attached bathroom and bedside table. The hotel also provides laundry and room services for guests. Their address is: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Bhubaneswar Barua Road, Guwahati, Assam 781007.Their contact number is: +91 98766 08800. Hotel Tibet - This hotel is very close to the Guwahati Railway Station. They're also just a few minutes away from the bus station. Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 1,546 per night. It has air-cooling, wardrobe cabinet, flat-screen satellite television and sofa seating area. The bathroom is modern and comes with basic toiletries. The hotel also has a travel desk, business centre, health centre, laundry service and spa. Their address is: AT Road, G.S. Road, Paltan Bazaar, Guwahati, Assam 781008. Their contact number is: +91 97076 22233. Mid-Range Hotels in Guwahati Hotel Royal Heritage - This hotel is just half a kilometre from the ISBT of Guwahati. It's a three-star hotel with modern amenities as well. Their Deluxe Room is at Rs. 2,000 per night. Rooms have air-conditioning, attached bathroom with hot/cold running water and television. The hotel also has cafe, restaurant, business centre and unisex parlour. Their address is: Betkuchi, NH Opposite Balaji Temple, NH37, Lokhra, Guwahati, Assam 781034. Their contact number is: +91 70860 18001. Hotel Gateway Grandeur - This hotel is just four kilometres away from the Guwahati Railway Station. Its location is right at the heart of the city, near the business and commercial centres. Their Grandeur Executive Room is at Rs. 4,800 per night. It has either a king-sized bed or twin-sized beds, bedside table, television and attached bathroom. The hotel has a spa, health centre, swimming pool, restaurants and different halls. Their address is: G.S. Road, Christian Basti, Guwahati, Assam 781005. Their contact number is: +91 361 711 0022. Luxury Hotels in Guwahati Radisson Blu Hotel - This is about 12 kms from the Guwahati Railway Station. The hotel is very near the main attractions of the city though. Their Standard Room is at Rs. 7,499 per night. It has a work desk with a chair, wardrobe cabinet, LED satellite television, WiFi, tea/coffee maker, safe and modern bathroom. The hotel also has a fitness centre, swimming pool, restaurants and bar. Their address is: National Highway 37, Bypass, Gotanagar, Guwahati, Assam 781033. Their contact number is: +91 361 710 0100. Vivanta By Taj Guwahati - This hotel is located on the Shillong-Guwahati Highway. It's right at the centre of the cultural hub of the city. Their Superior Charm Room is at Rs. 7,499 per night. You can opt for either a king-sized bed or twin-sized beds. There are amenities like LED television, WiFi, sofa and modern bathroom. The hotel also has different restaurants, a fitness centre and spa. Their address is: Nikita Complex, Khanapara, G.S. Road, Guwahati, Assam 781022. Their contact number is: +91 361 710 6710. Central Assam - Most hotels are located in Tezpur. You might find a few guest houses or home stays around the smaller cities but they would be very basic. Here are some hotels in Tezpur: Budget Hotel in Tezpur Hotel Pineyard - The Tezpur Railway Station is about a 20-minute drive away from the hotel. Their Pine Paradise Single Room is at Rs. 800 per night. It has an attached bathroom, television and room service. The hotel has a bar/restaurant, transport facilities and laundry services as well. Their address is: Anjana Complex, NB Road, Tezpur, Assam 784001. Their contact number is: +91 3712 222 018. Mid-Range Hotels in Tezpur Hotel KRC Palace - Their Deluxe Single Room is at Rs. 2,400 per night. It has air-conditioning, television, attached bathroom and tea/coffee maker. The hotel has a spa, salon, business centre, jacuzzi and travel desk. Their address is: JN Road, Kacharigaon, Tezpur, Assam 784001. Their contact number is: +91 3712 222 788. Hotel Kalash - Their Super Deluxe Room is at Rs. 2,499 per night. It has an attached bathroom, seating area, television and a choice between king-sized bed or twin-sized beds. Their restaurant also serves vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Their address is: Shree Krishna Rice & Oil Mills N.H. 37A, Mission Chariali, Ketekibari, Tezpur, Assam 784001. Their contact number is: +91 78960 14997. Luxury Hotel in Tezpur The Fern Residency - This is one of the few luxury hotels in Tezpur. Their Winter Green Room is at Rs. 3,800 per night. It comes with amenities like an attached bathroom, television, WiFi, work desk, safe and tea/coffee maker. The hotel also has different restaurants that you can choose from. The hotel also provides laundry services for guests. Their address is: Baruachuburi, Dekargaon, Tezpur, Assam 784501. Their contact number is: +91 3712 255 503. North Assam - There are many accommodation options in Dibrugarh such as hotels and lodges. However, luxury hotels are quite rare in the city. In Majuli, there are some home stays that you can stay in. Hotels in Dibrugarh Hotel Rajawas - Their Standard Room is at Rs. 999 per night. It has television, attached bathroom with hot/cold running water and direct dialing facility. Their restaurant offers Tandoori cuisine to guests. The hotel also provides laundry services as well as room services for guests. Their address is: A.T. Road, Chotagola, Dibrugarh, Assam 786001. Their contact number is: +91 373 232 3307. Dibrugarh Club House - Their Executive Room is at Rs. 1,999 per night. It has air-conditioning, twin sized beds/king-sized bed, bedside table and modern bathroom. The hotel also has a restaurant, bar and games centre. Their address is: A.T. Road, Amolapatty, Opposite Dristi Netralaya, Dibrugarh, 786001. Their contact number is: +91 97060 54107. Hotel Tea County - Their Corporate Room is at Rs. 2,499 per night. The room has cable television, modern bathroom and intercom. The hotel has different restaurants, a gymnasium and a banquet hall. Their address is: Convoy Road, Chowkidingee, Dibrugarh, Assam 786001. Their contact number is: +91 75780 10089. Home Stays and Lodges in Majuli Eco Camp Me Po Okum - If you'd like to experience living the rural life, then you can consider this eco camp. The cottages and rooms are built in the traditional Meshing style. The home stay also serves local and home cooked meals to guests. Rooms come with a bathroom, bed and mosquito netting. It's very basic but it will do for a short stay. Their address is: Kerelagaon, Garmur, Majuli, Jorhat, Assam, 785104. Their contact number is: +91 99542 13585. Prasanti Cottages - This is a government owned tourist lodge. Rentals range between Rs. 1,250 to Rs. 1,600 per night. Rooms have attached bathroom with very basic amenities. Food would be served to you as well, it's part of the tariff. Their address is: Majuli, Jorhat. Their contact number is: 09435734138. South Assam - There are some hotels within Silchar. These are all basic accommodations though, there are no luxury hotels in this region of Assam. Hotels in Silchar Riya Palace Hotel - This is one of the better hotels in Silchar. They don't have a website so their rates aren't published. But expect to pay at least Rs. 1,600 per night or more. Their rooms are decent and relatively clean. Basic amenities like television, bed, bathroom and room service are all included. They also have a restaurant within the hotel premises. Their address is: Park Road, Silchar, India. JC International Hotel - The good thing about this hotel is that it is located very near the railway station. However, it's not as well maintained as the Riya Palace Hotel. It's cheaper though so it can be a good option for those in a budget. They also serve quite good tasting meals. Their address is: Circuit House Road, DSA Complex, Silchar 788001. Cuisine in Assam The cuisine in Assam is called Assamese. Its main features are the following: The use of fermentation and drying as forms of preservation. The centre of the meal is always rice. The use of spices is very little as well as little cooking over fire. The flavours of the dishes come from endemic fruits and vegetables in the region. The use of fishes, ducks and squabs are popular. The traditional meal in Assam comprises of a khar, class of dishes named after the main ingredient and tenga, which is a sour dish. When travelling to Assam, it's a must to try these dishes: Koldil Bhaji - This is banana flower with fried potatoes. The recipe also calls for chilis, garlics, onions, panch foron, salt, turmeric and mustard oil. This dish is best served with rice. Amitar Khar - The main ingredients of this dish are papayas and fish heads. This is also best served with rice. Bilahi Boror Tenga - This is sour curry with dal pakoda. As mentioned before, tenga is usually served at the end of the meal. Then, you cannot miss these desserts as well: Komolar Kheer - This dessert has a different taste in a good way. The combination of orange pulps, milk, cashew and almonds make this creamy dessert a definite winner. Narikolor Laru - This is a simple dessert, with just fresh coconut garter and sugar as ingredients. They are just mixed together and heated in a pan. How about you, guys? Have you ever been to Assam? Can you share your experiences with us?