The biggest state in the north east, Assam is probably also the most well known. It is renowned across the world for its scenic tea plantations, diverse wildlife and rich culture. Assam also happens to be the most easily accessible geographical state in the north east and is often the gateway to the rest, if you are travelling by road.
Amazing facts about Assam:
Home to the One- Horned Rhinoceros:
Once spread across the North- Indian terrain, rampant poaching has shrunk this endemic species to the terai regions of Nepal and Assam only. Also known as the Indian Rhinoceros, today the species is classified as a vulnerable species due to its small population.
Assam actually has its own State Anthem!
Composed by Lakshminath Bezbaroa, the anthem O Mur Apunar Dex (O my endearing motherland) was adopted in 1927 at a conference in 1927.
Unexplained Phenomenon at Jatinga Village-
A village where birds commit mass suicide is definitely intriguing. The curious case has still not been solved and migratory birds come for far and wide, only to crash into trees and die!
Longest Bridge in India (Under Construction):
The road-cum-rail bridge across the Brahmaputra is expected to be complete by 2017. The 4.94 km long bridge would make travel between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh much easier and promises to be a sight to behold.
Asia’s largest dry-fish market:
Jagiroad is the largest dry fish market in Asia! And get this, it is only open for three days in a week! A crowded haven for dry fish enthusiasts, the place is great to grab different varieties of fish that are exported all the way to Malaysia and Bhutan.
Places to Visit in Assam:
The world’s biggest river-island Majuli is in Assam:
Frequent soil erosion causes the Brahmaputra to change tracks unexpectedly, even though it is 1100 Km away from the mouth of the river. Home to migratory birds, this is a place of natural wonder as you can literally see land crumble away from beneath your feet. The cultural capital of Assamese civilization since the 16th Century, the main village is host to a number of religious festivals that are an annual crowd puller. An off beat tourist spot, make sure to visit the island before it disappears!
Kaziranga National Park:
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this National Park deserves a visit by every nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Home to the rare Indian Rhinoceros, a trip here is a golden ticket to view the unique migratory birds and free animals lazing around. The Park runs on the bank of Brahmaputra and the National Highway cuts through it too. Talk about a road trip + photo walk!
One of the 51 Shaktipeeths in India, the temple is deemed to have magical properties. The Shiva temple is said to protect devotees from evil and bad luck and attracts throngs of pilgrims from across the country. The tantric adoration and hill top view sets it apart from other temples and on a lucky day, you just might change upon occult practices!
This little hamlet in Dima Hasao is often referred to as the “Scotland of Assam”. Clouds bathing the hilltops and trails that vanish into the mist are some of the remarkable vistas here. One of largest natural water bodies in Assam is found here. The site is a picturesque camping haven for nature enthusiasts who crave quiet and solitude.
The craft town in Assam is home to its unique style and renowned Muga and Eri silk. Located on the bank of Brahmaputra, this village sources the world’s finest quality silks and is largely a textile village. A visit to this magnificent village immerses you into the special skill and handicrafts of the natives as well as local myths of witchcraft. Pottery, weaving, oil processing go hand in hand to paint a visual tapestry of indigenous art and craftsmanship.
Tea Estates, Jorhat:
This goes without saying. A trip to Assam is incomplete without walking through the slopes of tea plantations that stretch without a horizon. The capital of the Ahom civilization is a rich vista to behold. Full of expansive greenery, sloping hills and a generous monsoon, this is a getaway you will not want to get away from. Stay in one of the plentiful resorts within to experience a true call of the wild. Go tea leaf picking with the locals and learn all about its myriad properties and process of production. Sip your tea away from the mad hustle and enjoy the calm allure only a tea estate can provide.
Rice forms the diet here like the rest of eastern India and is accompanied by a variety of dishes. Bamboo shoot which is an integral part of north eastern cuisine is dominant in several preparations too. Here are some of their stand-out dishes to try when visiting:
Masoor Tenga: This is a tangy fish curry made out of everything sour! Yet the curious choice of ingredients leads to an interesting dish that is soothing to the palette and very different from our expectations. Made with tomato broth, lemon and Elephant Ear (Outenga), this is an intrinsic dish natives swear by.
Duck Meat Curry: This delicacy is usually reserved for special occasions. Cooled with whole spices, it’s bursting with flavours and a favourite amongst willing non-vegetarians. With no special recipe at hand, it is a delicious curry that can even spice up the ordinary lauki and pumpkin!
Bhoot Jolokia: Are you ready for the world’s hottest chilli? This is a regular for the natives and is part of most their pickles and curries.
Pitha: A special homemade sweet dish, this one has variants in Bengal too. Sweet or savoury, steamed or fried, this dish is a common snack that can be had alone or accompany a main dish.
Ou Khatta: This sweet and sour chutney is made from Elephant apples and mashed with jaggery. The chutney accompanies the main course meal in order to heighten the taste.
Have we got your mouth all watery and feet itchy for travel to this incredible gem in the East? Soak yourselves in the diverse cultures that inhabit India and you will be surprised at the enormous variety. Let us know if you have further questions or share your experience in the comment section below!